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Checkered Keelback Watersnake (xenochrophis piscator)

Checkered Keelback Checkered Keelback Medimum sized; keeled, shiny scales, conspicuous black eye-streaks and distinctive checkered pattern. Average Length: 60 cm; At Birth: 12.5 cm Maximum: 1.75 m (female)
Checkered keelback watersnakes vary in colour from black with light markings to bright yellow with the characteristic black and white checkered pattern. The one or two black eye-streaks are distinctive and the head is obtusely pointed and distinct from the neck. The scales are strongly keeled and overall, the heavy-bodied snake is glossy. Underside is usually shiny and pure white. This is the common water snake of India, prolific, adaptable and found almost everywhere, in and near freshwater. Found throughout India. In the streams of the higher hills in the ghats and the Himalayas, darker forms are common, but appearances and habits are very similar. Up to 3000 m in the Himalayas.
Checkered Keelbacks are active by day and Night, and hunt along the edges of ponds and rice-fields, spending much time on land during the night. When excited it flattens the head, extends the ribs of the neck and rears up; many mistake them for cobras, They bite readily when stepped on or caught, but very quickly become tame if properly handled. The female generally lays 90 eggs in a rat tunnel, termite mound or hole in a well, wall or tank bund. She incubates and or protects her eggs until they hatch 60-70 days later, In Madras, eggs are laid December through February, but in the north, the season seems to be around March. Young water snakes feed on tadpoles and water insects. As they grow larger, they take fish, frogs and occasionally rodents and birds. They generally swallow their prey alive. The long ‘Frog teeth’ in the back of the upper jaw hold and puncture frogs.

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