BENGALURU: For the first time in Karnataka, a rare species of snake has been recorded from Bukkapatna in Sira taluk of Tumakuru district. The Indian egg-eater (Elachistodon Westermann), or the ‘Motte Bakshaka Havu’ was found in the protected area of Bukkapatna Chinkara wildlife sanctuary recently.
The two-feet-long white and black banded snake, which is non-venomous, has never been seen in the state. It feeds exclusively on the eggs of birds and does not eat frogs and rats like other snakes. This species has been accorded the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act Schedule I.
The snake was seen slithering along the road by Manu Agnivamshi, a member of the Wildlife Awareness and Reptile Conservation Organization, and Akshay Herale, a naturalist from Chikkamagaluru. Usually, this species was believed to be found only in Nepal, Bangladesh, Northern and Western parts of the country.
Manu Agnivamshi said, “We have found no records of the Indian egg-eater snakes in Karnataka. Usually active during the night, but they are sometimes found during the day. And we found this snake slithering across the road in this sanctuary.”
It was only this year that Bukkapatna was declared a wildlife sanctuary as it inhabits a wide range of species from Chinkara to hyena, leopard, deccan gazelle and sloth bear. Spread across 148.45 sqkm, the newly declared protected area being the southernmost limit of the distribution range for the rare gazelle, the discovery of this snake species gives a fillip for conservation of more such species.
The Indian egg-eater is found in tree holes, rock crevices or bushes in dry deciduous and shrub forests. A nocturnal species, it usually inhabits places near bird habitats as it feeds only on eggs.