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There are 12 species of Krait. Most of them are a metre or two in length and have a lovely sheen about them from their smooth, glossy scales. Most are banded with black and lighter coloured stripes. Some are black and yellow, others black and brown, one rather beautiful Krait has a red head and tail.
The red tail probably has something to do with defence. Kraits are nocturnal and hide out in termite mounds or rodent burrows by day. They are very lethargic and docile at this time, they really don't want any trouble. If disturbed, they tend to coil up with their head buried away, perhaps with their tail whipping around as a distraction. It kind of reminds me of when I really didn't want to go to school in the morning. Come the night though, things are a little different. I probably just watched the telly or something, Kraits are far more exciting.
While they will also feast on frogs, lizards and mammals, Kraits tend to prefer hunting other snakes. The bite is lethal and then prey is swallowed head first. I guess it must take a bit of time for a snake to swallow a snake whole, but that's what they do. It's at this time, when Kraits are active and some of them even quite aggressive, that bites on humans occur.
Krait venom contains a neurotoxin that affects the ability of messages to travel along the nerves. Basically, all the worst problems are to do with paralysis. It starts off with severe abdominal cramps before paralysis starts to set in, often starting in the eyelids because the muscles there have so many nerves in them. While there might be almost no pain at all from the site of the actual bite, death will normally occur 6 to 12 hours later due to paralysis of the diaphragm and subsequent suffocation. Not good. At all.
For the Krait, this venom is great because it can quickly paralyse a snake that may itself have lethal venom. Some Kraits even hunt other Kraits, so a heavy dose of venom is injected to bring about instant paralysis. For humans, antivenom and a swift trip to the hospital saves many lives. Nevertheless, this is clearly a group of snakes to be avoided like the plague, speeding bullets or any number of other things that might kill you.