The banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) is a species of elapid snake found on the Indian Subcontinent and in Southeast Asia. It is one of the largest kraits, with a maximum length up to 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in).
B. fasciatus is easily identified by its alternate black and yellow crossbands, its triangular body cross section, and the marked vertebral ridge consisting of enlarged vertebral shields along its body. The head is broad and depressed. The eyes are black. It has arrowhead-like yellow markings on its otherwise black head and has yellow lips, lores, chin, and throat.
The longest banded krait measured was 2.25 m (7 ft 5 in) long, but normally the length encountered is 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in).
The snake has an entire anal plate and single subcaudals. The tail is small and ends like a fingertip, generally being one-tenth the length of the snake.
Distribution and habitat
The banded krait occurs in the whole of the Indo-Chinese subregion, the Malaysian peninsula and archipelago, and southern China. The species is common in Assam and Tripura of India and Bangladesh, but becomes progressively uncommon westwards in India.
It has been recorded eastwards from central India through Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and southern China (including Hong Kong), Philippines to Malaysia and the main Indonesian islands of Borneo (Java and Sumatra), as well as Singapore.
In India, it has been recorded from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Northeast India, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. It has recently been recorded from Hassan District in Karnataka, also.
Banded kraits may be seen in a variety of habitats, ranging from forests to agricultural lands. They inhabit termite mounds and rodent holes close to water, and often live near human settlement, especially villages, because of their supply of rodents and water. They prefer the open plains of the countryside. The banded krait has been found in Myanmar up to an altitude of 5000 feet.
Banded kraits are shy, not typically seen, and are mainly nocturnal. When harassed, they will usually hide their heads under their coils, and do not generally attempt to bite, though at night they are much more active and widely considered to be more dangerous then.
During the day, they lie up in grass, pits, or drains. The snakes are lethargic and sluggish even under provocation. They are most commonly seen in the rains.
The banded krait feeds mainly on other snakes, but is also known to eat fish, frogs, skinks, and snake eggs. Among the snakes taken by banded kraits are: -
- Chequered keelback Xenochrophis piscator
- Buff-striped keelback Amphiesma stolatum
- Rat snake or dhaman Ptyas mucosus
- Indo-Chinese rat snake Ptyas korros
- Cat snake Boiga trigonata.
The prey is swallowed head first, after it has been rendered inactive by the venom.
Little is known of its breeding habits. In Myanmar, a female has been dug out while incubating a clutch of eight eggs, four of which hatched in May. Young have been recorded to measure 298 to 311 mm on hatching. The snake is believed to become adult in the third year of its life, at an approximate length of 914 mm.
The venom of the banded krait mainly contains neurotoxins (pre- and postsynaptic neurotoxins) with LD50 values of 2.4 mg/kg—3.6 mg/kg SC, 1.289 mg/kg IV and 1.55 mg/kg IP. The quantity of venom delivered averages out at 20–114 mg. Engelmann and Obst (1981) list the venom yield at 114 mg (dry weight). The major clinical effects caused by the venom of this species include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, etc. Severe envenomation can lead to respiratory failure and death may occur due to suffocation. Few authenticated records of human beings having been bitten are available, one such record was the accidental bite resulting in the death of the world-renowned herpetologist Joseph Bruno Slowinski.
A clinical toxicology study gives an untreated mortality rate of 1—10%, which may be because contact with humans is rare and when bites do occur, the rate of envenomation when biting defensively is thought to be very low. Currently, a polyvalent antivenom is available in India.
- Assamese language "Gowala"
- Bengali শাখামুটি sankani, shankhamooti shaanp and Rajsap or Kings snake in Birbhum District
- Burmese ငန္းေတာ္ၾကား ngān taw kyā
- Hindi - ahiraaj saamp
- Indonesian - welang
- Malayalam - vellikkattan
- Marathi - patteri manyar, Agya Manyar, Sataranjya
- Odia - rana(रणा) 
- Tamil - kattu viriyan (கட்டுவிரியன்), yennai viriyan, yettadi viriyan
- Telugu - Katla Paamu or bangaru paamu meaning the golden snake: The scientific name of the genus is also derived from the Telugu word bangarum meaning "gold", referring to the yellow rings around its body.
- Tulu - Kadambale
- Thai - ngu sam liam, meaning the triangular snake
- "Clinical Toxinology-Bungarus fasciatus".
- Smith, Malcolm A. Fauna of British India...Vol III - Serpentes, pages 411 to 413
- Daniels, J.C. (2002), Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians pages 134-135.
- Boulenger, George A., (1890), The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma, Reptilia and Batrachia. page 388.
- Srinivasulu, C; D. Venkateshwarlu; M. Seetharamaraju (26 June 2009). "Rediscovery of the Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider 1801) (Serpentes: Elapidae) from Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, India". Journal of Threatened Taxa 1 (6): 353–354. doi:10.11609/jott.o1986.353-4. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- Khaire, NeelimKumar (2008) . Snakes of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. Pune: Indian Herpetological Society. p. 40.
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- Venom and toxin research group. Snake of medical importance: Banded krait. Singapore. ISBN 9971-62-217-3.
- "LD50 menu".
- Engelmann, Wolf-Eberhard (1981). Snakes: Biology, Behavior, and Relationship to Man. Leipzig; English version NY, USA: Leipzig Publishing; English version published by Exeter Books (1982). p. 51. ISBN 0-89673-110-3.
- Davidson, Terence. "IMMEDIATE FIRST AID for bites by Kraits". Snakebites First Aid. University of California, San Diego. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- Boulenger, George A., (1890), The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma, Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor and Francis, London.
- Daniels, J.C. (2002), Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians. BNHS. Oxford University Press. Mumbai.
- Smith, Malcolm A. (1943), The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma including the whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region, Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol I - Loricata and Testudines, Vol II-Sauria, Vol III-Serpentes. Taylor and Francis, London.
- Whitaker, Romulus. (2002), Common Indian Snakes: A Field Guide. Macmillan India Limited, ISBN 0-333-90198-3.
- SPOAR.ORG.IN 
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