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Climbing Behavior in the Checkered Keelback or Asiatic Water Snake Xenochrophis piscator (Schneider, 1799) (Colubridae: Natricinae) in the Western Ghats, India

Pushkar Umesh Phansalkar, Gaurang Girish Gowande


One of the commonest aquatic snakes of India, the Checkered Keelback, Xenochrophis piscator, typically inhabits freshwater bodies and feeds on aquatic prey such as the fishes and frogs. Here, we report an unusual climbing behavior of the species from a semi-evergreen forest in the northern Western Ghats in India. An adult individual was observed climbing an Ironwood Tree (Memecylon umbellatum) which harbored a clutch of Malabar Gliding Frog Rhacophorus malabaricus eggs. Known primarily for its swimming abilities and moving comfortably over land, this is the first report of it climbing trees to feed on hitherto unreported prey item and thus, it warrants a short note.


Amboli; aquatic; arboreal; eggs; India; Rhacophorus

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