Oligodon is genus of colubrid snakes that was first described by the Austrian zoologist Fitzinger in 1826.[1] This genus is widespread throughout central and tropical Asia.[3]

Western kukri snake Oligodon affinis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Oligodon
Fitzinger, 1826[1]

76 known species[2]


Oligodon are also known as kukri snakes. They are egg eaters and are usually under 90 cm (35 in) in length; different species display widely variable patterns and colorations. They subsist mostly by scavenging the eggs of birds and reptiles. Besides eggs, species of this genus also feeds on lizards, frogs, and small rodents. Oligodon is a rear-fanged snake genus. They have a set of enlarged teeth placed in the back of their mouths, as well as functional Duvernoy's glands. They are not dangerous to humans, though. Bites by some species have been reported to bleed excessively, suggesting presence of anticoagulants in the Duvernoy's gland secretions.[4] Species of Oligodon are mostly nocturnal, and live on the floor of mature forests.

The common name of the genus comes from the kukri, a distinctively shaped Nepalese knife, which is similar in shape to the broad, flattened, curved hind teeth of Oligodon species. These teeth are specially adapted for their main diet of eggs; the teeth slit open eggs as they are being swallowed by the snake, allowing for easier digestion.


There are 76 recognized species in the genus Oligodon according to Reptile Database as of August 2017[2]

The source column gives direct links to the sources used:

EX - Extinct, EW - Extinct in the Wild
CR - Critically Endangered, EN - Endangered, VU - Vulnerable
NT - Near Threatened, LC - Least Concern
DD - Data Deficient, NE - Not Evaluated

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Oligodon.

Common nameSpeciesAuthorityGeographic rangeConservation statusSource
Western kukri snake, Malabar brown kukri snakeO. affinisGünther, 1862India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu)LCIUCN RDB
Light-barred kukri snakeO. albocinctus(Cantor, 1839)[5]Nepal, Bangladesh, India (Assam, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh), Burma, Vietnam, China (Tibet, Yunnan)RDB
Northern short-headed snakeO. ancorus(Girard, 1858)Philippines (Mindoro, Luzon)NTIUCN RDB
Annam kukri snakeO. annamensisLeviton, 1953Vietnam (Lam Dang Province)DDIUCN RDB
Spotted kukri snake, ringed kukri snakeO. annulifer(Boulenger, 1893)Brunei, Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak)LCIUCN RDB
Sandy Kukri SnakeO. arenariusVassilieva, 2015S Vietnam (Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province)RDB
Russet kukri snake, common kukri snake, banded kukriO. arnensis(Shaw, 1802)Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India (West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab), Pakistan, NepalRDB
Barron's kukri snakeO. barroni(M.A. Smith, 1916)Thailand, Southern Vietnam, Cambodia, South LaosLCIUCN RDB
Javanese mountain kukri snake, Boie's kukri snakeO. bitorquatusF. Boie, 1827Indonesia (Java, possibly South Sumatra and Sumbawa)LCIUCN RDB
Boo-Liat's kukri snakeO. booliati[6]Leong & Grismer, 2004Malaysia (Tioman island)CRIUCN RDB
Short-tailed kukri snake, shorthead kukri snakeO. brevicaudaGünther, 1862India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala)VUIUCN RDB
Templeton's kukri snakeO. calamarius(Linnaeus, 1758)Sri LankaRDB
Assam kukri snakeO. catenatus(Blyth, 1854)India, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, South China (Guangdong, Guangxi)RDB
Cat Tien kukri snakeO. cattienensisVassilieva, Geissler, Galoyan, Poyarkov, Van Devender & Böhme, 2013Dong Nai, Viet NamRDB
Chinese kukri snakeO. chinensis(Günther, 1888)southern China, northern VietnamLCIUCN RDB
Black cross-barred kukri snake, ashy kukri snake, golden kukri snake, Günther's kukri snakeO. cinereus(Günther, 1864)India (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, China (Yunnan, Hong Kong, Hainan, Guangxi, Fujian, Guangdong)LCIUCN RDB
O. condaoensisNguyen, Nguyen, Le & Murphy, 2016S Vietnam (Hon Ba Island)RDB
Pegu kukri snakeO. cruentatus(Günther, 1868)BurmaLCIUCN RDB
O. culaochamensisNguyen et al., 2017VietnamRDB
North-east Indian kukri snake, Cantor's kukri snakeO. cyclurus(Cantor, 1839)[7]India (Assam), Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China (Yunnan), Nepal, BangladeshLCIUCN RDB
O. deuvei[8]David, Vogel &
van Rooijen, 2008
Cambodia, southern Vietnam, Laos, North East ThailandLCIUCN RDB
Gray's kukri snake, Bengalese kukri snakeO. dorsalis(Gray & Hardwicke, 1835)India (Assam), Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, ThailandRDB
Eberhardt's kukri snakeO. eberhardtiPellegrin, 1910Vietnam, China (Guangxi, Fujian), possibly Laos, Cambodia and BurmaLCIUCN RDB
Nagarkot kukri snakeO. erythrogasterBoulenger, 1907Central and East Nepal, India (Sikkim)RDB
Red-striped kukri snake, Namsang kukri snakeO. erythrorhachisWall, 1910India (Arunachal Pradesh)DDIUCN RDB
Jewelled kukri snake, Everett's kukri snake[9]O. everettiBoulenger, 1893Indonesia (Kalimantan), Malaysia (Sabah)LCIUCN RDB
Small-banded kukri snake, fasciolated kukri snakeO. fasciolatus(Günther, 1864)Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, VietnamLCIUCN RDB
Forbes' kukri snake[10]O. forbesi(Boulenger, 1883)Indonesia (Selaru and Yamdena in Tanimbar Islands)LCIUCN RDB
Taiwan kukri snake, Formosa kukri snakeO. formosanus(Günther, 1872)Vietnam, Taiwan, South China (Chekiang, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong, Nan Ao Island, Hainan, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Zhejiang, Yunnan)RDB
Hampton's kukri snakeO. hamptoniBoulenger, 1918BurmaDDIUCN RDB
Hua Hin Kukri SnakeO. huahin[11]Pauwels, Larsen, Suthanthangjai, David & Sumontha, 2017Thailand (Hua Hin)DD
Inornate kukri snake, unicolored kukri snakeO. inornatus(Boulenger, 1914)Cambodia, North and Southeast ThailandLCIUCN RDB
Jintakune's kukri snakeO. jintakunei[12]Pauwels, Wallach, David, Chanhome, 2002South ThailandDDIUCN RDB
Grey kukri snake, Joynson's kukri snakeO. joynsoni(M.A. Smith, 1917)northern Thailand, possibly Laos, Burma, China (Yunnan)LCIUCN RDB
Walnut kukri snakeO. juglandifer(Wall, 1909)India (Sikkim), West BhutanVUIUCN RDB
O. kampucheaensis[13]Neang, Grismer & Daltry, 2012CambodiaRDB
O. kheriensis[14]Acharji & Ray, 1936India (Uttar Pradesh), Southwest NepalRDB
Lacroix kukri snake[15]O. lacroixiAngel & Bourret, 1933China (Sichuan, Yunnan), VietnamVUIUCN RDB
O. lungshenensisZheng & Huang, 1978China (Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan)NTIUCN RDB
Angel's kukri snakeO. macrurus(Angel, 1927)VietnamDDIUCN RDB
Barred short-headed snake, spotted kukri snakeO. maculatus(Taylor, 1918)Philippines (Mindanao)LCIUCN RDB
Arakan kukri snake, McDougall's kukri snakeO. mcdougalliWall, 1905BurmaLCIUCN RDB
Bluebelly kukri snakeO. melaneusWall, 1909IndiaRDB
Abor Hills kukri snakeO. melanozonatusWall, 1922India, China (Tibet)RDB
Sulu short-headed snake, Meyerink's kukri snakeO. meyerinkii(Steindachner, 1891)Philippine Islands (Bongao, Jolo, Papahang, Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi in Sulu Archipelago), possibly Malaysia (Sabah)ENIUCN RDB
Spotted-bellied short-headed snake, Luzon kukri snakeO. modestusGünther, 1864Philippines (Mindanao, Negros, Tablas, Panay, Cebu, possibly Luzon)VUIUCN RDB
Morice's kukri snake[16]O. moricei[8]David, Vogel & van Rooijen, 2008Southern VietnamDDIUCN RDB
Cambodian kukri snake, Mouhot's kukri snake[17]O. mouhoti(Boulenger, 1914)Cambodia, East ThailandLCIUCN RDB
O. nagao[18]David, Q. Nguyen, T. Nguyen, Jiang, Chen, Teynié & Ziegler, 2012Northern Vietnam, Southwest China (Guangxi), LaosRDB
Nikhil's kukri snakeO. nikhiliWhitaker & Dattatri, 1982India (Tamil Nadu)DDIUCN RDB
O. notospilusGünther, 1873Philippine Islands (Palawan, Busuanga, Balabac, Mindanao)RDB
Eyed kukri snake, ocellated kukri snakeO. ocellatus(Morice, 1875)Cambodia, Lao, southern VietnamLCIUCN RDB
Eight-lined kukri snake, eight-striped kukri snake, Grace's kukri snakeO. octolineatus(Schneider, 1801)Brunei, Indonesia (Java, Borneo, Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), SingaporeLCIUCN RDB
Ornate kukri snakeO. ornatusVan Denburgh, 1909China (Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang), Taiwan,LCIUCN RDB
Perkin's short-headed snakeO. perkinsi(Taylor, 1925)Philippines (Palawan, Culion and Calauit Islands)NTIUCN RDB
Petronella's[19] kukri snakeO. petronellaeRoux, 1917Indonesia (Sumatra)DDIUCN RDB
O. planiceps(Boulenger, 1888)BurmaLCIUCN RDB
Pulau Weh kukri snakeO. praefrontalisF. Werner, 1913Indonesia (Weh Island)DDIUCN RDB
Bleeker's Kukri SnakeO. propinquusJan, 1862Indonesia (Java)RDB
False striped kukri snakeO. pseudotaeniatus[8]David, Vogel & van Rooijen, 2008ThailandLCIUCN RDB
O. pulcherrimusF. Werner, 1909Indonesia (Sumatra)VUIUCN RDB
Purple kukri snake, brown kukri snakeO. purpurascens(Schlegel, 1837)Brunei, Indonesia (Bali, Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), Singapore, ThailandLCIUCN RDB
Saint Girons' kukri snake[20]O. saintgironsi[3]David, Vogel & Pauwels, 2008Vietnam, CambodiaDDIUCN RDB
Sai Yok Kukri SnakeO. saiyok[21]Sumontha, Kunya, Dangsri & Pauwels, 2017Thailand (Kanchanaburi)DD
Half-keeled kukri snake, barred kukri snake, banded kukri snakeO. signatus(Günther, 1864)Indonesia (Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), SingaporeLCIUCN RDB
Splendid kukri snakeO. splendidus(Günther, 1875)BurmaLCIUCN RDB
Duméril's kukri snakeO. sublineatusA.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854Sri LankaLCIUCN RDB
Striped kukri snakeO. taeniatus(Günther, 1861)Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, possibly China (Yunnan)LCIUCN RDB
Streaked sukri knake, Loos snakeO. taeniolatus(Jerdon, 1853)Afghanistan, India, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, TurkmenistanLCIUCN RDB
Mandalay kukri snake, Theobald's kukri snakeO. theobaldi(Günther, 1868)Bangladesh, BurmaLCIUCN RDB
O. torquatus(Boulenger, 1888)BurmaDDIUCN RDB
Travancore kukri snakeO. travancoricusBeddome, 1877India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu)DDIUCN RDB
Three-lined kukri snakeO. trilineatus(A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)Indonesia (Nias, Siberut, Sumatra)LCIUCN RDB
O. unicolor(Kopstein, 1926)Indonesia (Selaru, Yamdena)LCIUCN RDB
Jerdon's kukri snakeO. venustus(Jerdon, 1853)India (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu)LCIUCN RDB
Dark-spined kukri snake, vertebral kukri snakeO. vertebralis(Günther, 1865)Indonesia (Kalimantan), Malaysia (Sabah)DDIUCN RDB
Bleeker's kukri snakeO. waandersi(Bleeker, 1860)Indonesia (Java, Sulawesi, Buton, Sula Islands)RDB
Wagner's kukri snakeO. wagneriDavid & Vogel, 2012Indonesia (Nias)RDB
O. woodmasoni(Sclater, 1891)India (Nicobar Islands, possibly Andaman Islands)RDB


  1. Fitzinger LJ (1826). Neue Classification der Reptilien nach ihren natürlichen Verwandtschaften. Nebst einer Verwandtschafts-tafel und einem Verzeichnisse der Reptilien-Sammlung des K. K. zoologischen Museums zu Wien. Vienna: J.G. Heubner. five unnumbered + 67 pp. + one plate. (Oligodon, new genus, p. 56). (in German and Latin).
  2. "Search results Genus: Oligodon – Exact match". Reptile Database. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  3. David P, Vogel G, Pauwels OS (2008). "A new species of the genus Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826 (Squamata: Colubridae) from northern Vietnam, southern China and central Laos" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1939: 19–37.
  4. Wüster W, Cox MJ (1992). "Defensive hemipenis display in the kukri snake Oligodon cyclurus ". Journal of Herpetology. 26 (2): 238–241. doi:10.2307/1564874. JSTOR 1564874.
  5. Bombay Natural History Society (2005). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Bombay Natural History Society. p. 21. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  6. Leong TM, Grismer LL (2004). "A new species of kukri snake, Oligodon (Colubridae), from Pulau Tioman, West Malaysia" (PDF). Asiatic Herpetological Research. 10: 12–16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-06.
  7. Akonda, A.W.; Khan, M.A.; Khan, S.M.M.H.; Haque, M.N.; Khan, M.M.H.; Ahmed, R.; Ameen, M.; Islam, M.A.; Joarder, N.B.; Nishat, A. (2000). Red book of threatened mammals of Bangladesh. IUCN Bangladesh. p. 29. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  8. David P, Vogel G, van Rooijen J (2008). "A revision of the Oligodon taeniatus (Günther, 1861) group (Squamata: Colubridae), with the description of three new species from the Indochinese Region". Zootaxa. 1965: 1–49.
  9. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Oligodon everetti, p. 86).
  10. Beolens et al. (2011). p. 91.
  11. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318393445_A_new_kukri_snake_Colubridae_Oligodon_from_Hua_Hin_District_and_the_first_record_of_O_deuvei_from_Thailand
  12. Pauwels OSG, Wallach V, David P, Chanhome L (2002). "A new species of Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826 (Serpentes, Colubridae) from southern peninsular Thailand". Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University. 2 (2): 7–18.
  13. Neang T, Grismer L, Daltry JC (2012). "A new species of kukri snake (Colubridae: Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826) from the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary, Cardamom Mountains, southwest Cambodia". Zootaxa 3388: 41–55.
  14. Acharji MN, Ray HC (1936). "A new species of Oligodon from the United Provinces (India)". Records of the Indian Museum, Calcutta 38: 519–520.
  15. Beolens et al. (2011). p. 149.
  16. Beolens et al. (2011). p. 183.
  17. Beolens et al. (2011). p. 183.
  18. David P, Nguyen TQ, Nguyen TT, Jiang K, Chen T, Teynié A, Ziegler T (2012). "A new species of the genus Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826 (Squamata: Colubridae) from northern Vietnam, southern China and central Laos". Zootaxa. 3498: 45–62.
  19. Beolens et al. (2011). pp. 70, 205.
  20. Beolens et al. (2011). p. 231.
  21. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318529308_Oligodon_saiyok_a_new_limestone-dwelling_kukri_snake_Serpentes_Colubridae_from_Kanchanaburi_Province_western_Thailand

Further reading

  • Green, Marc D.; Orlov, Nikolai L.; Murphy, Robert W. (2010). "Toward a Phylogeny of the Kukri Snakes, Genus Oligodon ". Asian Herpetological Research 2 (1): 1-21.
  • Smith MA (1943). The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. III.—Serpentes. London: Secretary of State for India. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 583 pp. (Genus Oligodon, pp. 195–201).
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