Last updated: May 23, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Oksana Golubeva/

A painless bite that can result in death.

Krait Scientific Classification


Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Krait Conservation Status

Krait Locations

Krait Locations

Krait Facts

Other snakes, lizards, rodents, fish
Fun Fact
A painless bite that can result in death.
Average Litter Size
2 to 14
Common Name
Krait, Common krait, blue krait

Krait Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Silver
Skin Type
20 years
3 ft.

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View all of the Krait images!

A painless bite that can result in death.

Unlike the bite from many venomous snakes, the bite from a krait is relatively painless. That doesn’t mean it isn’t doing damage. The highly dangerous snake will inject venom that results in paralysis over a period of hours. Without prompt medical treatment, death by suffocation is a common result.

There are 16 species of kraits, including the banded, Indian, Malayan, and Burmese. The Indian, or common, krait is endemic to India and the surrounding region.

Yellow-lipped and other sea kraits are not in the same genus as the land-dwelling kraits. When on land, the yellow-lipped and other sea kraits are extremely docile, to the point where children often play with them. They are less docile in the water, although they still prefer to avoid confrontation whenever possible.

The pronunciation of krait uses a long I sound and rhymes with kite.

Krait Amazing Facts

  • The common krait is one of the Big Four Snakes, responsible for the majority of medically significant cases of snake bites in humans in the Indian subcontinent. The other three are the Indian cobra, Russell’s viper, and Indian saw-scaled viper.
  • The initial bite of the common krait is often painless.
  • Of all the snakebite deaths in Bangladesh, over 50 percent are from the common krait.
  • Humans often encounter kraits during the rainy season, when they enter homes to find dry ground.

Where to Find Kraits

Kraits are found on the Indian subcontinent. They make their homes in both farmlands and forests.

Krait Scientific Name

The scientific name for the common krait is Bungarus caeruleus. It is one of 16 species in the Bungarus genus. The pronunciation is krite. Sea kraits are not close relatives, belonging to the genus Laticauda.

Krait Population and Conservation Status

The common krait is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Its numbers have not been researched and its status has not been evaluated by IUCN. Of the other species of kraits, the Red River krait is considered vulnerable.

How to Identify Kraits: Appearance and Description

The common krait can be identified by its glossy black body with white bands. Young snakes have wider bands, while the bands on mature kraits are narrow. Their underside is white. The head is slightly wider than the neck, and they have small dark eyes and a rounded snout.

Krait Pictures

A human handling a banded krait
Banded kraits are named for their alternating bands of gold and black.


Sea Snake in Coral, krait
Krait is less docile in water than on land, though they will still avoid confrontation.

©Oksana Golubeva/

Malayan Krait
The Malayan Krait has a pattern of dark-brown, black, or bluish-black crossbands.

©Nenad Preradovic/

Krait Venom: How Dangerous are They?

Krait venom is incredibly damaging to the body. More potent than cobra venom, krait venom can lead to death within 8 hours. The actual bite from a krait isn’t necessarily painful and often leaves minimal if any, swelling. This can lead to complications if the individual who is bitten doesn’t realize the importance of seeking immediate medical care.

Krait Behavior and Humans

Kraits are not generally aggressive, particularly during the day. However, they are nocturnal meaning they are much more active at night. Approaching or cornering one at this time increases the likelihood of a bite.

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Krait FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How poisonous is a krait?

Kraits are incredibly venomous. In fact, the common krait is responsible for many of the serious snake bites that occur in India and the surrounding areas of Southern Asia.

The venom is a neurotoxin, which causes muscle paralysis. The bite itself is often not painful, but immediate medical attention is important. Untreated, death typically occurs within 8 hours of the bite.

What is the difference between a snake and a krait?

Kraits are a species of snakes.

What happens when a common krait bites?

Venom from the common, or Indian, krait leads to muscular paralysis. Initially, an individual who is bitten may experience stomach pain. As symptoms progress, the individual may develop tension in the face and difficulty breathing. Death from the bite of a common krait is typically the result of suffocation, due to paralysis of the respiratory system.

Are kraits poisonous?


What are the types of kraits?

Indian, Malayan (or blue), northeastern hill, South Andaman, Sri Lankan, red-headed, banded, lesser black, Burmese, black, many-banded, Iranian, Red River, Sind, and Suzhen’s.

The sea kraits, such as the yellow lipped krait, are in a different genus than land kraits. While they are also venomous, they are very docile, particularly when on land, and bites are rare.

Is a krait the same as a cobra?

No. Both kraits and cobras are members of the same family, Elapidae, but are different species. The Elapidae family also includes mambas and adders.

How Do You Pronounce Krait?

The pronunciation of krait is krite, with a long “i” sound.

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  1. Science Direct, Available here:
  2. Toxicology, Available here:
  3. American Oceans, Available here:
  4. iNaturalist, Available here:

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