Bungarus family - Venonous Asian snake

The krait is a highly poisonous snake found throughout Southeast Asian and the Indian subcontinent. Although Bungarus caeruleus is the most common, there are many other species, including the banded krait and sea krait. Although nocturnal, they occasionally hunt by day during the rainy season, and live mainly on small mammals, amphibians and lizards, although, as with any snake, they will attack larger creatures (including Man) if provoked. Some do turn cannibal, feeding on other snakes, including fellow kraits.

Reaching around six feet (2 metres) in length, kraits vary enormously across the various species. The common krait is mid-grey with narrow pale or white bands, the banded krait having black and yellow bands running across its body. All kraits bear hexagonal scales down their backs.

Living mainly in open areas, kraits typically produce clutches of six to twelve eggs, which are incubated underground or in warm crevices. Although incubated by the mother, the young are independent from birth, and usually move away into other areas fairly quickly. They will live on insects and worms until they grow large enough for bigger prey.

The poison of the krait is extremely toxic, affecting the nervous system and acting very quickly. Said to be 16 times more toxic than cobra venom, good first aid treatment is essential if the victim is to survive. Survival rates of bite victims without antivenom are as low as 20%, rising to about 60% with antivenom.

First Aid

Isolate the victim from the snake/s and arrange for immediate transportation to medical facilities, if possible ensuring that medical staff have the antivenom ready. The victim should move as little as possible and remain calm. If possible, allow the affected area to be low, below heart level. Wrap a crepe bandage around the wound, and bind tightly. Do not attempt to cut the wound site or apply ice. On arrival at the hospital or clinic, staff will administer the antivenom and complete treatment.

'Karait', of the Rikki-Tikki-Tavi story was most likely a common krait.

This material transferred from Karait at the suggestion of yerricde

Krait (?), n. [Native name.] Zool.

A very venomous snake of India (Bungarus ceruleus), allied to the cobra. Its upper parts are bluish or brownish black, often with narrow white streaks; the belly is whitish.


© Webster 1913.

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