Checkered Keelback - Four is a crowd

Heat, or the warmth, is an imperative element for any living being’s survival on this planet. It is what drives the motors in an animal’s body, aiding it to go on about its worldly agenda, be it feeding, mating, defending oneself or just plain, moving around. Warm blooded animals are able to maintain a constant body temperature, irrespective of their surroundings. This keeps them going even in relatively colder environments. The ones with cold blood, on the other hand, need to gather heat after being in a colder area for a long time and the opposite is true as well. If they start getting too warm, they cool off by going into a shade or by taking a dip in the water.

The primary source of heat, is of course, the Sun. Hence the reason, why we see lizards, snakes, crocodiles, butterflies and such, basking in the sun, after a cold night. Some of them do choose beautiful places to bask in. If the place of choice can serve a dual purpose, an opportunity to feed while gathering energy, it is even better!

These two checkered keelbacks were doing just that. On a cloudy morning, these guys, it seemed, were waiting for the sun to start shining through. Getting themselves onto a beautiful lotus leaf in a small pond, they began basking. The pond was rich in fish and instead of just lying idle, they were using the time, to grab a few snacks.



A closer look at one of them, an image, just to add to the mix :)


Soon, another one followed suit. Coming towards the same leaf, it started climbing onto it.


Seeing the new entrant, the older occupant, which was on the right corner of the leaf, started moving away and settled on the bottom corner. The one on the left, remained unperturbed by all this and continued to focus on the fish swimming around in the water.


A short while later, another checkered keelback, who didn’t want to be left behind, started coming in to join the party.


It was now beginning to get crowded. There is a general expression which says, ‘Two’s a company, Three’s a crowd’, but here, Four became a crowd. The three open corners of the leaf, facing the water, were occupied and things were fine, until the fourth one showed up.


Arrival of the fourth one disturbed the whole setup and the checkered keelbacks started dispersing.


However, through all of this commotion, the one individual, on the left corner of the leaf, just lay there, totally undisturbed, continuing with its routine and suddenly realising that it was now, all alone, on the beautiful lotus leaf. Heights of concentration !!


All this happened within a span of a few minutes and what fascinating few minutes they were! So many snakes at one time !! A great checkered keelback party it was, indeed!

PS: This was during the Birdwing Macro Photo Walk that I was leading at Lalbagh, Bangalore


shashi sablok

Dear Santhosh,

What interesting photographs! Writeup is making it more interesting. Thanks.

Let me introduce myself. My name is SHashi and i work with a children magazine – Chakmak. I would like to publish these photos along with the write up in our magazine. If you allow us then pl send high res. photos at

Chakmak is a 30 year old magazine. Old issues of it can be seen at –

Regards Shashi 8989544927

Reply to shashi sablok
Thanks Sundar, Not sure about that though, what is seen in the middle of the last one’s body, are water droplets. The angle of light and the water droplets might be playing games here, giving that impression. Having said that, the last one looks a little pale on its ventral side. In short, not sure 🙂
Reply to Santhosh
 Sivakumar V K

A pictorial poem! All frames are spell binding and wonderful.! The mercurial water,,not so slimy snakes,great light and every thing very crisp , lovely leaves and brilliant composition all around. I am more than pleased with your frames and wonderful write up. Regards Sivakumar
Reply to Sivakumar V K

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