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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > Class Reptilia > shore snakes
Banded krait
Bungarus fasciatus
Family Elapidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? Usually rarely seen, this beautiful snake was the highlight of the Chek Jawa boardwalk grand opening! The Singapore Snakes blog also reported swimming near mangroves on an offshore island. According to Baker, in Singapore it has also been recorded in Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Lim Chu Kang, Sungei Buloh and Khatib Bongsu. Widely distributed in Southeast Asia where it is mostly a coastal snake, but also found in peat swamps and also estates.

Features: 1.5-2m long. The body has a triangular cross-section. It has regular black and white bands of equal size. The head is mostly black and is somewhat distinct from the body (it has a 'neck'). The black patch on the head forms a V-shape with the first black band on the body. The tail is not flattened into a paddle shape although it is somewhat triangular like the rest of the body. A highly venomous snake with a toxin that can be fatal to humans with recorded fatalities. But is not an aggressive snake and it will not bite if it is left alone. When it is scared, it will hide its head under coils of its body. Although it has also been recorded as being active and dangerous at night. WARNING: more aggressive baby cobras (Naja sumatrana) have similar markings.

Sometimes confused with the highly venomous Yellow-lipped sea snake (Laticauda colubrina). Here's how to tell apart banded snakes seen near the coast. It may also be confused with eels. Here's more on how to tell apart sea snakes, eels and eel-like animals.

What does it eat? Mainly lizards and other snakes, as well as other small vertebrates. It considered to be mainly a coastal snake, and terrestrial. Although we have observed one hunting on the coral rubble area at Chek Jawa, investigating crevices, then swimming away in the shallow water.


Swimming in shallow water near coral rubble.
Chek Jawa, Jul 02


Black patch on the head forms a V-shape
with the first black band on the body.
Chek Jawa, Jul 02
Snake babies: Mama snake lays 4-14 eggs, the hatchlings look like their parents but have greyish rather than white bands.

Status and threats: Although considered the most common krait elsewhere, our Banded kraits are listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution.

Chek Jawa, Jul 02

Banded kraits on Singapore shores

Photos of Banded kraits for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Chek Jawa, Jul 07
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

 

 

 

Links

References

  • Tan Heok Hui. 1 Oct 2013. Banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) on Pulau Ubin. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2013: 2
  • Lim, Kelvin K. P. & Francis L K Lim, 1992. A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of SingaporeSingapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Baker, Nick and Kelvin Lim. 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore: A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes Vertebrate Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.
  • Stuebing, Robert B and Robert F. Inger. 1999. A Field Guide to the Snakes of Borneo Natural History Publications (Borneo). 254 pp.
  • Cox, Merel J., Peter Paul van Dijk, Jarujin Nabhitabhata and Kumthorn Thirakhupt. 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore New Holland. pp 144.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
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