Krait

Last updated: May 23, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Oksana Golubeva/Shutterstock.com

A painless bite that can result in death.

Krait Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Elapidae
Genus
Bungarus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Krait Conservation Status

Krait Locations

Krait Locations

Krait Facts

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

Krait Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Silver
Skin Type
Scales
Lifespan
20 years
Length
3 ft.
Venomous
Yes
Aggression
Medium

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species..

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.

jeep2499/Shutterstock.com

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

Oksana Golubeva/Shutterstock.com

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

Nenad Preradovic/Shutterstock.com

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.

View all 55 animals that start with K

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?

Yes

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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Science Direct, Available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/common-krait
  2. Toxicology, Available here: http://toxicology.ucsd.edu/Snakebite%20Protocols/Bungarus.htm
  3. American Oceans, Available here: https://www.americanoceans.org/species/banded-sea-krait/
  4. iNaturalist, Available here: https://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/1330037

Newly Added Animals

A Norrbottenspets
Norrbottenspets

Getting your hands on one of these pups might be a challenging task. At one point, the breed was on the brink of extinction.

A Senepol Cattle
Senepol Cattle

Senepol cattle have a distinctive red color and no horns.

A Emperor Goose
Emperor Goose

Their calls sound like a nasally “kla-ha, kla-ha, kla-ha.”

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Plesiosaur
Plesiosaur

Plesiosaur had a short tail and an extremely long neck

A Norrbottenspets
Norrbottenspets

Getting your hands on one of these pups might be a challenging task. At one point, the breed was on the brink of extinction.

A Pygora Goat
Pygora Goat

The Pygora goat is exclusively bred for their fleece, and they produce three different kinds.