Creeping Wealth: Pride of Gujarat in the Reptile World | Ahmedabad News

While many bird watchers may flock to sites such as Nalsarovar, Thol or Narayan Sarovar to spot migrating birds, Neelimkumar Khaire, founder of Pune Snake Park – one of India’s oldest snake parks – and former director of Rajiv Gandhi Zoological in Pune Park, visits the state to spot “beauties” such as Slender Coral Snake or Indian Smooth Snake. Khaire recently wrote the first Gujarat Reptile Field Guide which was launched by Gujarat CM.

Speaking to TOI, Khaire said that the state, due to its diverse landscapes ranging from dense forests to thick forests and hills to plains, has a rich biodiversity of reptiles. “I spent about two years and maybe walked over 20,000 km from Kutch to Dang with the help of nature lovers and local experts to compile the information. Some snakes, for example, generally go unreported in the area, ”Khaire said. “But awareness is the key to conservation. Kutch in particular is very rich and a treat for people like me.

Rishit Shroff, architect and snake rescuer from Ahmedabad, said people often mistake skinks for “legged snakes.” “Fear is a factor that causes people to kill snakes. Not all of them are poisonous, and they only attack when provoked. Good information, especially in developing areas where snakes are often reported, can reduce fear. Khaire documented nine types of turtles / turtles, 37 agama / lizard / gecko / skink, pythons, crocodiles, and 46 other snakes and crocodiles in the state.

PENINSULAR ROCK AGAMA | Found in parts of central Gujarat
Usually brown with dark markings on the body, males turn bright red during mating season. They are mainly found on rocks and rocky outcrops. They are diurnal (active during the day) and feed on lizards and small rodents.
SEA TURTLE IN FAUROCHE | Found throughout coastal Gujarat
One of the smallest sea turtles in the world, they weigh up to 35-45 kg. The carapace (upper surface of the shell) is olive in color and its fins have two claws. Males never visit the shore, while mature females visit the shore once or twice to lay their eggs.
HARDWICK SPINY TAIL LIZARD | Found in some areas of Saurashtra-Kutch
Growing up to 50 cm in length, lizards are distinguished by their segmented spiny tail and grainy scales. The terrestrial agamid is only visible in arid landscapes. They live in colonies dug in burrows and are herbivores.
GECKO DE KUTCH AND GECKO DE GUJARAT | Found in Kutch and Girnar respectively
Named specifically after the region, the Kutch gecko grows up to 10cm and has a slender body with distinct cone-shaped tubercles (small rounded bone tips). They feed on insects. The Gujarat gecko, on the other hand, can be identified with a head slightly larger than the neck and a tail almost as long as the body. They can be seen on boulders mainly during summers.
GECKO LÉOPARD DES ANTILLES | Found in the arid regions of Saurashtra-Kutch
One of the largest geckos measuring 25cm, it has plump, movable eyelids. Named because of its pattern, geckos have tails that are slightly shorter than their bodies. Nocturnal and living on the ground, they feed on insects, scorpions and small vertebrates.
THE SNAKE ON SMALL SCALES KUTCH | Found in Saurashtra-Kutch
These lizards are found in open and arid habitats. They have two side bands running from eye to tail and snout to tail. The limbs end in large claws.
YELLOW SPOTTED WOLF SNAKE | Found in Bhavnagar, Vadodara and Surat
The non-poisonous snake can grow to 2 feet. Rarely seen, little is known about its natural history. Black with bands made up of yellow spots, he has completely black eyes. If disturbed, it can curl up and hide its head in the spool.
INDIAN ORNATE FLYING SNAKE | Found in Dang
The semi-venomous snake has smooth scales except for the upper scales which are slightly keeled. Inhabiting trees, snakes can flatten their bodies and launch themselves into the air to travel from branch to branch. It can climb trees faster than any other snake.
MINOR SNAKE EYE SKINK | Found in the arid region of Saurashtra-Kutch
They have a tail that is longer than the body and are up to 15 cm long. A dark brown band runs from the tip of the muzzle to the hind limbs. The scales on the dorsal surface are large, smooth and symmetrical.
INDIAN SNAKE RAT | Found throughout Gujarat
The non-poisonous snake can grow up to 11 feet. Long-bodied and smooth-scaled, the snake is common in farmland where it feeds on rats, toads, lizards, and even small birds. He can climb trees and swim. One of the fastest snakes in India, it swells its neck and hisses if disturbed.
BRILLIANT EARTH AGAMA | Found in northern Gujarat, Saurashtra-Kutch
Normally brown with markings on their bodies, males turn blue with yellow tails during mating season. The terrestrial agamid is only observed in arid landscapes and is mainly insectivorous.
BOA DES SABLES COMMON | Found throughout Gujarat
Grows up to 94 cm, it is a non-poisonous snake with keeled scales and a short, sharp pointed tail. They have small eyes with vertical pupils and nostrils set high on the head. They dig in the ground. They are active from dawn to dusk. If disturbed, initially flattens the body and hides the head under the coil.
COMMON VINE SNAKE | Found in southern and central Gujarat
Bright green and slender, the semi-venomous snake can grow up to 6.5 feet. Also known as the green whip snake, it has smooth scales and large yellow eyes. Mainly arboreal (living on trees), it can descend to the ground to hunt. If disturbed, may enlarge the upper body to display a black and white pattern under the scales.
SOFT STAINED SKIN | Found throughout Gujarat
Sometimes confused with the “legged snake,” skinks are closer to lizards than snakes. The distance between the front and hind legs is about 2-3 times that of the distance between the head and the front legs. The scale has prominent black spots and yellow stripes on both sides of the body. A burrowing species, it is often found near human habitat and feeds on insects.
RUSSELL VIPER | Found throughout Gujarat except Kutch
The large, poisonous snake is identified by its distinct dark brown or oval markings with white borders. It is found around anthills, ratholes, fields and meadows. Avoid humidity. They make a loud hissing sound when disturbed. Their venom is very dangerous and they can spray it up to 2 feet.
GREEN KEELBACK | Found in southern, central and northern Gujarat
Stocky green body with keeled scales, adults sometimes have black markings. The blue-black bands on the young disappear with age. Found in grasslands and thick forests, they are sometimes also spotted in cities. They feed on toads, frogs and lizards. When disturbed, it can rear its head like a cobra.
SNAKE CAT OF BEDDOME | Found in Dang
The semi-venomous snake has a large head and golden cat-like eyes with vertical black pupils. Ash brown in color with dark brown or black markings and dark brown stripes behind the eyes. They are nocturnal and are found on trees and bushes. Feeds mainly on lizards, small birds, mice and geckos. Vigorously vibrates the tip of its tail when disturbed.
GLASSES COBRA | Found throughout Gujarat
The most famous among snakes, the cobra has the distinct hood that it extends when disturbed. Venomous, the cobra can spit its venom up to 60 cm. It prefers to live near water and feeds on frogs, mice and even small snakes.
Cobras are territorial and spend their life in their territories.

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