Indian egg-eating snake

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Indian egg-eater snake
Indian egg eater snake Elachistodon westermanni by Krishna Khan Amravati.jpg
Indian egg-eater at Amravati
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Binomial name
Elachistodon westermanni

The Indian egg-eating snake or Indian egg-eater (Elachistodon westermanni) is a rare species of egg-eating snake found in the Indian subcontinent. It is also called Westermann's snake, reflecting its scientific name. The snake belongs to the monotypic genus Elachistodon.

Geographic range[edit]

The Indian egg-eating snake is found in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Recent discoveries of the species come from Maharashtra and Gujarat.[1][2] It was thought that the species was extinct in 1969, as listed in Red Data List. However, the species was rediscovered at Wardha in Maharashtra state in 2005.


This species is glossy brown to black, with bluish white flecks posteriorly and a middorsal creamy stripe from neck to tail tip. The head is brown with a black arrow mark. The ventrals are white with brown dots. Adults may attain a total length of 78 cm (31 inches), with a tail 11 cm (4¼ inches) long.[3]


It is nocturnal.[4]


Elachistodon westermanni has special adaptations such as a vertebral hypapophysis, a projection of the backbone, that juts into the oesophagus and helps in cracking eggs.[5] The only other snakes that share these egg-eating adaptations are in the genus Dasypeltis found in Africa.


  1. ^ Captain, A. & F. Tillack & A. Gumprecht & P. Dandge (2005). "First Record of Elachistodon westermanni Reinhardt 1863 (Serpentes, Colubridae, Colubrinae) from Maharashtra State, India.". Russian Journal of Herpetology 12 (2): 156–158. 
  2. ^ Nande R and Sawan Deshmukh (2007). "Snakes of Amravati district including Melghat, Maharashtra, with important records of the Indian egg-eater, montane trinket snake and Indian Smooth Snake" (PDF). Zoos' Print Journal 22 (12): 2920–2924. doi:10.11609/jott.zpj.1653.2920-4. 
  3. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History), Volume III. London.
  4. ^ Dandge, Parag (2007). "Food and feeding habits of Elachistodon westermanni Reinhardt, 1863.". Hamadryad 32 (1). 
  5. ^ Gans, Carl, Oshima, Masamitsu, 1952. Adaptations for egg eating in the snake Elaphe climacophora (Boie). American Museum novitates ; no. 1571 [3]

External links[edit]