ACTIVE PERIOD: Active at night
KEY ID FEATURES: Mustard yellow to light tan with black and brown irregularly shaped spots and occasionally striped
BEHAVIOR: Capable of delivering slashing cuts with rear egg slicing tooth, will attack readily if handled
SIZE: Small - 40-60cm
OTHER: Very distinct, not easily mistaken with other snakes
QUICK ASSESSMENT 0-10
IMPORTANT: Most snakes can be found to have significant variance in coloration and pattern even within the same species. There can also be extreme differences in appearance from juveniles to adults so it is important to never assume you have properly identified a snake.
The Taiwan Kukri is easy to identify by its yellowish tan color and black and brown irregular shaped spots and dots running the length of its body. Some will display tan striping running from the head and fading out towards the midsection. Almost all will show brown markings on top of the head and a very distinct salmon pink underbelly. Also common is a brown patch extending under each eye to the top jaw line. The head is small relative to the body with a plow like nose used in burrowing. Yellow eyes with large round pupils and the characteristic 'Kukri Knife' shaped rear egg slicing tooth.
A largely nocturnal species they can also be found at dusk or early morning. Generally docile when observed and will flee deliberately though not terribly quickly when disturbed. Though not poisonous all Kukri snakes are capable of opening their mouth and slashing their head back and forth in order to slice with their modified rear egg cutting tooth. While not life threatening these cuts can be delivered quickly and in high volume making this snake quite a handful despite its small size of a maximum .5 meters. The Taiwan Kukri is also an adept burrower and will do so both to forage for food and to seek shelter. As indicated by their infamous back teeth they are fond of eating reptile eggs along with other small prey. (Click here if the video block does not load: https://youtu.be/_I_TfxTCOt0)
A completely terrestrial snake the Taiwan Kukri is found mostly in forested areas as well as water culverts and rocky out crops. Somewhat commonly seen in the wild and should never be handled due to its ability to deliver slashing cuts.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: Not normally confused with other species due to its unique color profile but at a quick glance it could be mistaken for a Golden Kukri.