Taiwan Kukri Snake – Oligodon formosanus
The genus Oligodon belongs to the kukri snakes. The common name “kukri” is in reference to the rear teeth, which are shaped like a kukri knife (the knives of the Gurkha soldiers). The Taiwan kukri snake, a very widespread species (unlike the name suggests), preys primarily on reptile eggs. They have an upturned snout very similar to the oophagus genus Cemophora in the US which also preys primarily on reptile eggs. Taiwan kurki snakes will also take lizards and other animals. Unlike most egg eating species of snakes, the kukri snake does not need to swallow the entire egg. If the egg is too large the animal will saw or slice through the shell with their enlarged, kukri shaped teeth and lap up the contents of the egg. Though non-venomous, due to the size of the enlarged teeth, a small kukri snake can make an impressive bite (for its size). Often they simply slice the skin open, as opposed to small punctures like most snakes. Because of this reason, care should be given when handling them.
Photo and Account by Kevin Messenger.
Conservation Through Education