A rare Indian snake species - Red Coral Kukri- has been sighted in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri after a gap of 82 years, park officials said today.
The snake was sighted on Monday night. The reptile was first sighted in Dudhwa in 1936 and even its zoological name "oligodon Kheriensis" finds its roots in its Kheri-specific location.
"It is after almost 82 years that this species has been rediscovered in Dudhwa forests," said Field Director, DTR, Ramesh Kumar Pandey.
Mr Pandey told PTI that "on Monday night, a team was patrolling in south Sonaripur range forests when about a one metre long snake clinging to railway track near Sonaripur Railway Station was sighted."
"Its bright orange colour attracted the attention of the team as this type of snake was never before sighted here," he said, adding, "Out of curiosity, he photographed the snake and recorded it."
Mr Pandey said during a study it was found to be Red Coral Kukri snake.
During his stint at Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in 2004, Mr Pandey had rediscovered another snake species known as Branded Krait.
Mahavir Kaujlagi, deputy director, DTR said, "Red Coral Kukri snake's presence in Dudhwa is enthusing though it was sighted in Katarniaghat forests seven years ago."
"However in Dudhwa, its presence has been registered after 82 years," he added.
According to experts, Red Coral Kukri is a nocturnal non-venomous reptile feeding on insects and worms. It is known as red coral kukri owing to its red orange colour and its teeth shaped as Nepali "khukri" to break eggs.
The species has been sighted in Terai forests of Kheri and Nepal.