Clinical Toxinology Resources Home
Bungarus caeruleus
General Details, Taxonomy and Biology, Venom, Clinical Effects, Treatment, First Aid , Antivenoms
Bungarus caeruleus ( Common Krait )  [ Original photo copyright © Dr Julian White ]
Family: Elapidae
Subfamily: Elapinae
Genus: Bungarus
Species: caeruleus
Common Names
Common Krait , Indian Krait , Blue Krait , Common Indian Krait
Local Names
Kalaz , Domna Chitti , Manner , Kariat , Kadambale , Vella Pambu , Manyar , Kattu Viriyan , Kattu virian , Katla Pamu , Thel Karawala , Thel Karavala , Magamaruwa , Yettadi Viriyan , Karuvelan Pampu , Yennai Virian
West Asia + Indian Sub-continent
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Taxonomy and Biology
Adult Length: 0.90 m
General Shape
Medium to large length, slender, cylindrical bodied snake with a short tail. Can grow to a maximum of about 1.75 metres. Head is flat and slightly distinct from neck. Snout is blunt. Eyes are small in size, black, with a barely visible round pupil. Nostrils are large. Dorsal scales are smooth and glossy with vertebral scale row enlarged and hexagonal. Dorsal scale count 15 - 15 - 15.
Lowland open grassland plains, cultivated regions and scrub jungle at elevations up to about 1600 metres. Often found in termite mounds, rodent holes, rubbish heaps, house roofs and cooler locations in or around human dwellings.
Nocturnal, terrestrial, fond of water and sometimes cannibalistic. Frequently enters houses in search of prey. An inoffensive snake which tends to conceal its head within its coils if confronted during the day. Will only bite under extreme provocation if encountered by day. At night it will strike if approached.
Feeds mainly on snakes ( including its own kind ), but will occasionally feed on rodents, small mammals, lizards, frogs an toads.
Species Map
Small (Approx 20k) version
Average Venom Qty
8 to 20 mg ( dry weight ), U.S. Dept. Navy (1968) ( Ref : R000914 ).

10 mg ( dry weight ), Brown (1973) ( Ref : R000681 ).

8 to 12 mg ( dry weight ), Minton (1974) ( Ref : R000504 ).
General: Venom Neurotoxins
Pre- & Post-synaptic neurotoxins
General: Venom Myotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Procoagulants
Not present
General: Venom Anticoagulants
Not present
General: Venom Haemorrhagins
Not present
General: Venom Nephrotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Cardiotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Necrotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Other
Not present or not significant
Clinical Effects
General: Dangerousness
Severe envenoming likely, high lethality potential
General: Rate of Envenoming: Unknown but likely to be high
General: Untreated Lethality Rate: 70-80%
General: Local Effects
None or minimal
General: Local Necrosis
Not likely to occur
General: General Systemic Effects
Variable non-specific effects which may include headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, collapse or convulsions
General: Neurotoxic Paralysis
Very common, flaccid paralysis is major clinical effect
General: Myotoxicity
Not likely to occur
General: Coagulopathy & Haemorrhages
Unlikely to occur
General: Renal Damage
Unlikely to occur
General: Cardiotoxicity
Unlikely to occur
General: Other
Not likely to occur
First Aid
Description: First aid for bites by Elapid snakes which do not cause significant injury at the bite site (see Comments for partial listing), but which may have the potential to cause significant general (systemic) effects, such as paralysis, muscle damage, or bleeding.
1. After ensuring the patient and onlookers have moved out of range of further strikes by the snake, the bitten person should be reassured and persuaded to lie down and remain still. Many will be terrified, fearing sudden death and, in this mood, they may behave irrationally or even hysterically. The basis for reassurance is the fact that many venomous bites do not result in envenoming, the relatively slow progression to severe envenoming (hours following elapid bites, days following viper bites) and the effectiveness of modern medical treatment.
2. The bite wound should not be tampered with in any way. Wiping it once with a damp cloth to remove surface venom is unlikely to do much harm (or good) but the wound must not be massaged. For Australian snakes only, do not wash or clean the wound in any way, as this may interfere with later venom detection once in a hospital.
3. All rings or other jewellery on the bitten limb, especially on fingers, should be removed, as they may act as tourniquets if oedema develops.
4. If the bite is on a limb, a broad bandage (even torn strips of clothing or pantyhose) should be applied over the bitten area at moderate pressure (as for a sprain; not so tight circulation is impaired), then extended to cover as much of the bitten limb as possible, including fingers or toes, going over the top of clothing rather than risking excessive limb movement by removing clothing. The bitten limb should then be immobilised as effectively as possible using an extemporised splint or sling.
5. If there is any impairment of vital functions, such as problems with respiration, airway, circulation, heart function, these must be supported as a priority. In particular, for bites causing flaccid paralysis, including respiratory paralysis, both airway and respiration may be impaired, requiring urgent and prolonged treatment, which may include the mouth to mask (mouth to mouth) technique of expired air transfer. Seek urgent medical attention.
6. Do not use Tourniquets, cut, suck or scarify the wound or apply chemicals or electric shock.
7. Avoid peroral intake, absolutely no alcohol. No sedatives outside hospital. If there will be considerable delay before reaching medical aid, measured in several hours to days, then give clear fluids by mouth to prevent dehydration.
8. If the offending snake has been killed it should be brought with the patient for identification (only relevant in areas where there are more than one naturally occurring venomous snake species), but be careful to avoid touching the head, as even a dead snake can envenom. No attempt should be made to pursue the snake into the undergrowth as this will risk further bites.
9. The snakebite victim should be transported as quickly and as passively as possible to the nearest place where they can be seen by a medically-trained person (health station, dispensary, clinic or hospital). The bitten limb must not be exercised as muscular contraction will promote systemic absorption of venom. If no motor vehicle or boat is available, the patient can be carried on a stretcher or hurdle, on the pillion or crossbar of a bicycle or on someone's back.
10. Most traditional, and many of the more recently fashionable, first aid measures are useless and potentially dangerous. These include local cauterization, incision, excision, amputation, suction by mouth, vacuum pump or syringe, combined incision and suction ("venom-ex" apparatus), injection or instillation of compounds such as potassium permanganate, phenol (carbolic soap) and trypsin, application of electric shocks or ice (cryotherapy), use of traditional herbal, folk and other remedies including the ingestion of emetic plant products and parts of the snake, multiple incisions, tattooing and so on.
Treatment Summary
Krait bites can cause moderate to severe flaccid paralysis, respiratory failure, requiring intubation & ventilation in severe cases. Antivenom available for major species, may prevent worsening of paralysis, but may not reverse established paralysis.
Key Diagnostic Features
Minimal to mild local reaction + flaccid paralysis
General Approach to Management
All cases should be treated as urgent & potentially lethal. Rapid assessment & commencement of treatment including appropriate antivenom (if indicated & available) is mandatory. Admit all cases.
Antivenom Therapy
Only antivenoms available are for related species, but should be used for significant envenoming
1. Antivenom Code: SAsCRI01
Antivenom Name: Polyvalent Anti Snake Venom Serum
Manufacturer: Central Research Institute
Phone: ++91-1-792-72114
Address: Kasauli (H.P.) 173204
Country: India
2. Antivenom Code: SAsHBI01
Antivenom Name: Snake Antivenin I.P. (Lyophilized Polyvalent Enzyme Refined Equine Immunoglobulins)
Manufacturer: Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd
Phone: ++91-22-412-9320 (up to 22)
Address: Acharya Donde Marg,
Mumbai 400012,
Country: India
3. Antivenom Code: SAsPIH01
Antivenom Name: Polyvalent Antisnake Venom Serum
Manufacturer: Biological Production Division, National Institute of Health
Phone: ++92-51-925-5090 (up to -94)
++92-51-925-5110 (up to -14)
Address: Islamabad
Country: Pakistan
4. Antivenom Code: SAsSII01
Antivenom Name: SII Polyvalent Antisnake Venom Serum ( lyophilized )
Manufacturer: Serum Institute of India Ltd.
Phone: +91-20-26993900
Address: 212/2, Hadapsar,
Off Soli Poonawalla Road,
Pune-411042. India
Country: India
Bungarus caeruleus ( Common Krait ) [ Original photo copyright © Dr Julian White ]
Larger version
Find a Reference
Reference Number: