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Rare species of frog, snake in Orissa

tech reviews Updated: Jun 26, 2007 10:23 IST

Two highly endangered species, the crab-eating frog and the white belly mangrove snake, have been spotted in Orissa.

The rare species were seen at the river mouth of Dhamra, five kilometres from the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapada district, some 170 km from Bhubaneswar, Sushil Kumar Dutta, a herpetologist, told IANS.

Dutta, a zoology professor with the North Orissa University at Baripada, and his team found the frog and the snake during a recent study.

"We stumbled upon this frog and snake while studying the area to prepare an environmental impact assessment report for Greenpeace," Dutta said.

"They were properly documented and photographed before they were released again in the swampy areas of the river mouth. A team of researchers will again visit the area to search for more rare frogs and snakes," he said.

The crab-eating frog, scientifically known as 'fejervarya cancrivora', is native to Southeast Asia. It inhabits mangrove swamps and is the only known modern amphibian that can tolerate salt water.

The white belly mangrove snake is scientifically known as 'fordonia leucobalia'. It stays in mangrove swamps and tropical tidal wetlands from Southeast Asia to the coasts of Northern Australia.

The snake hangs out in crab-made holes, after eating its occupants. It is an estuarine species and has all the adaptations necessary for survival in a fully marine life.