Nilgiri burrowing snake

Plectrurus perrotetii

TAXONOMY

Plectrurus perrotetii Dumeril, 1851, Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu State, southwestern India. No subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Moderate to large uropeltids, reaching a length of 17.3 in (44 cm), either uniformly brown or purplish above and yellowish or paler brown below, or with paler spots in the center of every scale. Head slightly compressed dorsoventrally, tail compressed laterally. Tail tip formed by a laterally compressed, cup-shaped single scale with two larger spines one above the other and smaller spines on the lateral surfaces. The body is cylindrical, with ventrals about one and one-half times the width of the dorsal scales. Like species of Platyplectrurus and Teretrurus, Plectrurus perrotetii has supraocular scales separating the ocular shield from the frontal.

DISTRIBUTION

Nilgiri and Anamalai Hills at high elevations.

I Plectrurus perrotetii I Uropeltis phipsonii

HABITAT

Most specimens have come from cultivated areas or gardens. Common in heavily manured soils at depths of 4-6 in (10-15 cm).

BEHAVIOR

Rajendran reports that P. perrotetii will move out of their burrows into heaps of dung left on the soil by farmers, particularly when air temperatures fall.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This species feeds primarily on worms.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Viviparous, producing three to six young born in July or August.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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