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Sun 08 Jul 2007

The Banded Krait that graced the launch of the Chek Jawa boardwalk

Category : marine

07 Jul 2007 - A Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus) made a rare at the new mangrove boardwalk of Chek Jawa during the launch of the Chek Jawa Wetlands. Nature photographers must have taken a dozen shots at least of this rare appearance.

Initially resting under the boardwalk (as Vilma D'Rozario enthusiastically told us), it eventually slid across the mud and was crawling through the holes of a mud lobster mound by the time my group of Airani S., Zeehan Jaafar and Leo Tan reach the sweet spot. All of us who could whipped out a camera to join the heavy duty SLRs in action, and though the snake was no longer that close, I could still make out the triangular cross-section of the body and the incomplete rings, hence its common name "banded", not "ringed".

Well, on the boardwalk earlier that morning was Walter Lim, one of my Yesterday.sg kakis and biology alumni. It was a trip back to his biology roots and he was elated enough to take photos and blog about it early this morning, surprising me with his account of a "Charming Chek Jawa," on his Cooler Insights blog.

And amongst his photos was a lovely shot of the Banded Krait!

Loh Kok Sheng, who had penned a blog post earlier also took a lovely complimentary photo which he posted up. Thanks to these bloggers for getting their photos up so quickly and sharing them!

Nick Baker in Ecology Asia says:

"Sightings of this elusive Elapid are rare. Though it is highly venomous it does not have an aggressive temperament by day. At nights it is more active and potentially more dangerous. The species occurs in a variety of habitats including forests, agricultural and coastal areas. It is often encountered close to water bodies.  It feeds on other vertebrates including rodents, lizards and other snakes.

The Banded Krait is easily identified by the alternating black and yellow bands, which are of equal thickness and extend onto the ventral surface. The body is triangular in cross-section. It ranges from the Indian Subcontinent through Burma, Thailand, Indochina and southern China to Malaysia and the main Indonesian islands of Borneo, Java and Sumatra. In Singapore the species is  widespread but rare."

Mr Mah Bow Tan, the Minister of National Development, has pretty good luck during his launches. In 1999, he opened the Lower Peirce boardwalk and during his tour, he and his guides saw a Malayan Colugo! I remember that The Straits Times photographer had followed them and was alert enough to catch the photo of them looking on in wonder as it glided across!

More photos from the Chek Jawa launch on Flickr (tag: cj070707).

Posted at 12:47AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news