Snakes of India

Rom Whitaker

This is the definitive color field guide to Indian snakes aimed at both amateurs and specialists. It concisely describes more than 150 species of snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. Many of the species covered are also found in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Snake identification is made easy through stunning photographs and includes many of the color variations found in Indian snakes. Each species account includes description, scalation, natural history, a distribution map and look-alikes. Other sections include snakebite, snake people in India, laws protecting snakes and a complete, up to date checklist.

Ashok Captain is an ophidian taxonomist and photographer who is either in the hill forests of India's remote northeast or the specimen rooms at the Bombay Natural History Society. He is particularly fond of the monsoons, umbrellas and leeches.



If you have new information on Indian snake distribution, behavior, snakebite or good photograph of species not covered in this book, write to us.


"A comprehensive book of the snakes from the vast Indian subcontinent is grossly overdue. The authors are uniquely qualified to produce this book and it should be a tremendous addition to the libraries of anyone interested in snakes."
~ Dr. Bryan Grieg Fry, Deputy Director, Australian Venom Research Unit: Department of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne

"At last the snake lovers of the Indian subcontinent are going to see a book that they craved for a few decades. Being in the hands of two titans of Indian snake biology who have meticulously worked for the past decade or so in situ and ex situ on the subject and have come up with the book "Snakes of India-the field guide", should be a piece of great work of our time. Pictures from the live specimens and crisp descriptions will be a definite aid in the field identification of the species. Their use of simple language will entice even the average readers to have a copy of the book. I wish the venture of Rom and Ashok a great success."
~ Mohamed Ali Reza Khan, Head of Dubai Zoo

"For over a decade, Romulus Whitaker and Ashok Captain have been developing a field guide to the snakes of India. This beautifully illustrated book, with current nomenclature, detailed descriptions, range maps, and up-to-date information on proper treatment of snakebites, should be nestled on the bookshelf of every herpetologist. Sections on conservation and behaviour are important additions, especially since Whitaker is an internationally known conservationist as well as a respected herpetologist who has published many papers on the ethnology of Indian reptiles. The price is reasonable and the quality first-rate. I recommend it without reservation."
~ James B. Murphy, Smithsonian Institution Research Associate, Washington DC, USA

"India, one of the world's great biodiversity hotspots with only 40% of Australia's land area, has 40% more snakes. At last a decent book on India's snake fauna is available with top quality colour photographs, descriptions, range maps, up-to-date nomenclature, and much more. This book by two of India's premier herpetologists will be the standard for years to come."
~ Dr. Bruce Means, President and Executive Director, Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy, Tallahassee, USA

"The snakes of India are a diverse and enormously important group of animals, in terms of their significant role in Indian ecosystems, their substantial impact on Indian culture, and the grave consequences of snakebite for many native people. It has thus been a great frustration that we have never had a truly comprehensive, authoritative book, accessible to the general public that would enable people to learn about these poorly understood and much-maligned creatures. That frustration has now been removed, with the publication of Whitaker and Captain's Field Guide. The volume is an outstanding contribution, and will do much to dispel the ignorance and myth surrounding the magnificent snake fauna of India and surrounding countries."
~ Dr. Rick Shine, Professor in Evolutionary Biology, The University of Sydney, Australia

"The ultimate Indian snake book! At last a superb field guide is available for the snakes of India and adjacent regions. It is the first book on Indian snakes to contain not only dot range maps but also excellent colour photos (macroscopic plus close-up). Based on 30 years of research and observation, this book also contains sections on description, distribution, natural history and behaviour, scalation, and similar species. A must for all herpetologists and Asian naturalists!"
~ Dr. Van Wallach, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, USA

"Snakes of India, the Field Guide fills a much-needed gap in the literature on Indian snakes. Although much has been written on the subject, no modern work until now could truly be said to be authoritative. Rom Whitaker and Ashok Captain provide clear, concise, and nomenclaturally current accounts for over 150 species of Indian snakes, each with accurate range maps and superb colour photos. This sturdy book emphasizes features of real value in field identification but will also serve as an invaluable reference for anyone interested in the herpetology of South Asia."
~ Dr. Aaron M. Bauer, Professor of Biology, Villanova University, USA

"There has long been the need for readily usable, well illustrated, comprehensive and up-to-date account of the snakes of India. This book fulfils all of these requirements; it covers over 150 species and is well illustrated by excellent photographs and range maps. This book will be of interest to all herpetologists and those interested in Indian natural history. It will be of particular value to those with a professional or amateur interest in the natural history and biodiversity in the Indian subcontinent as its illustration make it appealing and easy to use, even for non-experts."
~ Dr. Roger Thorpe, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, UK