SPECIES: Bungarus candidus
IUCN REDLIST: LEAST CONCERN
The Malayan krait enjoys flat moist subtropical/tropical lowland forest habitat with a close proximity to water, rice fields and rice dams. It is common to find them on elevations between 250m-300m above sea level yet they are rarely found higher than 1,200 m above sea level.
The Malayan krait can grow to a total length of 108cm. As with many snakes the male and female colours are the same. They have regular banding from the head to the tail in dark-brown, black, or bluish-black alternating with white. The snake is front fanged which can allow the snake to inject its prey with venom then release to avoid injury or deliver another bite.
The solitary Malayan Krait is shy during daylight hour and will often seek refuge if startled. However, at night time the snake is more aggressive and it is thought most of the snakes hunting occurs in these nocturnal hours too. They feed on other snakes normally. But will also eat lizards, mice, frogs and other small animals.
To find a nest for reproduction, the Malayan krait usually invades and takes over rat holes in the ground. During the mating season the males engage in ritual fighting. Eggs are laid in Thailand in the months of March and April. Females lay 4-10 eggs and hatch in the Summer months of June-July in Thailand. Offspring are from 0.3m long when they hatch and once the eggs are hatched the hatchlings are left by the mother to fend for themselves. There is no involvement of the father.
ECOSYSTEM ROLE & HUMAN BENEFITS
It’s diet of other snakes which are usually highly venomous helps to regulate their population and reduces the risk of human interaction with other venomous snakes. The Malayan krait is used in traditional medicines and scientific research and is also hunted to be used for clothing and accessories as well as jewelry.
Habitat destruction is the main cause for population decline as they are forced to move out into human inhabited areas usually resulting in their death because of their venom being so toxic. This species is protected by law in Viet Nam from March 2006, which limits but does not prohibit commercial trade in this snake. Further research is needed to determine both whether harvesting pressures are impacting this snake throughout its range and whether local levels of exploitation, e.g. in Viet Nam, are sustainable.
The juveniles are so similarly colored to other juvenile kraits, for example the common krait, that it is extremely hard to tell the difference until the snake becomes more mature.
This data set was written by Luke Anning of Bournemouth University, England and edited by Stephanie Young**
***Identification of these species has been made through, photographic documentation cross referenced with external specialists and identification books. Any errors in our database will be rectified upon notification, if you feel that we have misidentified any species please help us to improve our research through our contact us page. All people involved will be acknowledge in the website and reports***
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