Don’t judge a snake by its colour


  • It’s not easy being a snake in the wild. With dozens of predators, death lurks in every nook. So they must resort to some weird tricks in order to survive. Now, a report in Herpetology Notes describes how an Indian coral snake resorts to mimicry to fool its predators. The tropical snake Calliophis bibroni is a venomous species endemic to the Western Ghats.
  • In its infant stage, the snake develops a bright red colouration with black stripes, similar to another venomous snake, Sinomicrurus macclellandi.
  • Other snakes, too, exhibit this type of mimicry, with two or more species sharing the same danger signals.
  • Another common type of mimicry is Batesian Mimicry, wherein non-venomous snakes copy the patterns of venomous snakes to fool the predator.
  • The wolf snake, a non-venomous snake, has white stripes on its body resembling the venomous krait.
  • Oligodon snakes or kukri snakes are non-venomous snakes of South Asia. They are capable of twisting their tail and displaying their bright ventral side to distract the predator and save their head. Display of bright colours, or aposematism, is seen in many other species, including frogs and lizards. Some lizards have bright, coloured tails to signal that they are poisonous.



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