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DEC 4- J952 





The object contemplated in publishing this small work (which may be 
viewed as a supplement to Sir Joseph Fayrer's magnificent " Thanato- 
phidia of India") has been to place in the hands of the busy officials of 
India a handy-book, by means of which they may easily recognise any 
of the poisonous reptiles of the Peninsula. Sir Joseph Fayrer, K.C.S.I., 
when applied to, generously sanctioned the use of the beautiful plates 
figured in his Thanatophidia. 

The scientific descriptions of Glinther, Fayrer, and Anderson have 
been preserved ; but as all technical and other difficult terms have 
been fuUy explained in the Glossary, the text may be regarded as 
capable of being made intelligible to the mind of the ordinary reader. 
Any further attempt at popularising the work would have ended in 
redundancy, and rendered brevity an(i» portability impossible. There is 
scarcely a term employed in the descriptions, which cannot at once be 
understood by a reference to the Glossary. The conciseness thus 
accomphshed has enabled me generally to place the descriptions side by 
side with the Plates. This is a great advantage to men so fully employed 
as are the civil, medical, and poHce authorities of India. 

It is behoved that this work will meet a real want. It will enable 
the hard-worked civil surgeon to identify, without much trouble, 
poisonous snakes, a matter of great import to him in the practice of 
his profession, and in his capacity as — it may be — the sole medical 
jurisprude in his district. It will also enable the English speaking 
and reading officials of all grades and departments to distinguish 
poisonous from non-poisonous snakes. It is further hoped that it will 
obviate the necessity of paying rewards for the capture and destruction 


of innocent snakes, as has frequently been done, and thus prevent the 
unnecessary expenditure of the pubHc funds. 

The few brief suggestions concerning treatment, down to the end of 
the 7th paragraph, if adopted by the non-professional persons brought 
into contact with those who have been poisoned, might lead to the 
saving of much human life. Thus there is some reason for supposing 
that, if the ligatures and other means recommended were applied 
instantly after a person has been bitten, that the absorption of the 
poison would be prevented or materially lessened ; and that the surgeon 
would be placed under favourable circumstances for combating the 
dreadful enemy he has been summoned to oppose. Another point is 
that, in all probability, the excisions that were formerly practised have 
neither been extensive nor deep enough. My confrere. Dr. Wall, has, I 
beheve, undertaken some most interesting experiments on the point, vnth. 
a view to determine the area over which the poison is difilised from an 
ordinary bite, in different regions of the body. I believe the result will 
go to prove the absolute necessity for far more extensive excisions than 
have hitherto been considered needful. The minor amputations of a toe 
or a finger, and the large and deep excisions recommended in other 
parts of the body, when promptly undei'taken and executed are incom- 
parably lesser evils than those which must be encountered if any dregs 
of the snake poison are left behind to infect the blood, and eventually 
to cause almost certain death. 











ERYTHRURUS ' ^^""^^ ^^^^* 














GLOSSARY pp. 63, 64, 

Plate IX. 
Plate X. 
Plate XI. 

Plate XVIII. 
Plate XIX. 


Government of India .... 

. 115 Copies 

, Madras .... 

. 50 , 

, Bombay .... 

. 50 , 

, Bengal . . . * . 

. 200 , 

, North- West Provinces . 


, Punjab .... 

. 100 , 

Oude .... 

50 , 

, ' British Burmah 

50 , 

, Assam .... 

30 , 

, Ceylon .... 

. 20 , 

, Cape of Good Hope . 

. 100 , 

Agent Governor- General, Kajputana 

6 , 

„ „ Hydrabad 

20 , 

,, „ Kashmir 

10 , 

Chief Commissioner of Scinde 

20 , 

Resident at Court of Tra vane ore and Cochin . 

12 , 

„ Baroda . . . . 


„ Gwalior 


Jeypore . 

. 20 , 

„ Kishenghur . 

2 , 



1000 Co] 





Local. — When a person is effectively bitten by a poisonous snake, lie 
feels a stinging sensation in the part penetrated. This is soon followed 
by pain, at first of a dull, aching, and subsequently, of a lancinating and 
piercing, character. The ultimate and rather rapid effect is numbness ter- 
minating in local paralysis of sensation. There may also be shght swelling. 
In poisoning by the cobra, daboia, and other terrestrial snakes, there will 
usually be found the marks or points, sometimes indicated by a small 
film of clotted blood, where the two fangs have entered half an inch or 
more apart. Or, as in the case of a finger being bitten, there may only 
be one point of penetration, the other fang having missed altogether. 
At a later period the part assumes a leaden or livid hue, due in great 
part to the effusion of blood beneath the skin (ecchymosis). When 
the bite has been inflicted by a salt-water snake, the fang-marks are 
more difficult to distinguish ; because the fangs are not much larger 
than the fish-like teeth situated immediately behind them. There may, 
further, be marks or scratches of some of the teeth as well as of the fangs. 
As the poison gains access to the blood, the general symptoms aftectiiig 
the whole nervous organisation soon divert attention from, and eclipse, 
the local indications. Unless the ligature has been applied at once or 
very soon after an effective bite these very soon make their appearance. 

General. — Very soon after an effective bite, where the ligature has 
been delayed or not applied at all, the poison is absorbed into the blood, 
and makes its presence felt upon the great nerve-centres of the cord and 
medulla. The patient is extremely restless and excited. His alarm 
amounts to horror, mtensified by a deeply-rooted conviction of the ntter 
hopelessness of his case. As the first signs of nervous depression, languor 


and muscular exhaustion make their appearance, the emotional excitement 
becomes increased, and, at an early period, the feeling is one of despair. 
The face is pallid, and covered with drops of perspii'ation ; pupils dilated ; 
pulse quickened ; there is loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting. General 
muscular paralysis eventually supervenes ; there is lethargy and drowsi- 
ness, ending in unconsciousness, accompanied or followed by involuntary 
evacuations, which are sometimes tinged with blood. The breathing 
becomes slow, laboured and shallow ; pupils widely dilated. The body 
becomes bathed in cold, clammy perspii'ation ; the pulse remams full, 
quick and compressible. The respiration is gradually stopped, and death 
is ushered in by convulsions, or convulsive twitchings of the muscles of 
the extremities and face. The pulse beats a few mmutes (from three to 
four) after all breathing has ceased. 

In some cases, where a person has been bitten by an exhausted snake, 
or by one whose aggregate supply of poison is small, as is the case in the 
tiger snake of Australia, or by a vigorous cobra, from which, owing to 
some cause or other, only a minute quantity of poison has been injected ; 
or where a person has been greatly protected against the absorption of 
the poison by the early application of the ligature, the above symptoms 
may be present only in a modified degree. Recovery from the general 
symptoms may take place. The consequences in the part infected may 
cause much trouble ; but these are to be dealt with by the surgeon on 
general principles. 


1. A. By non-professional persons. — Whenever a person has been 
bitten by a poisonous reptile, issue orders at once for the attendance of 
a medical practitioner. 

2. Pending his arrival, if the bite has been inflicted in the upper or 
lower extremities, promptly arrest absorption of the poison by immedi- 
ately applying a strong cord very tightly round the limb, about a couple 
of inches above the bitten part, and two or more cords, from four or six 
inches apart, twisted as tightly as possible, higher up the limb. Thus, if 
a finger be bitten at the tip, the first ligature may be applied to the base of 
the digit, the second to the wrist, and the third to the middle of the fore- 
arm ; in like manner, if the end of a toe be bitten, the first cord should be 
secured round the base of the toe ; the second round the instep, and the 


third a few inches above the ankle. In bites higher up the extremities, 
the ligatures should be employed, at suitable distances from each other, 
with the utmost promptitude. Sir Joseph Fayrer recommends the 
insertion of a piece of stick or other lever between the cord and the 
limb or member, with a view to twist the ligature to the utmost. 

3. Carefully identify the punctures made by the fangs of the snake. 
Excise the part with a sharp penknife to the extent of a finger-nail, if 
the bite is on a finger or toe, if possible, round each puncture, and deeply, 
almost down to the bone, or in depth from a quarter to half an inch. 
Scarify freely the circumference of the wound, and encourage bleeding. 
Wash and squeeze it effectively to expel poison. Then apply to the 
bottom of the wound a red-hot iron so as to cauterise and kill the adja- 
cent soft tissues so that they may be incapable of absorbing any poison 
that may not have been removed by the excision or destroyed by the cautery. 

4. As the soft parts at the ends of the fingers and toes are comparatively 
dense, and the diffusion of the poison consequently limited, the extent of 
the excisions should be proportionately restricted. But if the fangs have 
penetrated the skin of any part of the extremities above, such as the leg, 
thigh, forearm, or upper arm, the extent of the diffusion of the poison 
is much greater, owing to the looser texture of the areolar tissue in 
these regions. The excision of the poisoned tissues must therefore be 
considerably extended and deeper. The scarification of the margins at 
the bottom of the wound and the cauterisation, either with a red-hot 
iron or live coal, must also be applied with more freedom. If the bite 
has been inflicted by the daboia, it may be needful even to excise mus- 
cular tissue, as well as skin and areolar tissue ; because the fangs of this 
viper are much longer and penetrate deeper than those of the cobra. 

5. It wiU often happen that absorption of poison to a greater or less 
extent may have occurred before the ligatures have been appHed. In 
such cases they must not be relaxed ; because their relaxation wiU 
admit the ingress of more poison into the blood. By keeping them 
firmly adjusted, we may hope, if they have been applied early enough, 
that such a limitation of the absorption of the poison may have been 
effected as to conduce materially to the preservation of life ; whilst by 
their premature removal, the renewal of the absorption may, even in cases 
where only a smaU quantity of the virus has been thus introduced, turn 
the balance irretrievably against the patient and cause a rapidly fatal issue, 


6. Doubtless mortification of the parts below the ligatures may be 
caused, if thej are retained beyond from half an hour to an hour ; but, 
in patients who have been effectively bitten by any of the venomous 
snakes described in this work, the danger to life from mortification, 
which can easily be dealt with by the surgeon in due course, is not 
to be compared to that to be encountered by the uncontrolled ab- 
sorption of the poison into the blood. In the first case, life may be 
saved ; in the second, judging from the vast experience of Sir Joseph 
Fayrer and others, death is almost certain to follow. 

7. In addition to the above measures, which, notwithstanding their 
apparent severity, are nevertheless merciful and humane, moderate doses 
of stimulants may be given until the physician or surgeon arrives. 
Thus fifteen drops of pure liquor ammonise in an ounce of water may be 
administered every twenty minutes, until three or four doses are taken. 
For a similar purpose a table-spoonful of brandy, rum, whisky, or arrack 
thoroughly distilled in a wineglassful of water may be given from time to 
time until, say, a couple of ounces have been swallowed. It is doubtful 
whether any good is derived from over-stimulation ; under- is better than 
over-stimulation. Thus care must be taken not to pjish the doses of alcohol 
in the shape of brandy, rum, whisky, or arrack, so as to produce inebriation. 
During the exhibition of stimulants, nourishment in a liquid form — animal 
soups, and milk, or eggs beaten up with brandy, &c., should be employed. 
If the depression and feeling of sinking be marked, mustard plasters 
should be applied to the region of the heart or pit of the stomach, or 
over the medulla, behind the nape of the neck, or to aU three regions at 
once. No apparent benefit is derived from compelling the patient to 
move about ; on the contrary, such enforced exertion increases the 
tendency to exhaustion. Give the patient rest in a cool and thoroughly 
well-ventilated room, protected from the sun ; he should be fanned with 
the punkah if needful. All these measures may be had recourse to by 
even untrained persons. Some of the means suggested are certainly most 
severe, " and not such as under any other circumstances should be en- 
trusted to non-professional persons ; but the alternative is so dreadful that, 
even at the risk of unskilful treatment, it is better that the patient should 
have this chance of recovery. " — (Fayrer. ) Galvanism to the heart and dia- 
phragm, and the Sylvester and Marshall Hall methods of artificial respira- 
tion have also been recommended in cases where the prostration is extreme. 


8. B. By the Surgeon. — In many cases the surgeon, on arrival, often 
finds himself placed under circumstances of the greatest responsibility 
and difficulty. Presuming that the foregoing measures have been adopted 
with efficiency and promptitude after the bite, and that symptoms of 
poisoning are consequently in abeyance, he should carefully examine the 
ligatures and see that they are tightened sufficiently to prevent absorp- 
tion, and also the wound made by the excision, in order to ascertain 
whether it is wide and deep enough to facilitate the extraction of the 
whole of the poison or the total destruction of the remainder by the live 
coal or the actual cautery. In a case of this kind he will have time to 
find out whether the snake which infficted the injury was, in all human 
probability, a poisonous one or not. If he be satisfied that the bite was 
inflicted by a poisonous reptile — especially by a cobra or daboia — and 
that it was an effective one, he is caUed upon, in a preponderating 
majority of instances, without the chance of a consultation with another 
surgeon, to decide on the spur of the moment as to the course to be 
pursued. He may reason somewhat in this way : "If the ligatures be 
removed, absorption will set in ; the blood will be charged with a fatal 
quantity of the poison ; the functions of the great nerve-centres will be 
destroyed; the respiration will cease, and soon after the circulation also, 
cotemporaneously with actual death. It is true that mortification will 
be prevented, but then this comparatively insignfficant gain at the best 
will only be temporary, and attained at the sacrifice of the hfe of the 
patient. On the other hand, it is quite clear that Httle or no poison 
has as yet gained access to the blood and the great nerve-centres, and 
that, to maintain this desirable condition, one of two things must be 
done ; either the ligatures must be kept on until all chance of absorjDtion 
be removed by gangrene, and the patient thus exposed to other risks of 
blood-poisoning, such as pyaemia, and a protracted convalescence ending 
sooner or later in amputation ; or the poisoned member must be removed 
two or three inches or more above the site of the bite." In the case of 
fingers and toes, where the bite has been proved to be effective either 
by the existence of the fang-marks or unimpeachable testimony, there 
ought to be no hesitation as to the procedure to be adopted — viz., 
immediate amputation. These minor amputations are generally un- 
attended with much danger to life ; whilst, if an attempt be made to 
save the member, hfe is almost certain to be lost. By amputation 


before the symptoms of poisoning have become developed, owing to the 
prevention of absorption by the successful application of the Hgatures, life 
may often be saved. And I am persuaded it will be usually so saved if 
the ligatures, excisions, and cautery have all been employed immediately 
after the poisoning has taken place, and also in many cases where only 
a veiy small quantity of poison has been poured into the soft parts or 
into the blood. 

9. In poisoning of fingers and toes, where, either fiom delay in 
the appHcation of the ligatures, &c., or from their not having been 
used at all, the symptoms of snake poisoning have become unmistak- 
ably pronounced, when the surgeon arrives upon the scene, the question 
whether amputation is justifiable naturally arises, not because there is 
much risk attending the procedure itself, but because, as may be argued, 
all operative measures may be regarded as utterly hopeless. Under such 
circumstances the surgeon is again placed in a situation where self- 
rehance and prompt decision are all-important. In cases of this kmd 
there has probably been too much delay and hesitation already, caused 
by ignorance as to the measures to be adopted, or dismay at the injury 
which has been inflicted. Neither the one nor the other can be per- 
mitted to influence the surgeon. He may, however, reason in this way : 
" Life is m imminent danger, and death will probably follow, do what 
he may. Perhaps sufiicient poison has been introduced into the cir- 
culation to produce all the signs of snake poisoning, but not enough to 
prove fatal, provided the ingress of fresh supplies be promptly pro- 
hibited. Thus, although a successful result is problematical, amputation 
is clearly the only hopeful proceeding." The part bitten should be at 
once isolated by the ligature if this has not been done already, and the 
member removed, in order to cut ofi" all fresh supplies of the poison. 
When I was serving with the Mey war Bheel Corps, at Kherwarrah, near 
Oodeypore, a Hindoo was brought to me, having been bitten on the end 
of the thumb by a full-grown cobra. After getting up in the morning, he 
had put his hand into a gurrah, or earthen vessel, to remove something 
it contained. A cobra, which was secreted in the vessel, seized him by the 
thumb. The snake was secured and brought with the patient. He was 
presented to me half an hour after the accident. The marks of the fangs 
were identified. The native doctor had seen him a few minutes after 
the bite, and had applied a stout cord round the thumb at two places. 


But the man was faint, depressed, nauseated, and prostrated. After 
seeing that the Hgatures were tightened as firmly as possible, I asked 
the Brahmin native doctor to prevail upon the patient to let me take 
off his thumb, and so save his life. The thumb was first chopped 
off to economise time through the first phalanx, and subsequently ampu- 
tated in the usual way at the metacarpo-phalangeal joint. He passed 
through a stage of severe nervous prostration, with intense nausea, 
vomiting and diarrhoea with bloody evacuations ; but eventually rallied, 
and made a good recovery. 

10. When the bite has been made on the forearm or leg, the upper 
arm or thigh, the ligatures, excision and the cautery may be practised 
more frequently, without having recourse to amputation. Because, in 
most cases, unless indeed the poison, as occasionally happens, is poured 
directly and en masse into a vein or artery, a sufficient qua.ntity of the 
soft parts can easily be removed, so as to include the whole area of the 
poisoned district. The extent of the excised area must depend upon 
the depth of the skin and subcutaneous areolar tissue, the density of 
the infected areolar tissue, and the length of the penetrating fangs 
of the snake. Over the shin the depth of skin and areolar tissue is 
small ; over the thigh the depth is greater, the cellular tissue is loose, 
and more easily penetrated by fluid, such as snake poison. Thus, in 
the former situation, both the area and depth of the excised part would 
be less than in the latter regions, because the area of its diffusion would 
be less. Over the shin, the depth of the excision should be down to 
the periosteum, and to the muscles on either side, and it should 
embrace an area of a square inch or more. In the thigh, the excision 
should be down at least to the fascia covering the muscles, and ought 
to be even more extensive, including an area of a couple of square 
inches or so. There is reason to believe that one reason why 
excision has not been attended with the expected success, has arisen 
from the fact that all the infected tissue has not been removed. 
It is manifest that, if any be left behind, the remaining poison may be 
insidiously absorbed, and eventually destroy life. Then again, if the 
bite has been inflicted by the daboia, on a thin and spare individual, the 
muscles of the calf or thigh may be penetrated. And, in such a 
case, muscle, in addition to skin and areolar tissue, may have to be 


11. Amputation here is in itself a grave proceeding, and it is for- 
tunate that it is not primarily involved in the consideration of the case. 
Provided the ligatures have been tightened to the utmost, time will be 
allowed in which to make the excision so extensive and deep as to em- 
brace the whole of the infected area ; to resemble, in truth, in principle 
at least, and in completeness, the small and comparatively unimportant 
amputation of the fingers or toes. But it will often happen that 
gangrene will have resulted from the ligature, and, as a secondary- 
measure, amputation will become needful, A case of this kind occurred 
to me at the Calcutta General Hospital, The patient, a Mohammedan, 
had been bitten in the forearm by a daboia. Ligatures and the cautery 
were applied. Gangrene supervened. He was admitted under my care. 
The soft parts, up to within half an inch of the axilla, were destroyed 
by sloughing and gangrene. Enough skin over the deltoid remained 
for a flap. The arm was taken off at the shoulder-joint, and the patient 
made an excellent recovery. 

12. When an effective bite has been inflicted on any part of the 
trunk, the ligature cannot be employed. But excision and the cautery, 
if done at once, may be the means of saving life. In these cases sufti- 
cient time usually elapses to permit the absorption of a fatal quantity of 
poison before the arrival of the surgeon. It may sometimes happen, 
where only a limited quantity of poison has been injected, that, even 
after the signs of snake poisoning have been fairly developed, the com- 
plete extirpation of the infected parts may succeed in saving life, which 
would otherwise be sacrificed. 

13. It is much to be regretted that the intravenous injection of 
ammonia fii-st introduced by Fontana and the Italians, and energetically 
revived by Professor Halford, of Melbourne, has not been found (by the 
Calcutta Snake Poison Commission) to be of any practical use in dogs 
poisoned by Indian or Australian snakes. Nor does the Hquor potassa^ 
recommended to be injected into the blood by Dr. Short, of Madras, 
apparently do much good. It might do more if injected freely into the 
poisoned part. 

Sir Joseph Fayrer recommends that liquor ammonioe, nitric acid, 
carbolic acid, strong whipcord, and a small sharp knife be kept at all 
police stations for immediate use in cases of snake poisoning. 


Lejif^fh iiiofjulin^ tail , S'O". 
LenyfJi of fail, /)" 

Plate 1 

.iraiaxt. .In-. :;•._ 

Dnm'n Mr yln/Tor/47 Prosaul Zla^cJi^e, Stutt^tl. 

Oct' Si J I o/ .-h-l , Cafcuitn \ 

N A J A. 

Naja Ttipudians — Cobra — Cobra di Capello. 

Naja. — The following description is given of the genus by Giinther : 
— " Body and tail of moderate length ; belly flat ; head rather high and 
short, not very distinct from neck, which is very dilatable, the anterior 
ribs being elongate. The shields of the head normal, but the loreal is 
absent. Nostrils wide, lateral, between two shields ; eye of moderate 
size, with round pupil. One prsD-, three, sometimes two or four post- 
oculars. Six upper labials, the third and fourth entering the orbit ; the 
third forms the lower half of the anterior margin of the orbit. Scales 
smooth, much imbricate, in numerous series round the hood. Anal 
entire. Sub-caudals two-rowed. The fang is grooved, with foramen at 
its extremity; one or two small ordinary teeth at a short distance 
behind it." 

The manners and customs, &c., distribution and varieties of the 
genus are admirably described by Sir Joseph Fayrer in the following 
quotation from the Thanatophidia : — " There are several varieties, 
each having a distinct name given to it by the natives. They are all 
most deadly, and though the snake-charmers consider some more 
poisonous than others, it is probable that any difference that may exist 
is more due to the vigour of the individual snake than to anything 
attributable to the particular variety. They all have the hood, and 
never attack without distending it. They raise the anterior third ol 
the body from the ground, slide slowly along on the posterior two- 
thirds, and with the hood dilated remain on the alert, darting the head 
forward to the attack when anything hostile approaches. This attitude 
is very striking, and few objects are more calculated to inspire awe than 
a large cobra, when with his hood erect, hissing loudly, and his eyes 
glaring, he prepares to strike. Nevertheless, they are not, I believe, 

10 NAJA. 

aggressive ; and unless interfered with or imtated, they crawl along the 
ground \\nth the neck undilated, looking not unlike innocent snakes ; 
but the moment they are disturbed, they assume the menacing attitude 
I have described. 

'' The Naja Tripudian.^ (the only species), or Cobra, grows to the 
length of five feet and a half, or even more. On one occasion I received 
a living female cobra from Nagpore, C.P., sent by Dr. W. B. Beatson. 
It was of the variety called ' Kurrees Gokurrah/ of a Hght chocolate 
colour, without any mark on the hood. It was five feet eight inches 
long, including the tail, which measured eleven and a quarter inches. 
In girth it was six and a quarter inches. It was very powerful and 
fierce, and Dr. Beatson told me that it killed a fowl in one minute. 

" This was the largest cobra I have seen, but I believe they attain 
even a greater size than this. The cobra is found all over Hindostan 
up to eight thousand feet high in the Himalaya ; but Mr. Hodgson says 
he has never seen it in the Nepaul valley."* It is equally dreaded and 
fatal everywhere. The varieties are numerous, and they are distin- 
guished by the markings on the hood, and by various shades of colour, 
from the darkest olive or black, with a purple iridescence, to a pale 
chocolate, fawn, or yellow colour. They are all, notwithstanding their 
differences of colour or marking, considered by naturalists to be but 
varieties of one species. They have various names in different parts of 
India., and are regarded by the snake-catchers as different species, and 
as having different powers of destruction. Such differences most likely 
depend on age, vigour, or other circumstances, as naturally the intensity 
of the poison of the different varieties is probably about equal. 

" The cobra is a nocturnal snake — that is, it is most active in the 
night ; but it is often seen moving about in the day. It is oviparous ; 
the eggs, from eighteen to twenty-five in number, are obovate, and 
about the size of those of a pigeon ; the shell is white, but tough and 
leathery. The cobras feed on small animals, birds' eggs, frogs, fish, or 
insects ; they rob hen-roosts, and swallow the eggs whole ; they prefer 
taking their food at dusk or in the night. They are said to drink a 
great deal of water ; but it is certain that they will hve weeks, even 
months, in captivity, without touching food or water. They go into 
* Fayrer haa seen it in the Oude Terai. 

NAJA. 11 

water readily, and swim well, but are essentially terrestrial snakes. 
They can climb, and occasionally ascend trees in search of food. Cobras 
are not unfrequently found in the roofs of huts, holes m walls, fowl 
houses, old ruins, under logs of wood, in cellars, old brick kilns, and old 
masonry of stone, brickwork, or mud. Such are the common dwelling- 
places of these reptiles, and where they are frequently disturbed by 
men, who, stepping on or inadvertently disturbmg and touching them, 
receive their death-wound. 

" The cobra is most deadly, and its poison, when thoroughly inocu- 
lated by a fresh and vigorous snake, is quickly fatal. Paralysis of the 
nerve-centres takes place, and death occurs with great rapidity, some- 
times in a few minutes, especially when the fangs, having penetrated a 
vein, inoculate the poison immediately into the venous ckculation. The 
number of deaths caused yearly in India by these snakes is perfectly 
appaUing. The cases in which recovery occurs are, it is to be feared, 
very few ; treatment appears to be of little avail unless it be almost 
immediate, and then, in the case of a genuine bite, there is but httle 
hope of savmg life. As to the mode of treatment and other matters 
connected with the bite of the cobra, and the great mortality caused by 
it in India, they will be described subsequently. 

" The cobras are the favourites of the snake-charmers, and it is 
astonishing with what ease and freedom they are seized and handled by 
these men, even when in possession of their fangs. The snake-catchers 
render them temporarily harmless by cutting out the poison fangs ; but 
these are quickly reproduced, unless, as most generally happens, with 
the fang all the reserve fangs and germs are removed, in which case the 
snake is hai-mless for life. Their graceful movements in the erect atti- 
tude they assume with the hood distended as they follow the move- 
ments of the snake-charmer's hands, make them an object of wonder as 
well as fear to all, and the superstitions of the natives about them are 
endless. The muntra, or spell, is far more potent in their idea than any 
drug, and to such they generally trust when bitten. How frequently 
these fail the records of any civil station in India will prove, and it is to 
be feared that the more material remedies of the physician are scarcely 
more potent for good. 

" The snake-catchers in Bengal describe a great variety of cobras. The 

12 NAJA. 

following list was furnished by a very intelligent Mohammedan, who has 
had much experience, and who, though not a snake-catcher originally by 
profession, has been one for several years, and is exceedingly expert in 
catching and handling these reptiles. The first great distinction made 
by these people is between cobras with spectacles on the hood, or 
'Gokurrahs,' and those with one ocellus or other mark on the hood, 
named ' Keautiahs.' They maintain that these are distmct species, 
and that they vary considerably not only in appearance, but in habits 
and properties. Some gokurrahs, however, have no mark on the hood. 

" The Gokurrah has the following varieties : — 

" 1. Kdla, black ; 2. Koyah, black and white ; 3. Gomunah, wheat- 
coloured ; 4. Puddah, yellow coloured ; 5. Dudiah, whitish coloured ; 
G. Tentuliah, tamarind seed coloured ; 7. Kurrees, earthy coloured ; 8. 
Tameshur, copper coloured ; 9. Puddun ndg, golden coloured. The 2nd, 
3rd, and 7tli are the most common varieties about Calcutta. 

" The Keautiah has the following : — 

"1. Kcila, black ; 2. Tentuliah, tamarind seed coloured ; 3. Kurrees, 
earthy coloured ; 4. Sonera, gold coloured ; 5. Dudiah, whitish coloured ; 
6. Bans-buniah, mottled white and black ; 7. Giribungha, brownish 
coloured ; 8. Koyah, black and white coloured ; 9. Sankha-mooklii, like 
the Sankni or Bungarus fasciatus, black and yellow. The Cobra is 
called in many parts of Hindostan ' Kiila samp,' ' Nd-g samp.' The Ist, 
2nd, and 6th are most common about Calcutta, and no doubt in different 
parts of Bengal many other varieties are described, and different names 
are given to those above-mentioned, for the natives are fond of refining 
on points of this kind." 

















5s ^ 



i ^ 




Ophiophagus Elaps. 

Hamadryad (Glinther), Sunkerchor (Native), Ai raj in Orissa (Fayrer). 
This is a hooded snake, varying in length, in the adult state, from 
twelve to fourteen feet. It is powerful, active, and aggressive. 

Glinther describes the genus as follows : — " Body rather elongate ; 
tail of proportionate length ; head rather short, depressed, scarcely 
distinct from neck, which is dilatable ; occipitals surrounded by three 
pairs of large shields, the two anterior of which are temporals. Nostril 
between two nasals. Loreal none ; one or two prse-, three post- oculars. 
Scales smooth, much imbricate, in transverse rows, in fifteen series 
round the body, but in many more round the neck ; those of the 
vertebral series are rather larger than the others, ventrals more than 
200 ; anal entire ; anterior sub-caudals simple, posterior two-rowed, 
sometimes all bifid. Maxillary with a large fang in front, which is 
perforated at the end, showing a longitudinal groove in front ; a second 
small simple tooth at some distance behind the fang." 

Varieties dependent upon " age and locahty" : — 

" a. Olive green above ; the shields of the head, the scales of the 
neck, hinder part of the body and of the tail edged with black ; trunk 
with numerous oblique, alternate black and white bands converging 
towards the head ; lower parts marbled with blackish, or uniform pale 


" |3. Brownish-olive, uniform anteriorly, with the scales black-edged 
posteriorly ; each scale of the tail with a very distinct white, black-edged 
ocellus, as in Ptyas mucosus. 

" 7. Uniform brownish black, scales of the hinder part of the body 
and of the tail somewhat lighter in the centre ; all the lower parts black, 
except the chin and throat, which are yellow." 


The first variety is found in Bengal, Assam, the Malayan Peninsula, 
and Southern India (Fayrer) ; the second in Bengal (Fayrer) ; in the 
Philippine Islands and perhaps in Bin-mah (Gunther) ; and the third is 
found in Borneo (Fayrer). 

Gunther says, " Young specimens have a much more varied colora- 
tion ; they are black, with numerous white, equidistant, narrow cross- 
bands, descending obhquely backwards ; head with four white cross- 
bands ; one occupies the extremity of the snout, the second across the 
posterior frontals, the third across the crown of the head, behind the 
orbit ; the fourth across the occiput to the angle of the mouth ; the two 
latter bands are composed of oval spots. In a specimen from the 
Anamallay Mountains the beUy is black, and the white bands extend 
across, being wider than on the back ; in a second specimen, of which 
the locality is unknown, the belly is white, each ventral having a 
blackish margin." 

Though this genus has a wide distribution, it is not frequently met 
with. It is said to be found in the Andaman and Philippine Islands, 
Java, Sumatra, Borneo (Gunther), and in New Guinea (Dumeril), 
Cuttack, in Bengal (Beddome), Ilangoon (Fayrer). It is found in the 
Sunderbunds, and around Calcutta. 

It is, perhaps, the most aggressive of all the Indian Thanatophidia. 
All the best authorities agree on this point. But it is nevertheless 
manageable in captivity. As its name implies, it lives, doubtless, as 
much as practicable, upon snakes. 

For the purposes which this work is intended to subserve, it may be 
regarded that, with few exceptions, all hooded snakes are poisonous. 
Sir Joseph Fayrer has noted the dilatable neck "in Compsosoma 
radiatam, an innocent snake, the neck and much of the whole body 
dilates vertically when it is excited and about to strike, presenting a 
very remarkable appearance ;" also " in the Tropidonoius macrojjhthalrtius, 
an innocent snake, which attains a length of thirty-nine inches, 
according to Gunther, and is found in Khasya and Sikkim up to 
4000 feet. It is known by its large eye and dilatable neck" (Fayrer) ; 
the scales, Gunther says, "show an arrangement very similar to that of 
the cobra, for wliich it is frequently taken. AU the specimens I have 
seen show unmistakable signs that their captors considered it best to 


kill them from a distance, and to inflict a death-wound as near to the 
head as possible. Brown or blackish brown above, uniform or with a 
dorsal series of reddish brown spots ; neck with an indistinct arrow- 
shaped mark. Anterior part of the belly with large quadrangular 
blackish-brown spots, posterior part and lower side of the tail more or 
less clouded with brown. Young specimens have indistinct square, dark 
spots on the back, arranged in quincunx, and a bright yellow collar 
broadly edged with black." 


B U N Ct A R U S. 

Giinther's description of this genus is given below. 

" Body rather elongate ; tail comparatively short ; head more or less 
dil&.^ed, depressed, with broad, rounded muzzle ; scarcely distinct from 
-neck, which is not dilatable. Eye small, with round pupil. Kostral 
shield broader than high, reaching to upper part of snout ; anterior 
frontals half the size of the posterior ; vertical five-sided ; occipitals 
tapering behind. Nostril rather wide between two nasals. Loreal 
none ; one prae-, two post-oculars. Seven upper labials, the third and 
fourth entering the orbit. Scales smooth, moderately imbricate, dis- 
posed in obhque rows, forming fifteen longitudinal series round the 
body ; those of the vertebral series are very broad hexagonal. Ventrals 
between 200 and 250 ; anal and sub-caudals entire. Scales without 
apicial groove. Maxillary bone with a fang in front ; a second small 
siu^ple tooth at some distance behind the fang." 

" The Bungarums," says Sir Joseph Fayrer, " are diurnal terrestrial 
snakes, but like others, they generally prefer the shade to the sunshine. 
They are found in the open country, in grass and low jungle, and in 
fields. They live in holes m the ground, sometimes down among the 
roots of trees at a considerable depth. They are not frequently seen in 
inhabited places, though they do at times find their way into huts and 
houses. I killed a very large one in Kangoon many years ago that got 
into a hut full of Dhoolie bearers at the field hospital during the last 
Burmese war. They feed on small animals, snakes, frogs, toads, lizards, 
and they are very poisonous ; but owing to the shortness of their fang, 
which is much smaller than that of the cobra, their bite is less dangerous, 
and excision being more practicable, treatment may be useful and 
recoveries more numerous." 



Bungarus fasciatus. 

This species is the " Sankiii," or "Bungarum Pamah" of the Coro- 
mandel Coast (Russell), " Rajsamp" of some natives. It varies in size 
from foui' to six or eight feet. Giinther describes it as follows : — " The 
first temporal shield is scarcely larger than high ventrals 200-233 ; 
sub-caudals, 32-36. Body with alternate broad black and yellowish 
rings, extending across the belly ; there are from twenty-five to thirty- 
three of these black rings round the trunk ; the first is the broadest, 
and produced into a triangular process, the point of which rests on the 
vertical shield. Head black anteriorly and on the sides separated from 
the triangular process by a yellow Y-like mark. Lower parts and 
throat uniform yellow." The trigonal shape of its body with sharp 
dorsal ridge and declining sides are noted by Russell. " The hexa- 
gonal vertebral shield, and hard, blunt, and almost bony end of tail, are 
very strongly marked." 

"The Bungarus fasciatus,'' says Sir Joseph Fayrer, "is tolerably 
common in Bengal and in Southern India, as well as Burmah, and it is 
also known m the North- West, where it is sometimes caUed * Koclia 
Krait.' Its bite is very dangerous, but the police returns do not show 
that it causes many deaths ; probably because it is not so much in the 
way of being met with as the cobra or krait. Its fangs are relatively to 
those of the cobra very small, and its bite in dogs causes death much 
slower than the cobra's bite. It is much less valued by the snake-men 
than the cobra, as it does not erect its head, nor is it amenable to 
their tuition. Dogs bitten by Bungarus fasciatus died at various periods 
from four hours twenty-eight minutes to ten days." 




This species is the krait of India. It is the '' Gedi Paragoodoo" of 
Eussell ; the "Dhomun Chiti" (Bengal). Giinther describes this snake 
as follows : — " The first temporal shield is considerally longer than high. 
Yentrals, 201-221; sub-caudals, 38-56. Lower parts uniform white ; 
upper parts bluish or brownish-black, uniform, or with more or less 
numerous very narrow white cross streaks, not quite as broad as a scale, 
and generally radiating from a white vertebral spot. No collar." 

Varieties. — " a. Upper parts uniform blackish-brown ; B. lividus, 
Cautor from Assam. In young specimens the head is white, with a 
black line between the occipitals. 

"j3. A vertebral series of equi-distant white spots, from which narrow 
transverse streaks proceed. 

" y. Upper parts with narrow white streaks arranged iji pairs : B. 
arcuatus, Dum. and Bib." 

It varies in size from two feet to four feet and a half The fangs are 
smaller than those of the cobra. I have seen it in the North-West, 
Bajputana, Guzerat, Deccan, and Madras. It is found in fields, huts, 
houses, in bookcases, ledges of windows, and Venetians. Fayrer mentions 
an instance " where, after a night's dak in a palanquin, a lady, in taking 
out her things on arriving at her destination, found a krait coiled up 
under her piUow ; it had been her travelling companion all night." It 
is often mistaken for the Lycodon aidicus, which is an innocent snake. In 
the krait, the hexagonal scales on back, and its fangs are sufficient to 
distinguish it from the Lycodon aulicus. 


Callophis Macdellandia. 

This species of callophis is described by Giiuther as follows : — 
" Uj^per labials, seven ; temporals, small, 1 + 1 + 1 ; anal bifid. Head 
and neck black above, with a yellow cross band behind the eyes. Body 
and tail reddisli -brown, generally with a black vertebral line from the 
nape to the tip of the tail. Belly yellowish, with black cross-bands or 
quadrangular black spots." 

Varieties. — " a. Belly with unmterrupted black cross-bands, alter- 
nately limited to the belly, or extending up the sides of the body, so as 
to cover scales of the four outer rows, and give the appearance of a 
lateral series of large black spots. The three last cross-bands of the 
trunk form complete rings crossing the veitebral line ; tail with three 
other black rings. This specimen is twenty-six and one-third inches 
long; tail, two and one-third inches; ventrals, 218 ; sub-caudals, 28. 

" j3. Belly with quadrangular black spots, rather irregularly disposed, 
and not extending up the sides. Tail without black rings. This speci- 
men is eighteen inches long ; tail, one and a half inch ; ventrals, 224 ; 
sub-caudals, 25. 

" y. The cross-bands reach entirely across the back, forming rings, 
from twenty-tw^o to twenty-eight in number ; no black vertebral line, 
which, however, is indicated by isolated small spots. Ventrals, 198- 
218 ; sub-caudals, 27-34. Varieties a and /3 are from Nepaiil and Dar- 
jeeluig ; y from Assam." 

Plate 5. 


FROM LIFE. (reduced 1 
Le^^^d^ 3 8. Citcutzi. 5. 



> -. ^ 

.^. -• 



J- > 

,t ' 


v_/' J^awn J>v Jnjn^da Prosf/d Bn^cAee . jS€udefi>6 drov^ScJi-. of Art, Calcutta 

D A B O I A. 

There is only one species of this genus — the Daboia Russellii, Enssell's 
Viper, Tic-polonga, or Daboia elegans, or Chain Viper, Uloo Bora in and 
around Calcutta (Fayrer) ; in Bengal, Jessur, Siah-chunder Am alter 
(Fayrer). Giinther's description of this viper is as follows : — " Greyish" 
(light chocolate colour) " brown, with three series of large black, white- 
edged rings, those of the middle series ovate, those of the outer cir- 
cular ; sometimes very small black, white- edged ocelli are scattered 
between the rings. A yellow line on each side of the upper surface of 
the head, the two lines convergent on the snout. Bostral and labial 
shields yellow, with brown margins ; a sub-triangular brown, black- 
edged, spot below the eye. Belly uniform yellowish, or marbled with 
brownish ; generally more or less numerous semicircular brown spots on 
the hinder margins of the ventral shields. Ventrals, 163-170 ; sub- 
caudals, 45-60." 

I have seen it in Kajputana and Guzerat. It is isaid to prevail in 
most parts of India. Fayrer says "it is probably found all over the 
plains of India, as well as in the hills." In Kulu it has been observed 
5000 feet high, and in Kashmir 6000 feet high, but generally not higher 
than from 2000 to 4000 feet. According to Stoliczka, it is fond of 
basking in sunny jDlaces. 

"It is the ' Tic-polonga' of Ceylon, and is justly dreaded there as a 
very deadly snake. Dr. RusseU describes it in his work on Indian 
snakes under the name of ' Katuka Rekula Poda.' He says it is not 
as venomous as the cobra. My experiments incline me to agree with 
Dr. Russell, and to give it, at all events, a place next to the cobra. 
Fowls bitten by this snake expired in from thirty-five seconds to several 
minutes ; dogs in from seven minutes to several hours ; a cat in fifty- 
seven minutes ; a horse in eleven and a half hours. Death was not in 
any case so rapid as after the cobra bite ; but, though slower in its 


action, the poison seemed just as deadly. The blood usually remains 
fluid after death from the poison of the Daboia (the human subject 
perhaps bemg excepted) ; whereas after cobra poisoning it generally 
coagulates firmly on being removed from the heart and gi-eat vessels. 
Tlie Daboia is nocturnal in its habits ; in confinement it is sluggish, and 
does not readily strike, miless roused and irritated, when it bites with 
great force and determination. When disturbed it hisses fiercely, and 
when it strikes, does so with great vigour. Its long, movable fangs 
are very promment objects, and with them it is capable of inflicting a 
very deep as well as poisoned wound. The markings on its body are 
very beautiful, and justify the synonym, V. eh(jans. It lives on small 
animals, such as rats, mice, and frogs. My snake-man says it will go 
into water. It is, however, terrestrial in its habits. (It climbs trees in 
Ceylon. — Tennant). Its loud hissing when disturbed is calculated to 
warn those who come within its dangerous proximity. Though so deadly, 
it does not appear by the returns to cause many deaths ; but this may 
be owing to the fact that the natives seldom know, often do not see, 
the snake that has inflicted the fatal wound. It is much less known, 
and its misdeeds are therefore doubtless often ascribed to the cobra. In 
the official returns of deaths from snake bites, a large number are 
attributed to snakes unknown. If the real offender could be detected, 
it is probable that the Daboia would have a more prominent place than 
it occupies at present." — [Fayrer.) The adult varies in length from three 
to four feet or so. 





















E C H I S. 

Echis carinata. 

Of the genus Echis, the Echis carinata is the only Indian species. 
It prevails in the North- West Provinces, Punjab, Pajputana, Central 
India, Sind, and in some parts of the Madras Presidency. About Delhi 
its indigenous name is '' Afae" (Fayrer). By Pussell it is figured under 
the name of " Horatta Pam." In Sind it is known as the " Kuppur." 
The genus is described by Giinther as follows : — " Head covered with 
keeled scales ; a pair of very small frontals behind the rostral shield. 
Nostril small, round, directed upwards, situated in a large nasal shield, 
which is subdivided behind the nostril. Sides of the head covered with 
keeled scales, two series of which are between the eye and the low 
upper labials. Scales much imbricate, strongly keeled, in from twenty- 
five to twenty-nine series ; those in the lateral series have their tips 
directed obliquely downwards." " With these they make the rustling 
sound" (Fayrer). " Sub-caudals one-rowed." The species Echis cari- 
nata is described by Giinther as follows : — " Brown or brownish grey, 
with a series of sub-quadrangular or ovate whitish spots, edged with 
blackish brown ; a sub-semicircular whitish band on each side of each of 
the dorsal spots, enclosing a round, dark brown lateral spot. A pair of 
oblong brown, black edged spots on the crown of the head, convergent 
anteriorly ; a brown spot below, and an oblique broad streak behind the 
eye. Belly whitish, with more or less numerous round brown specks. 
Ventrals, 149-154; sub-caudals, 21-26." 

" The Echis," says Sir Joseph Fayrer, "is fierce and aggressive. It 
is always on the defensive, ready to attack; it thr£>Trs ii;»e:rf into a 
douuie coil, uie foiuti oi which are in perpetual motion, and as they rub 
against each other, they make a loud rustling sound, very like hissing. 
This sound is produced by the three or four outer rows of carinated 

24 ECHIS. 

scales, which are very prominent, and point downwards at a different 
angle to the rest; their friction against each other causes the sound. 
This little viper does not, I think, hiss at all. Its fangs are very long 
and mobile, like those of the Dahoia. Its eye has a peculiarly vicious 

appearance It is a small viper ; a specimen from the Indian 

Museum is twenty-two and a half inches in length and about three in 
circumference, though no doubt it has somewhat shrunk by the action 

of the spirit It is very active, and can dart a considerable 

distance — a foot or more — to strike its prey : it is by far the most active 
and aggressive poisonous snake I have seen." 

- iS 

< $ ? 

O ^;: A 






One of the Crotalidae or Pit Vipers, found in Bengal, Sikkim, and 
sub-Himalaya and Burmah. Gtinther's description is as follows : — 
" The second upper labial shield forms the front part of the facial pit. 
Scales in from twenty-three to twenty -five rows ; those on the crown of 
the head and on the temples small, strongly carinated. Ventrals, 164-169; 
sub-caudals, 34-60. Grass green above, tail yellowish green; a more or 
less distinct yellowish line runs along the outer series of scales, and is 
sometimes absent. Lower parts greenish white. The general colour 
is usually green ; sometimes there are large blackish spots on the sides ; 
the lateral line is either well developed, white margined, with coi-al red 
below, or it is absent. Tail pale, ruddy above, usually equal to one- 
sixth the total length." 




FROM NATURE IND. MUS. (reduced). 
Z/'ey^/t iftc/zz^zji^ 7'af/ ?' 2". 

I>ra}vn Jbr ^-binodci Prasad B(Ufi fu 

Oov^ Sch of Art. Ca/r/if//t. 

Drunviiy JViiya/ut/itla D"v 


The description of this snake by Gtinther is as follows : — " The 
second upper labial shield forms the front part of the facial pit, gene- 
rally a small shield between the supra-nasals. Scales on the head and 
on the body more or less distinct^ keeled, in twenty-one series. 
Ventrals, 148-158; sub-caudals, 51-55. Ground colour generally 
yellowish green, with a dorsal series of large rhombic black spots, each 
spot subdivided by or variegated with yeUow. Upper side of the head 
marbled with black in adult specimens, uniform greenish in young ones ; 
a black or brown band runs from the back edge of the eye to the angle 
of the mouth ; supra-ciliary, with one or two black cross streaks. Belly 
yellowish green, with numerous yellow and green spots along its side. 
Tail black, with yellow and green spots. Young specimens may be 
recognised by the dark temple streak ; but nearly all the other markings 
are very uidistinct, and the ground colour is a reddish olive ; tail with 
white extremity. 

"A specimen received with others from the same locality has a 
brownish purple ground colour, with a dorsal series of brown spots ; 
belly marbled with purple ; tail black, with irregular greenish rings, and 
with some indistinct small yellowish spots. This specimen also has the 
supra-ciliary divided into two ; but, nevertheless, we consider it merely 
a variety of about a dozen specimens from the Anamally Mountains ; 
the largest is twenty-four inches long, tail measuring three and a half 

Of three specimens forwarded by Dr. Shortt, of Madras, to Sir 
Joseph Fayrer, one was nineteen inches long, one inch and three-quarters 
in girth, tail measuring two inches and three-quarters; a second 
was twenty-seven inches long, and two inches and three-quarters in 
girth, tail being three inches and a half; whilst a third one, which had 


become greatly decomposed, was also of same length and girth as the 
second snake. All the three had the supra-ciliary divided into two 
shields as noted by Giinther. 

Trimeresurus Erytkimms. 

" Dr. Stoliczka says that its head is elongately oval, and more 
depressed than either T. carinatus or T. gramineus. The lips and chin 
are white, the lateral line is wliite, bordered with purple, or greenish 
below. Colour grass green, lighter on the sides and belly. Giinther 
says that old females do not show either the white hps or line. In this 
species there is not generally an azygos shield between the supra-nasals, 
but Dr. Stoliczka says that there is sometimes a small azygos shield. 
The scales on the body are strongly carinated, in twenty-one to twenty- 
three series. It is said by Giinther to grow to the length of thirty-three 
inches, and to be found in the Delta of the Ganges. Dr. Stoliczka found 
it common in the limestone hills about Moulmein, in Penang and Java." 
(Fayrer). According to Ball and Rink it is also found m the 

5>iev< fsj 


*' The second upper labial forms the front of the pit. There are two 
small shields beliind the nostril, sometimes a small azygos shield below 
this. The scales on the head are smooth, those on the body slightly 
carinated. There are twenty-three series. Ventrals 137-141 ; siib- 
caudals 41. The supra- ciliaries are very large. The coloration varies. 
In one specimen it is pale brown, with a vertebral row of large, square, 
dark brown blotches. Along the sides a row of small dark spots ; a pale 
temple-streak. Belly dark mottled. The larger male specimen, which 
is also from Daijeeling, is of a dark brown or almost blackish-ash colour, 
with the rhomboid patches along the vertebrae. There is a peculiar mark 
in the middle of the neck like a U, which is of a yellowish or whitish 
colour." (Fayrer.) It is found in the sub -Himalaya, the Darjeeling, 
Sikkim, Nepaul, and Khasya Hills ; and in the Neilgherries and 
Anamally Mountains in Southern India. 

Trimeresurus A ndersonii 

" Mr. Theobald has named what he considers a new species after 
Dr. Anderson, the Curator of the Indian Museum. It is described in 
his ' Catalogue of the Asiatic Society's (now Indian) Museum,' pp. 75 
to 76. It has 25 rows of carinated scales, 182 ventrals, and 56 sub- 
caudals in one specimen, and 7 1 in the other. The second upper labial 
forms the anterior margin of the prse-orbital pit ; supra-nasals separated 
by an azygos shield. The colour above and below is a uniform rich 
brown. Belly and sides marked conspicuously with white spots. 
Found in Assam. A second individual, named by Mr. Theobald m the 
same Catalogue as T. ohscurus, has the back of a uniform brown, sides 


green, spotted and mottled. Belly greenish white, hrown barred and 
spotted, supra-ciliaries well defined. But it is very doubtful if this be 
distinct from T. Andersonii. The length of the Museum specimen is 
twenty inches, of which the tail is two inches and three-quarters. The 
girth is one inch and five-eighths." (Fayrer.) 







































o -o > 
- V) 



" The shield forming the front part of the facial pit is separate from 
the second upper labial. Supra-ciliary shield narrow ; no large shields 
behind the rostral. The whole upper surface of the head is covered 
with small, nearly smooth scales. Nine or ten upper labials, becoming 
smaller in size behind. Scales distinctly keeled, in twenty-one series. 
Ventrals 186-142 ; sub-caudals 31-40. Tail but slightly prehensile, 
terminating in a short cervical scale." (Giinther.) 

Sir Joseph Fayrer says — " A specimen in the Indian Museum 
measures fourteen inches and a half; girth one inch and a quarter ; it 
is brown, with a line of darker coloured, irregular vertebral spots. It 
has a horseshoe-shaped whitish mark on the neck. There is a trian- 
gular dark spot below the eye and loreal pit, and a dark brown band 
leading from the eye to the neck. The lower jaw and belly marked with 
black spots. The end of the tail terminates in a scale ; in young 
specimens it is white." It is found on the Neilgherries, Anamallies, 
and Deccan. It does not measure more than nineteen inches. 

Halys Himalayanus. 

Giinther describes the snake as follows : — " Snout of moderate 
length, broader than long, with the nose rather protruding. Kostral 
shield oblique, higher than broad ; frontals well developed, not broken 
up into smaller shields. The anterior frontals short, transversely 
produced, and tapering on the sides ; both taken together form a sort of 
crescent. Posterior frontals large, somewhat pointed in front, and 
rounded behind. Vertical and supra- ciliaries as usual in this genus ; 
occipitals rather small, rounded. Five upper labials, a sixth and seventh 
being confluent with the temporals ; the second is small, not entering 
the margin of the facial pit ; the third enters the orbit. There is a 


series of thi-ee large temporal shields, the two liinder of wliich form a 
portion of the lip ; the space between these temporals and the occipital 
is covered with small scales. Body of moderate length, rounded ; its 
middle is covei'ed with twenty-three series of strongly keeled scales. 
Ventrals 162-166; anal entire; sub-caudals 43-51. The tail termi- 
nates in a long spine. Dark brown, with large band-like spots across 
the back ; these spots are very indistinct, scarcely dift'ering from the 
ground colour, and becoming visible only by their black edges ; belly 
almost entirely black, marbled with yellowish. A broad blackish brown 
band runs from the eye along the series of temporal shields to the angle 
of the mouth ; it has a narrow black and ^vhite edge above and below, 
and is better defined in the young individual than in the old one. 
Lower labials marbled with yellowish and blackish." 

Dr. Stoliczka says — " Especially between 5000 and 8000 feet, but 
on the Hatu Mountam near Kotegurh, and about Serahan, I observed it 

as high as 10,000 feet. It feeds principally on mice The upper 

ground colour of this snake varies from brownish-green to almost 
brownish-black, but generally with some lighter spots, bands or 
marblings, and that of the lower part is of a greenish-yellow purple 
tinge, the purplish coloiu' sometimes predominating, especially on the 
sub-caudals ; the whole of the lower side is more or less strongly marbled 
\vith greenish black ; rarely is the under side nearly all black, but the 
chin is always yellowish. The U2:)per labials are yellowish white, and in 
continuation of this colour, there is in younger specimens a very 
conspicuous whitish lateral band occupying the base of the ventrals, and 
the adjoining row of scales. In old specimens this lateral band is only 

indicated on the throat, becoming obsolete on the body All the 

specimens whicti I examined had only twenty-one series of scales. One 
nearly full grown, from the neighbourhood of Kotegurh (north-east of 
Simla) measures twenty-five inches and a quarter, of which the tail is 
three and a quarter, terminating with a very small single sub-caudal 
scale. Ventrals 160; sub-caudals 42." It is " very common over the 
north-west Himalayas." (Fayrer.) It is "met with on the paths 
generally after rains, and in shady places between overhanging forest 
trees." (Stoliczka.) 

Platp 11. 


/'ro/Ti- Poorie 


O'ov' Jt // o/ Arf. CiUciiUa . 

a/t original draivui^ 1>Y C .Aibor Mafii-o.t 


This snake is found in Malabar, Anamallay Mountains, and Ceylon. 
According to Gtinther the largest size is nineteen inches, the tail 

accounting for two and a half inches. Gtinther describes it as follows : 

'' Head broad, triangular ; snout covered with numerous small shields 
above, the crown of the head being normally shielded. Body of moderate 
length, with keeled scales in seventeen rows. Tail rather short, not 
prehensile, terminating in a short cervical scale. Sub-caudals two- 
rowed **. Ventrals 140-152, sub-caudals 31-45 ***. Brown or grey, 
or reddish olive, with a double dorsal series of brown or black spots ; 
the spots of both sides sometimes confliient into cross-bands. Sides and 
belly finely marbled and dotted with brown or black. Upper lip brown 
or black, well marked by a darker line running from behind the eye to 
the angle of the mouth ; a more or less distinct white or whitish tem- 
poral streak above the dark line, sometimes continued along the side of 
the neck, with an interrupted brown band above and below it. Chin 
and throat blackish and brownish, variegated with yellow or grey. 
Sometimes specimens occur of a more uniform coloration ; the dorsal 
spots on each side of the throat are the most constant markings, as 
described. All these varieties may be seen in the foetus taken out of 
the same female **. The carawilla is much dreaded, although its bite 
is but exceptionally fatal to man, and in such cases death does not occur 
before the lapse of some days." Sir Joseph Fayrer says that he has 
" had no opportunity of testing by experiment the properties of this 
snake. " 


Pelamis bicolor. 

Giinther's description is as follows : — " Head flat, with very long, 
spatulate snout ; neck rather stout ; body of moderate length. Nasal 
shields contiguous, longer than broad, pierced by the nostril posteriorly ; 
only one pair of frontals. Scales not imbricate, not j^olished, tubercular 
or concave. Ventral shields none, or very narrow. Lower jaw without 
notch in front **. Two or three post-orbitals. Neck surrounded by 
from forty-five to fifty-one longitudinal series of scales. From 378 to 
440 scales in a lateral longitudinal series between the angle of the mouth 
and the vent. Coloration variable." 

Varieties : — " a. Colour, black above ; sides and belly uniform 
brownish olive ; tail with black spots. 

" /3. Back black ; belly and sides brown ; separated by a black and 
yellow band. Large spots posteriorly. 

" 7. Black of back narrow, becomes sinuous behind middle of the 
body ; posteriorly a dorsal series of rhombic confluent spots. Sides 
and belly with an irregular series of rounded black or brown spots. 

" ^. Yellow, with about fifty brown, black-edged cross-bands, 
extending nearly to the belly, which is crossed by narrow veitical 
brownish- black streaks, alternating with the dorsal bands. Some of the 
dorsal bands are confluent, forming a zigzag band. Head yellow, varie- 
gated with black." 

This is the only species of the genus Pelamis. It has a wide 
distribution — wider indeed than that of any other known salt-water 
snake. It abounds in the Bay of Bengal, and in " aU the Eastern seas." 
A specimen sent by Mr. Stewart, of Pooree, to Sir Joseph Fayrer, is 
"twelve and a half inches long, and is uniform black above, the sides 
and the belly being of a bright gamboge yellow, tail with black spots, 
separated by a well-defined line. It is described as being very 
poisonous, and killed a fowl rapidl}^." 

















a 5 

- <^. 


Eussell's description of this species of Enhydrina is given below : — 
** Head rather short, of moderate width ; neck and body moderately 
elongate. Eostral shield very small, lobuliform, its projecting point 
fitting into a corresponding cavity of the lower jaw ; the fourth upper 
labial shield below the eye ; mental shield very narrow and long, 
situated in a gToove ; anterior lower labials much elongate ; throat 
covered with scales, without shields. One post-ocular, sometimes 
divided into two. Neck surrounded by forty-eight series of scales. 
Scales scarcely imbricate, hexagonal, each provided with a short keel ; 
ventral shields not, or but Httle, different from the scales of the adjoining 
series ; they are 284-314 in number. Terminal scale of the tail rather 
large. The young has broad black rhombic bands across the back, 
which become fainter with age, and finally disappear entirely." 

" The fang of Enhydrina," says Sii' Joseph Eayrer, " is short, but 
well marked ; the groove is open part of its length, but not throughout. 
The body is somewhat compressed, the belly carinate ; the tail flat 
and compressed, almost like a fish's fin ; the nostrils vertical ; the 
eyes small ***. One (Enhydrina) was made to close its jaws on 
a fowl, and it killed it in seven minutes. Some hours after its 
death its jaws were forcibly closed on a fowl's thigh, and the bird died 
in four hours. The poison is evidently very virulent." According to 
Fayrer it measures from thirty-six to forty-eight inches. It is common 
in the tidal waters of the Sunderbunds and in the Bay of Bengal. 



GwtJt of nec/c. 

Plate 13 

Drannt brBfhar/Lall Das, Student 

Oor* Sch of Art, Calcuiia, 


Giinther describes this species as follows : — 

" No azygos shield between the posterior frontals, scales of the front 
part of the trunk in nineteen longitudinal series ; ventral shields 232- 
241. Trunk surrounded by from thirty- three to thirty-six black rings, 
which are broader than the interspaces. A black band crosses the 
occiput and extends forward over the vertical plate and over the lower 
jaw, but, generally, it is not confluent with the next following ring. 
The upper part of the snout yellow ; upper labials black." 

Dr. John Anderson, the distinguished Director of the Indian Museum, 
Calcutta, furnished Sir Joseph Fayrer with the following description of 
what he considered to be a specimen of P. Fischeri in the Museum : — 
" The specimen which I provisionally refer to this species has nineteen 
rows of smooth scales round the fore part of the trunk, in longitudinal 
series, and 235 ventrals. There is no azygos shield between the posterior 
frontals, and in all of these characters it agrees with this species. But 
on comparing the head with Gunther's drawing, I find that the anterior 
frontals in my specimen differ from it, in being long and pointed 
anteriorly, and considerably larger than the posterior pair, and in the 
vertical being proportionally larger than in P. Fischeri, and the 
occipitals larger and more pointed. It has one prse-, and two post-oculars, 
and the third and fourth labials are below the eye. Two pairs of large 
chin-shields, the posterior shields with a large scale between their 
posterior extremities. It also diff^ers from P. Fischeri in having fifty-six 
black rings round tlie trunk instead of thirty-six, but I do not attach 
much importance to this, as P. scutatus shows about an equal varia- 
tion ; but at the same time, Gunther's statement that his eight 


specimens show the same assemblage of characters as laid down in his 
description, and the occurrence of fifty-six rings in my specimen, 
suggest that theii* multiplicity is either due to greater age (it measures 
forty-nine inches in length) or to variation. The head too is wholly 
black, with the exception of a yellow band from the posterior margm of 
one eye to the other. The upper surface is olive green, and the sides 
and belly rich dark gamboge yellow, and the fifty-six rings are intensely 
bluish-black, and the scales generally have a very bright shining lustre. 
It was from Tolly's Nullah, a tidal stream near Calcutta, The largest 
of Gunther's eight specimens measured thirty inches." 




Lt'Df/f/i uuJu^/at^ tail JO' 


O'lr/Jt ofiodv 

Plate 14. 

Dnrui, J>\'^'ffvajnin^/<z Da^, Stade^U 

*^ ffor.fScA- a/^Art. i'aZcu/ta 


Dr. Anderson describes this species as follows : — 

" Head short, with the snout declivous and rather pointed ; body 
of moderate length. Frontal shields small, not much larger than prse- 
ocular ; one post-ocular ; five upper labial shields, the third and fourth 
of which enter the orbit, the last below the post-ocular ; two or three 
large temporals on the side of each occipital, the anterior of which enters 
the labial margin behind the fifth labial shield. Two pairs of chin- 
shields, in contact with one another. Scales imbricate, large, higher 
than long, with apex slightly truncated ; each scale with a strong keel ; 
they are disposed in fifteen or seventeen series round the neck, and in 
nineteen or twenty-one in the middle of the body. Ventral shields 
distinct, but not twice as large as the scales of the adjoining series, 
bituberculate 235-238 in number. Anal shields small ; terminal scale of 
the tail large. A series of seven simple teeth behind the grooved fang 
in front. Trunk with from thirty-four to thirty-eight black cross-bands, 
broadest on the back and extending to the belly in young and half- 
grown specimens." 



Zen^^fA m<:iudw^ tad 


CP/7-f/i of J>odv. 

Plate 15 

(fovf Sch. or.'lrt- CcUciUUi, 


" Head of moderate size and width ; neck and body not elongate. 
Two or three upper labials below the orbit ; one post-ocular ; anterior 
temporal shield large ; two pairs of chin-shields, which are in contact 
with one another. Thirty-one series of scales round the neck. Scales 
slightly imbricate, each with a subcentral tubercle ; those on the highest 
part of the body are rounded or subtruncated behind, as high as long. 
Ventrals twice or thrice as broad as the scales of the adjoining series, 
smooth, 3 1 in number. Terminal scale of the tail rather large. Trunk 
with thirty -five narrow, distant, black rings, extending round the belly, 
sometimes interrupted on the side and dilated on the back ; head with- 
out markings in the adult; throat and belly whitish. This snake, of 
which we have examined two adult examples, six feet long, is found on 
the coast of the mainland of India, as well as in the Archipelago. It 
has been confounded with other species by all the previous herpetologists. 
The figure given by Fischer is very recognisable, " 



/yf^i^iA inclifdui^ tail. 


GiriA o/Jiodv. 

Guth ofns^. 

Plate 16^ 


Drawn bf N^vt^artundtv Day Stud^tvt 

(ror*Sch of Art Cal<:iat€i. 


" Head hardly distinct from neck. Neck and body of nearly 
equal girth throughout. Kound neck, 1" 2'" ; round middle of body, 
2" 9'". Body elongated ; thirty-four series of scales round the neck ; forty 
round the middle of the body ; scales almost smooth on the neck and 
anterior third of the body ; two feeble keel-like tubercles, one before 
the other, very obscure, but more strongly developed on the two posterior 
thirds ; ventral s twice the size of the adjoining scales, quite smooth, 
broken up here and there on the posterior five-eighths of the body. 
Two pairs of anal-shields, the central pair of moderate size, elongated ; 
the external pair very large. The vertical is pointedly linguate. One 
prse-, and two post- oculars. The third, fourth, and fifth labials enter the 
orbit on one side, but only the third and the fourth on the opposite 
side ; the fifth being transversely divided into two shields, which do 
not reach quite as high as the orbital margin. Two pairs of large chin- 
shields, the anterior pair quadrangular and the posterior pair rather 
elongated ; olive-yellow above, yellowish on the scales and under 
surface ; sixty-two broad black bands on the back contracting to a 
point on the sides, but prolonged very indistinctly on to them and the 
ventral aspect, where they expand as a large blackish spot. Near the 
tail the dorsal bands become connected together, and their continuations 
on the ventral aspect follow a similar arrangement. Six black rings on 
the tail, confluent below ; the latter third entirely black. Hooghly, 
below Calcutta. Length (total) 4 feet, 5" 6'", tail 4" 3'". The 
peculiarity of this species is its elongated body, the uniform breadth 
which it preserves throughout its length and the enlarged and smooth 
ventrals." It is found hi the tidal streams near Calcutta (Fayrer). 




/.f/i////, i//f///<///i^ U/// 5 S'. 




Dran'/i ir-Beh^trr Lai Dass, Siadent. 

Gov^ASch^.ofArt^, Calcutta 


" Head of moderate size and width ; neck and body rather elongate ; 
generally two labial shields below the eye ; two post-oculars (exceptionally 
confluent into one) ; two or more temporal-shields on the side of each 
occipital ; two pairs of chin-shields, the anterior of which are in contact 
with each other ; twenty-nine to thirty-three series of scales round the 
neck. Scales slightly imbricate, rhombic, faintly keeled ; three on the 
highest part of the body, rather longer than high. Ventrals, 320-360 — 
406-426, twice or thrice as large as the scales of the adjoining series ; 
almost all are entire, not longitudinally divided, and bitubercular ; four 
anal-shields, the outer of which are larger than the inner ; terminal 
scale of the tail rather small or of moderate size. Greenish-olive on the 
back, yellowish on the sides and belly ; trunk with from fifty to seventy- 
five black cross-bands, which are broadest on the back and broader than 
the interspaces of the ground colour ; they are narrower on the sides, 
sometimes disappearing altogether with age on the sides and belly, or 
visible only as irregular spots on the ventral shields. In young and 
half-grown specimens they surround the body entirely, and are some- 
times joined by a black band running along the whole fine of the ventral 
shields. The head is greenish-olive above and yellowish on the sides ; 
in the young, black variegated with yellow, the yellow colour sometimes 
forming a frontal and temporal band. This is one of the commonest 
sea-snakes, occurring on the coasts of Ceylon, Madras, in the Bay of 
Bengal, in the East Indian Archipelago, and in the seas of China and 
Japan. It attains to a length of more than six feet. Old males have a 
remarkably thick and rounded tail." 










" The neck moderately long and slender, and the head rather short 
and not much broader than the neck. The remainder of the body very 
much compressed. E,ostral considerably broader than high. The nasals 
as broad posteriorly as they are long. The third and fourth labials enter 
the orbit, the former not being in contact with the nasal. Three tem- 
porals, the anterior the largest. Two post-oculars. Vertical much 
pointed behind ; occipitals long and narrow. Two almost quadrangular 
chin-shields in contact with each other. Thirty-three rows of scales 
round the neck. The scales hexagonal, not imbricate, with a feeble 
central tubercle. Ventrals 387, smooth. The first forty on the neck 
about four times as large as the adjoining scales, those behind them 
being small and narrow as they are traced backwards, and hardly 
discernible on the last six inches of the trunk. Two pairs of small 
scale-like anals. Tail broad, markedly dilating from its root. Lips 
yellowish. Upper surface of head and upper surface of neck and trunk 
greenish olive. Under surface of head and sides and under surface of 
neck and trunk salmon coloured. Fifty-seven very obscure darker olive, 
almost black bars on the dorsal area of the neck and compressed portion, 
but not extending on to the light coloured sides. The tail greenish 
olive, mottled, and tipped with black. 

" Length, 38" 3'", of which the tail constitutes 2" 8'". Girth round 
neck, two inches behind head, 2" b'". Greatest depth of body, five 
inches before the tail, I" 8'". Greatest thickness at that point, 0" 3'". 
Thickness at ventral margin at the same situation, 0" 2'". Snout to 
occiput, 0" IV". Breadth across angle of mouth, 0" 7'". Locality — 
Pooree, Cuttack." 



Hydrophis Curta. 

" Head short, thick, obtuse ; anterior part of the body stout ; body 
not elongate. The occipital shields are always divided into two or more 
pieces, or entii'ely broken up into small shields. Two pairs of chin- 
shields, separated in the middle by angular scales. Only one post- 
ocular. Thirty to thirty-four series of scales round the neck ; 209-252 
scales in a lateral series between the angle of the mouth and the vent. 
Ventral shields nearly twice as broad as the scales of the adjoining 
series, 15 6-1 GO in number. Four smaU prse-anal shields. Fifty to 
fifty-three black bands across the back ; they are broadest in the 
middle, nearly touching each other, and tapering on the sides ; the 
yellowish ground-colour between them does not occupy more space than 
the bands. Generally the bands do not extend downwards to the belly, 
but sometimes they are continued as faint traces to the ventral shields, 
which are white, or, in the specimens with larger cross-bands, blackish. 
k. more or less distinct yellowish streak on the temple. Tail black, 
with only two yellow transverse spots at its root." 


J r. ^^ ^< ^^ 
n a ^ ^ 

C -N 

3 < 

3 q: *^ 



HYDROPHIS NIGRA (N.S.), Anderson. 

'' Neck but moderately slender, less than two- thirds the length of 
the body. Head broader than neck, long, with nearly straight sides, 
the prae-orbital equalling the temporal breadth. Snout moderately 
long, broad, rounded, and rather spatulate. Rostral much broader than 
high, its posterior extremity being on a line with the rostro-labial 
suture ; feebly notched on its inferior margin. Nasals broader poste- 
riorly than they are long. The third labial not in contact with the 
nasal, and it is almost excluded from the orbit by the fourth labial and 
prse-ocular. One post-ocular. The fifth and sixth labials transversely 
divided. Two temporals, of which the anterior is the larger. Two 
pairs of chin-shields, the anterior in contact, the shields of the posterior 
pair separated by an azygos scale. Thirty-two rows of scales round the 
body, shghtly imbricate and smooth. Ventrals, forty-eight ; the first 
twenty-five or so six times as large as the adjoining scales, which are 
rather small ; the remainder diminish in size, but nearly all are distinct 
and undivided. Three pairs of anal-shields, of which the outer are the 

" Uniform intense black, without any trace of markings. Length, 
19", of which the tail is 2". Length of snout to occiput, 0" 7'". 
Breadth across the angle of the mouth, 0" 4'". Breadth before the 
eyes, 0" 4'". Breadth on a line with nasal suture, 0" 3'". Snout to 
eye, 0" 3'". Eye to angle of mouth, two and a half lines. Angle of 
jaw to tip of snout, 0" 8'". Locality — Pooree, Cuttack." 

Hydrophis Nigrocincta. 

" Head small ; neck slender, its length being about one-fourth of the 
total ; body moderately elongate. Bostral shield rather broader than 
long ; only the fourth upper labial forms the lower part of the orbit ; 


two post-oculars ; three temporal shields on the side of each occipital. 
Two pairs of chin-shields, the anterior of which are in contact with each 
other. Twenty-seven to twenty-nine series of scales round the neck. 
Scales imbricate, rhombic, keeled ; those on the highest side of the body 
as broad as long. Ventrals distinct, not quite twice as broad as the 
scales of the adjoining series ; smooth ; 320-331 m number. Four large 
anal-shields. The tail terminates in a large scale. The trunk is 
encircled by 43(53-)-61 complete rings of black colour. The width of 
these rings is equal on the sides and on the belly ; on the veitebral 
line only they are a little broader ; they are narrower than the inter- 
spaces, which occupy from four to five transverse series of scales, whilst 
a black ring occupies only three. The interspaces are greenish-olive on 
the back, yellowish on the sides and on the belly. The crown of the 
head and the upper lip are blackish, a yellow band running along the 
whole upper margin of the head ; lower jaw whitish. Tail with from 
nine to eleven black cross-bars." 


" Head very small, twice as long as broad ; neck very slender, its 
length being more than one- third of total. Rostral shield small, broader 
than long ; one post-ocular ; the third upper labial is not in contact with 
the nasal. Two pairs of chin-shields, which are in contact with each 
other. Nineteen to twenty-three series of scales round the neck. 
Scales imbricate, those on the highest part of the body higher than long, 
those on the sides with a small tubercle, those on the back with a keel. 
Ventral shields very distinct, nearly twice as large as the scales of the 
adjoining series, 321-337 in number, each with two small tubercles. 
Four anal shields, the outer of which are rather larger than the others. 
Trunk with from fifty-three to fifty-nine complete blackish rings, which 
are broader than the interspaces of the yellowish- olive ground-colour. 
Head and ventral side of the thin neck-like portion of the body black ; 
the former with a yellow horseshoe-shaped mark across the frontals and 
nasals, and extending backwards over the superciliary edge to the temple. 
Tail with ten or eleven blackish cross-bars." 


" Head very small, of moderate width ; neck very slender, the length 
of the thin part of the body being more than one-third of the total. 
Rostral shield very small, much broader than long ; one post-ocular ; the 
third upper labial is not in contact with the nasal. Two pairs of chin- 
shields, in contact with each other. Thirty-one to thirty-three series 
of scales round the neck ; scales on the back with a faint keel, and with 
a small tubercle near the apex. Ventral shields distinct, especially on 
the thin portion of the body, but not much larger than the scales of the 
adjoining series, 473-500 in number. Four anal shields, the outer of 
which are very large. Trunk greenish-olive above, yellowish on the 
side and below, from fifty-nine to sixty-seven rhombic blackish bands 
across the back, which are much narrower and fainter on the sides, and 
extend round the belly ; their angles on the vertebral line are some- 
times confluent, especially on the anterior part of the body, where 
the yellowish ground-colour between the cross-bands is sometimes 
reduced to round spots disposed in pairs. Head and anterior part of 
the belly entirely black. Young specimens have the markings of a 
deep black," 


" Head narrow, not quite twice as long as broad ; body slender, 
especially in its anterior portion. Two pairs of chin-shields, both of 
which are in contact with each other. Only one anterior temporal, 
which is as high as long. One post-ocular. Thirty-four series of scales 
round the neck. Ventral shields distinct, but only the anterior are 
twice as broad as the scales of the adjoining series ; they are 398 in 
number. Six small prae-anal shields. Scales smooth in young specimens. 
Body with fifty-five blackish rings, not quite as broad as the yellowish 
ground-colour between them ; they are rather broader and darker on 
the back than on the belly, and sometimes sub -interrupted in the 
vertebral and ventral line. Head yellow above^ with irregular blackish 
confluent spots ; whitish below. Tail with eleven blackish vertebral 

^ ''^ 








> ^ 

- .< 
~;oo — • 


cc — -" =: 

DC cc s 


CD -3 ZO 

o z: CO Q_ 

Si '^^ 

I ' - • 



The arrangement of the teeth and the presence or absence of fangs 
are of cardinal importance. Every poisonous Snake is provided with 
fangs, while, with one exception — and there may be others — that of 
Psamrnodynastes fulverulentus, innocent Snakes are free from such 
weapons. The manner in which the efficient and supplementary fangs 
are attached to the jawbone is well shown m A, B, C, whilst D demon- 
strates the mode in which the recurved teeth of an innocent Snake 
are fixed. The relations of the poison fangs and ordinary teeth are 
still further illustrated in the skeleton heads of the Russell's Yiper 
{Dahoia Russellii), Bungarus fasciatus, figured in Plate 20, and of the 
Cobra {Naja tripudians), in Plate 21, contrasted with the dentition 
displaying the simple fish-like teeth of the non-poisonous Dhamin 
[Ptyas niucosus) in Plate 21. The fangs are separately figured in A, B, C. 
These are either channelled into a tubular canal, as in the Daboia and 
Cobra, or only grooved as in the Hydrophis. It is through this tubular 
or grooved fang that the poison is injected from the poison-gland into 
the tissues of an effectively bitten animal or man. 













































-. s i ^ C^ 
:^f?; 6 X df 




•< OQ P^ '-' (=! '•'^'•^ 


The arrangement of the shields on the head of a Snake is useful for 
the purpose of classification and recognition. Typical examples of the 
various kinds of shields are illustrated in the accompanying diagrams. 
An explanation of the technical terms used will be found in the Glossary 
at the end of the work. 



Anal. Pertaining to, or situated near, the anus, or outlet. 

Anterior or prce-frontal. Belonging to the forehead, or forepart. 

Anterior or proe-ocular. Front portion of the region of the eye. 

Azygos. Single. 

Bifid. Two-cleft. 

Carinated. Keel-formed. 

Chin-shields. Chin coverings or protectors. 

Concave. Hollow and curved, or rounded. 

Coloration. The condition of colouring. 

Confluent. Running one into another. 

Contiguous. Touching. In actual or close contact. 

Declivous. Gradually descending, sloping. 

Diurnal. Relating to the day-time. 

Dorsal. Pertaining to the back. • 

Elongate. Lengthened or stretched out. 

Foetus. Perfectly formed young in womb or ^^^g. 

Foramen. A small opening. 

Genus. An assemblage of species possessing certain characters in common, 

by which they are distinguished from all others. 
Hexagonal. Having six sides and six angles. 
Hood. The dilatable portion of the neck of a poisonous Snake. 
Lubricate. Lying over each other, like the tiles or shingles on a roof. 
Iridescence. Exhibition of colours like those of the rainbow. 
Linguate. Tongue-shaped. 
Lohuliform. Having small lobed divisions. 
Loreal. Space between the bill or beak and the eye. 
Lower labials. ^^Qlonging to the lower lip, 
Maxillary. Relating to the jaw. 


Mental. Relating to the cliiii. 

Muzzle. The projecting mouth and nose of an animal. 

Nasal. Pertaining to the nose. 

Nocturnal. Pertaining to, done, or occurring at night. 

Obovate. Oval, with one end broader than the other. 

Occipital. Pertaining to the back part of the head. 

Ocellus. Spot having a resemblance to an eye. 

Orbit. The cavity in which the eye is situated. 

Orbital Belonging to the cavity of the eye. 

Ovate. Egg-shaped. 

Oviparous. Developing young in eggs which are afterwards separated 

from the parent, and which are usually hatched after exclusion 

from the body. 
Posterior or post-frontal. Belonging to back part of the forehead. 
Posterior or iwst-ocular. Back part of the region of the eye. 
Prehensile. Adapted to seize or grasp. 
Recurved. Bent, or curved backward or downward. 
Rostral. Pertaining to the beak. 
Sinuous. Winding, crooked, undulating. 
Spatulate. Shaped like a spatula or battledore. 
Sub-caudal. Situated beneath the tail. 
Supra- ciliary. Situated above the eyebrow. 
Temporals. Pertaining to the temples of the head. 
Terrestrial. Pertaininof to the earth. 
Trigonal. Having three angles or corners. 
Truncated. Cut ofip; cut short ; maimed. 
Tubercular. Having small knobs or tubercles. 
Upper labials. Belonging to the upper lip. 
Variegated. Marked with different colours. 
Vent. A small opening ; the anus. 
Ventral. Belonging to the belly. 

Vertebral. Pertaining to joints of the spine, or backbone. 
Vertical. Situated at the highest point, or just over the liead. 
Zigzag. Having short and sharp turns. 





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