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C. helena has the following scalation. The rostral is a little broader than deep, and visible from above. The suture between the internasals is much shorter than that between the prefrontals. The frontal is as long as its distance from the end of the snout, but shorter than the parietals. The loreal is somewhat longer than deep. One large preocular and two postoculars are present. The temporals are arranged 2+2 or 2+3. There are 9 (exceptionally 10 or 11) upper labials, and the fifth and sixth (or fourth, fifth, and sixth) enter the eye. There are 5 or 6 lower labials in contact with the anterior chin shields. The anterior chin shields are as long as or a little longer than the posterior chin shields.
The dorsal scales are in 23 to 27 rows at midbody, smooth, or feebly keeled on the posterior part of the body and on the tail. The ventrals number 220-265; the anal plate is entire; and the subcaudals number 75-94.
The young are pale brown above, with black crossbands, each crossband enclosing four to six white ocelli. The adults are darker brown, with a transverse series of squarish black spots, or with more or less distinct traces of the color pattern of the young. There is a vertical black streak below the eye, and an oblique black streak behind the eye. Some specimens have a white, black-edged collar; others have two black longitudinal streaks on the head; and others are intermediate in this respect. The lower parts are yellowish, with or without a few small black spots, sometimes with a more or less distinct festooned marking on each side.
Adults may attain a total length of 4.5 ft (1.4 m), which includes a tail 10 in (25 cm) long.
Diurnal and highly active, C. helena is noted for its temper and will strike repeatedly if molested. The males of this species are generally more aggressive than the females. Its bites are often very damaging due to its inward pointing teeth.
Sideview of trinket snake head
Pattern on first half of body
Pattern on second half of body
Trinket snake, coiled up
^ ab"Coelognathus helena ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
^Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN978-1-4214-0135-5. (Elaphe helena, p. 120).
^ abcdBoulenger GA. (1890). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Coluber helena, pp. 331-332).
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