The Banded krait is a large highly venomous snake found on the Indian Subcontinent and in Southeast Asia. This snake is easily identified by its alternate black and yellow crossbands, its triangular body cross-section, and the marked vertebral ridge consisting of enlarged vertebral shields along its body. The head is broad and depressed. The eyes are black. It has arrowhead-like yellow markings on its otherwise black head and has yellow lips, lores, chin, and throat.
Banded kraits occur in the whole of the Indo-Chinese subregion, the Malay peninsula and Indonesian archipelago, and southern China. These snakes have been recorded eastwards from central India through Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and southern China (including Hong Kong) to Malaysia and the main Indonesian islands of Borneo (Java and Sumatra), as well as Singapore. Banded kraits may be seen in a variety of habitats, from the dry and moist deciduous forest, mangrove vegetation and tropical scrub to agricultural lands. They inhabit termite mounds and rodent holes close to water, and often live near human settlements, especially villages, because of their supply of rodents and water. They prefer the open plains of the countryside.
Banded kraits are shy, not typically seen, and lead a solitary life. They are mainly nocturnal. During the day, these snakes lie up in grass, pits, or drains. They are most commonly seen in the rains. Banded kraits are lethargic and sluggish even under provocation. When harassed, they will usually hide their heads under their coils, and do not generally attempt to bite, though at night they are much more active and widely considered to be more dangerous then.
Banded kraits are carnivores and feed mainly on other snakes such as Sunbeam snake, Rainbow water snake, Red-tailed pipe snake, Indo-Chinese rat snake, Cat snake, and others. However, they may also eat fish, frogs, skinks, and snake eggs.
Little is known about the breeding habits of Banded kraits. Females lay around 4-14 eggs which they incubate and guard until they hatch. These snakes are believed to become adults in the third year of their life, at an approximate length of 914 mm.
The main threats to Banded kraits include persecution and road mortality.
According to IUCN, the Banded krait is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Banded kraits are often found near human settlements due to the presence of rats, mice, and other rodents and help control their populations. This also benefits the farmers.