Palestine Kukri Snake

Rhynchocalamus melanocephalus

الثعبان الاسود الرأس الفلسطيني

Status: Common

The Palestine Kukri Snake belongs to the Colubridae family in the Ophidia (snakes) sub-order of the order Squamata (scaled reptiles). It is one of more than one dozen non- venomous snake species present in Palestine, reaching a maximum total length (body + tail) of 50 cm. The Palestine Kukri Snake appears to have aposematic coloration – that is, what is known in laymen's terms as warning colors. There is variation in the body color among individuals of this species – bright orange (the most common color), light orange, yellow or olive; but the head and neck are always bright black. This is in spite of the fact that the Palestine Kukri Snake seemingly does not possess potent venom. It is active mostly during dusk and at night time, but occasionally is seen during daytime. Usually it is found under rocks or hidden in rock crevices. The diet of the Palestine Kukri Snake consists of small invertebrates, including venomous arthropods such as: scorpions, centipedes and spiders; also most probably lizards. Thus, they should be considered beneficial to man. Despite its flamboyant "warning colors", the Palestine Kukri Snake is completely harmless to humans. The Palestine Kukri Snake inhabits parts of the Middle East.

Conservation status – least concern (LC).

In Palestine – Common in most Mediterranean and semi-arid ("semi-desert") habitats.

Sites: Umm at-Tut, Beitillu, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves