Cherrapunji Keelback : Amphiesma xenura

Snakes of World

The Cherrapunji Keelback, also known as Amphiesma xenura, is a non-venomous species of snake. It does not produce any venom and is not considered to be dangerous to humans. The Cherrapunji Keelback is a relatively small species of snake, with an average length of around 35-45 cm (14-18 inches). It has a slender, cylindrical body shape and a flattened head. The eyes are large and round, with round pupils. The neck region is slightly thinner than the rest of the body, with a clear demarcation.


The scales of the Cherrapunji Keelback are keeled, which means that they have a raised ridge down the center. The dorsal scales are arranged in 19 rows, and there are 135-145 ventral scales and 40-50 subcaudal scales. The anal scale is single, and there are 8-9 supralabials and 10-11 infralabials.

The Cherrapunji Keelback, Amphiesma modestum, has the following scalation:

  • Dorsal scales: 17 rows at mid-body, keeled
  • Ventral scales: Smooth and undivided
  • Anal scale: Single
  • Subcaudal scales: Divided

The scales of Amphiesma modestum are keeled, which gives them a distinct texture.


The Cherrapunji Keelback has a distinctive appearance, with a dark brown or black color on its back and sides, and lighter color on its belly. There are two thin yellow stripes on either side of the head that extend from the eyes to the neck. The scales are keeled, giving the snake a rough texture.

Natural History:

The Cherrapunji Keelback is primarily active at night and feeds on small prey such as frogs, lizards, and small rodents. It is known for its semi-aquatic nature and is often found in or near water sources.


The Cherrapunji Keelback is found in a variety of habitats throughout Southeast Asia, including tropical rainforests, lowland forests, and agricultural areas. It is most commonly found near water sources, such as ponds, streams, and marshes.


The Cherrapunji Keelback is a shy and non-aggressive species of snake. It will usually try to escape when confronted but may become defensive and try to bite if it feels threatened. This species is often seen swimming in water sources or basking in the sun on rocks or logs.


Little is known about the reproductive biology of the Cherrapunji Keelback, but it is believed to be oviparous, laying eggs rather than giving birth to live young.

Location and Conservation:

The Cherrapunji Keelback is found in parts of Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. It is not considered to be under threat and is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Cherrapunji Keelback is a unique and interesting species found in Southeast Asia. Its distinctive appearance and behavior make it a fascinating creature to study, and its non-venomous nature makes it a valuable part of the local ecosystem. The protection of its habitat is crucial for the conservation of this species and the maintenance of biodiversity in the region.

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