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Asia Hong Kong Species Fact File

Banded Krait – Hong Kong Wildlife | 金環蛇 – 香港野生動物

Strangely, this is a “tame” kind of deadly snake.

This kind of black-and-yellow rarely bites, but if it does it’s gonna kill.

The Banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) is a large, venomous snake growing to anywhere from 100 up to 210 cm (3’3″ to 6’11”). It is larger but less venomous than its cousin, the Many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus). But who cares? Bites are still toxic enough to kill humans!

Distribution
In Hong Kong, it’s distributed in some particular parts of the New Territories, Hong Kong Island, and Lantau. Outside Hong Kong, it’s widely distributed from India to southern China, and from Malay Peninsula to Indonesia.

Habitat
It prefers living in lowlands with much vegetation and water like shrublands, cultivated fields, and marshes. Uncommon in drier grasslands and woodlands.

Behavior
Just like other kraits, it is strictly nocturnal. The ones I found during the day were all very timid and didn’t try to bite. But at night they will become highly alert.

Diet
Kraits are ophiophagous, preying primarily upon other snakes (including venomous and harmless snakes) and can be cannibalistic, feeding on their own kind. Banded kraits in Hong Kong mainly feed on rat snakes (Ptyas sp). I have also seen few of them eating frogs and lizards.

Reproduction
Oviparous. 6-14 eggs per clutch.

Venom
The Banded krait rarely attack. But when it does defensively its bites can be deadly to humans. The venom mainly contains neurotoxins with LD50 values of 2.4 – 3.6 mg/kg. Clinical effects include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and dizziness. Severe envenomation can lead to respiratory failure and death may occur due to suffocation.

Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider, 1801)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Bungarus
Species: fasciatus

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

金腳帶, 金環蛇, 金甲帶, 黃金甲, 鐵包金, 金蛇, 金甲帶、金包鐵、金腳帶、花扇柄(客家話)、雨傘柄(潮州話), 佛蛇