Ahaetulla nasuta

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Green vine snake
Davidraju Vine snake.jpg
Green Vine Snake DSC 6833.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Ahaetulla
A. nasuta
Binomial name
Ahaetulla nasuta
(Lacépède, 1789)

Dryophis nasuta
Dryophis mycterizans

The green vine snake (Ahaetulla nasuta), also known as long-nosed whip snake, is a slender green tree snake found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

It is not to be confused with Oxybelis fulgidus, "green vine snake" found in Central and South America. In Marathi, it is known as shelati snake, among dozens of other vernacular names.[1][2]


Feeding on Rana temporalis

The green vine snake is diurnal and mildly venomous. This arboreal snake normally feeds on frogs and lizards using its binocular vision to hunt. They are slow moving, relying on camouflaging as a vine in foliage. The snake expands its body when disturbed to show a black and white scale marking. Also, they may open their mouth in threat display and point their head in the direction of the perceived threat.

The name Ahaetulla in Sinhala means 'eye plucker'. It earned this name, and similar ones in Tamil and Indian vernaculars, due to its habit of staring and striking at the eyes when picked up.[3] It is believed that can blind its human victims.

The species is viviparous, giving birth to young that grow within the body of the mother, enclosed within the egg membrane. They may be capable of delayed fertilization (parthenogenesis is rare but not unknown in snakes) as a female in the London zoo kept in isolation from August, 1885 gave birth in August, 1888.[4]

Taxonomic description[edit]

The following description with diagnostic characters is from Boulenger (1890):[5]

Snout pointed, terminating in a dermal appendage, which is shorter than the eye and formed entirely by the rostral; the length of the snout, without the appendage, about twice the diameter of the eye or rather more. No loreal; internasals and prefrontals in contact with the labials; frontal as long as its distance from the rostral or a little longer, as long as the parietals or a little longer; two preoculars and a small subocular (or one preocular and two suboculars), upper preocular in contact with the frontal; two postoculars; temporals 1+2 or 2+2; upper labials 8, fifth entering the eye; 4 lower labials in contact with the anterior chin-shields, which are shorter than the posterior. Scales in 15 rows. Ventrals 172-188; anal divided; subcaudals 140-166. Bright green or pale brownish, the interstitial skin between the scales black and white on the anterior part of the body, which appears striped when distended; a yellow line along each side of the lower surface. Total length 5 feet: tail 2.

Formerly treated as a subspecies Ahaetulla nasuta anomala is now regarded as a distinct species, Ahaetulla anomala.

Venom and its effects[edit]

The ingredients of the venom are unknown. The venom is moderately potent and can cause swelling, pain, bruising, numbness and other local symptoms, which will subside within three days. Bites close to the head, eyes and other vital areas could be severe. [6][7]

Vernacular names[edit]

  • Sinhala: ahaetulla, ඇහැ‍ටුල්ලා.
  • Telugu: పచ్చారి పాము.
  • Bengali: লাউডগা.
  • Odia: ଲାଉଡଙ୍କିଆ
  • Kannada: ಹಸಿರು ಹಾವು, ಹಸಿರು ಬಳ್ಳಿ ಹಾವು.
  • Gujarati: લીલવણ, માળણ.
  • Marathi हरणटोळ, shelati[8]
  • Tamil: பச்சை பாம்பு



  1. ^ SNAKES by Dr. P. J. Deoras, Bombay.
  2. ^ Chapter 4 Result and discussion - Shodhganga
  3. ^ Snakes of Sri Lanka Archived May 19, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Wall, Frank 1905. A popular treatise on the common Indian snakes. Part 1. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16:533-554.
  5. ^ Boulenger, George A. 1890 The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp.
  6. ^ Snakes of Sri Lanka Archived May 19, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ “Ahaetulla nasuta” at WCH Clinical Toxinology Resources. Accessed on 9.1.2014 at http://www.toxinology.com/fusebox.cfm?fuseaction=main.snakes.display&id=SN0004


  • Lacepède, B. G. E. 1789 Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupèdes Ovipares et de Serpens. Vol.2. lmprimerie du Roi, Hôtel de Thou, Paris, 671 pp.
  • Wall, F. 1908 Remarks on some recently acquired snakes. J. Bombay N. H. S. xviii: 778-784
  • Wall 1908 A new color variety of the common green whip-snake (Dryophis mycterizans). J. Bombay N. H. S. xviii: 919
  • Wall, F. 1910 Remarks on the varieties and distribution of the common Green Whip Snake (Dryophis mycterizans). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 20: 229
  • Wall 1910 Varieties of the common Green Whip Snake (Dryophis mycterizans). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 20: 524