Thursday, September 12, 2013

ගැරඩියා/කහ ගැරඩියා/Garadiya/Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosa)

Rat snake is the second largest snake in the country with some specimens observed with 3000mm long while many exceed 2400mm in length (de Silva, Anslem & Jinasena Jayantha 2009). It is a widely distributed snake from sea level to higher hills including some off-shore islands in Jaffna peninsula (Somaweera R., 2006) while common in the low country and foot hills.  It is mostly living in anthropogenic habitats like home gardens, plantations and paddy fields since its main food frogs, toads and rats are abundant in such places. Other than that it feeds on lizards, birds, snakes, palm squirrels, bats etc.  Rat snake is active during the day time and it is mainly a terrestrial snake though usually climbs trees and roofs in search of its prey.  It is a non-venomous snake though may bite savagely when cornered. Its usual defense habit is raise its fore body and hissing like a cobra while sometime also produces a deep long groaning sound.  Rat snake ‘dances’ with two snakes raise their heads from the ground and bodies coiled around each other are often observed as shown in above picture too. It was earlier believed that it is a courtship dance of a male and a female but it is a combat dance by the males (de Silva, P.H.D.H, 1980) . Female rat snake lays 5-10 eggs in a termite mound and stays with the eggs coil herself around them.

No comments:

Post a Comment