After being considered “extinct”, a long lost serpent species called the “Assam Keelback” has reappeared in north eastern India’s world famous tea-land Assam after an absence of 129 years.
Researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India confirmed the rediscovery of this non-venomous snake species, photos of which have gone viral on social media.
Lost and found!!! The #Assam Keelback snake has been found after 129 years from #Poba reserve forest on the #Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border by a team from Wildlife Institute of India @wiiofficial1. This species is not found anywhere else. Pic Credit- Dhritiman Mukherjee pic.twitter.com/AKcxhFMaCE— roopakgoswami (@roopak1966) June 28, 2020
Lost and found: Snake species endemic to Assam rediscovered after 129 yearshttps://t.co/ze55StnlPc— Developer Gang (@DeveloperGang) June 29, 2020
The species ‘Hebius pealii’, called Assam Keelback, was first seen in 1891 when a British tea-planter Samuel Edward Peal collected two male specimens from Sibsagar district in As… pic.twitter.com/5RQ2IFoJoA
Two male snakes from the species were last seen in the Sibsagar district of Assam back in 1891. One of them was sent to Kolkata's Zoological Survey of India while the other made its way to London’s Natural History Museum.
Upon discovering the adult female Assam Keelback again, researchers turned to the specimen saved in London to get confirmation.
Wildlife scientists performed DNA profiling to establish that the snake found in the Poba Forest Reserve is indeed an Assam Keelback.
The lost and found serpent measures between 50-60 centimeters in length.