Lucky to be alive?

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Common Krait

I am thankful to a reptile for motivating me to post on my blog after a long time…

When I visit India, I am normally in working on our campus, and staying overnight too. But during a two day general strike when the office would close and no cars could drive, I escaped to a hotel by the beach.

I was sitting outside the room, enjoying the evening peace, under the traditional thatched roof, when something fell on my shoulder. I thought it might be a lizard but felt heavier.

I pushed it away and jumped up to find a baby snake (around 10″ in length) on back rest of the chair. It all happened so quickly that I was very calm about it. The snake was stationery for a long time and I took some photos. When I moved the chair it dropped and wriggled away.

Thinking back, I thought that a snake would not voluntarily drop 3–4 metres. What were the odds of landing on me!! I had an open necked shirt on and a couple of inches to one side, it would have gone down my shirt. I would have probably panicked, feeling it wriggling, and would tried to get it out somehow. I wondered if it was venomous…

Common Krait

Well, it turns out it is! It is a Common Krait. The Wikipedia entry does not make for comfortable reading, e.g.

Reluctant to bite, but when it does bite, it typically bites and holds on for awhile, which enables it to inject considerable amounts of venom.

and the symptoms don’t seem too appetizing:

The facial muscle gets tight in 1-2 hours, the patient unable to talk or see but can listen to others, if treatment is not done within 4-5 hours the patient may die out of respiratory paralysis.

The local (Malayalam) name for the snake is Ettadi Veeran which literally means the “eight step warrior”, indicating that once it has bitten you, you will only take eight steps till you drop!!

I have to say it doesn’t seem so cute any more!!!

Category: India, Life

4 comments on “Lucky to be alive?

  1. Yes, lucky! Oh, Kaveh, am so glad you are alive to tell the tale. At first glance the pic looked like a computer model. Nature can be a mother!
  2. It's a 'wolf snake'; not a common krait. Last night this guy paid a visit to my cousin's home and they made sure it was his last visit, killed the poor thing :( Upon close look I wasnt sure which snake it was, cuz Iv never seen such a one. And on lot of searching I was almost sure it was a common krait, but when I came across a picture of a common krait eating a... 'wolf snake' I was astounded! I finally found out what it was.. an innocent, poor 'wolf snake' so called for its fangs which have no venom in em but are used to puncture skinks and such. These poor little critters are also called common house snakes because of frequent house visits they make, but unfortunately the visits often end up being final visits to their graves cuz of being mistaken for the "villainous" krait..
  3. It was amazing story!! I just want to know , do you really dare to site in an open area like this again???
  4. Sir, this is not Common Krait. This is called "Churutta" in Malayalam in some places. Its not venomous and wont attack. Its favourite food is lizards. So seen inside houses. I also killed one once mistaking it as common krait.

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