Checkered Keelback (Fowlea piscator)

Checkered Keelback (Fowlea piscator)
Checkered Keelback (Fowlea piscator)


The Checkered Keelback is a common water snake species that is found almost although out Sri Lanka.                                                                                                            The name Checkered Keelback comes from the checkered pattern on its body and unlike other snakes, they have keels on their Costal scales. Costals are the scales that snakes have dorsally covered up their body these keels which helps them to swim easily in fast-flowing waterways. These snakes are well adapted for an aquatic lifestyle even their nostrils are placed high up their snout directed upwards in order to breathe while submerged underwater.

Identification and Colouration: even though they have a checkered pattern on their body in some specimens this pattern fades away. they can be identified with two narrow black lines that they have on the side of its head running down from their eye towards the gape of their mouth. Dorsally they can have a dull green or olive-brown colour with a white or red streak hidden between their scales.

Global Distribution and Habitats: Checkered keelbacks are also widely distributed in India, Andaman Islands, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Taiwan. They can be seen in ponds, streams, flooded paddy fields, marshes, and other wetland habitats.

Diet: Primarily feeding on fish and frogs are known to occasionally feed on tadpoles

Size: Growing to an average of 2.5ft -3ft but there are records of specimens over 4ft which are rare

Behaviours: Active both during day and night. they are known to wait in places where people feed fish in order to score easily meal. when treated they can erect it’s fore-part of the body and flattens itself to resemble a Cobra to ward off predators

Threats:  Being killed by humans’ roadkill, Habitat destruction.



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