About | Contact
Ad space for Patronizes
free counters
Sub order - Serpentes (OPHIDIA)
Introductions Identification Distribution Species Found in SL References

  Family - Acrochordidae Bonaparte, 1831

Wart snakes are aquatic snakes found in coastal waters of tropical Asia & Australia. Three species are found in the Asia Pacific region. Only Acrochordidae granulatus is found in Sri Lanka. They’re skin is wrinkly with warts & also has a stout body. Contiguous, small scales are found in them. They’re very slow movers & nocturnal. Lingual salt glands, sensory organs on skin, dorsal eyes, nostrils with a cartilages flap & the big lung is adapted for the aquatic life. They’re non poisonous, ovoviviparous snakes.
Acrochordus granulatus (TR)
Wart Snake
Diyagoya, Redi naya

   Family - Boidae Gray, 1825
Most are terrestrial forms & are found in America, Asia, & Africa & Madagascar. Evolutionary low having a short medium sized stout body with wart like scales. Tail is short & blunt. Most doesn’t have labial pits & have undivided subcaudals. Gongylophis conicus brevis is an endemic sub specie in Sri Lanka. Fast attackers when catching prey. The diet consists of amphibians, small sized mammals & birds. Their non poisonous but can give minor injuries when bitten. They are ovoviviparous snakes.
Gongylophis conica brevis
Sand Boa/ Vali pimbura,
Kota pimbura (TR) END sb

Python molurus
Indian Python
Pimbura, Dara pimbura

   Family - Colubridae Oppel, 1811

Worldwide nearly 2000 species belongs to this family & can be known as typical snakes. These snakes are found in except in all continents except in Australia. There are 45 species found in Sri Lanka & 20 species are known to be endemic. Also very primitive types of species are found & some remain without a scientific name. Dendrelaphis oliverti & Argyrogena fasciolata were only found once in Sri Lanka.

They have less typical characteristics among species because they vary in their mode of life, from burrowing forms, to terrestrial forms & also aquatic & arboreal types are also included. They lack hypapophysis & hind limbs. Mental groove & symmetrical head shield made of nine scales are common for all species. Some have the special ability to glide. They mostly feed on insects. Some are depended their diet on mollusks while some depend on eggs.

Mostly they are oviparous & some are viviparous. Most are non poisonous & harmless but a few have proven to give lethal bites. They have an evolutionary primary poisonous gland belonging to type Opisthoglyphous

Ahaetulla nasuta
Green vine snake
Ahaetulla, Aasgulla

Ahaetulla pulverulenta
Brown vine snake
Amphiesma stolatum
Buff-striped keelback
Argyrogena fasciolata (DD*)
Banded racer
Wal gerandiya
Aspidura brachyorrhos (TR) END
Boie's roughside
Le madilla
Aspidura copei (TR) END
Cope's roughside
Aspidura deraniyagalae (HT) END
Deraniyagala's roughside
Kandu Madilla
Aspidura drummondhayi (TR) END
Gunthers Drummond-Hay's roughside / Keti walmadilla
Aspidura guentheri (TR) END
Ferguson's roughside
Aspidura trachyprocta (TR) END
Common roughside
Dalawa madilla
Atretium schistosum
The olive keelback
Kadola, Waternake Diyawarna
Balanophis ceylonensis (TR) END/G
Sri Lanka keelback
Laethith karavala, Nihaluwa
Boiga barnesii (TR) END
Barnes's cat snake
Panduru mapila
Boiga beddomei (HT)
Beddom's cat snake
Kaha mapila
Boiga ceylonensis
Sri Lanka cat snake
Nidi mapila
Boiga forsteni
Forsten's cat snake
Le Mapila, Naga Mapila
Boiga trigonatus trigonatus
Gamma cat snake
Ran mapila, Garandi Mapila
Cerberus rhynchops
Dog-faced water snake
Kunu diya kaluwa, Diya polanga >more...
Cercaspis carinata (TR) END/G
Sri Lankan wolf snake
Dhara radanakaya
Chrysopelea ornata ornata (TR)
Ornate flying snake
Polmal karawala/Malsara
Chrysopelea taprobanica (TR) END
Stiped flying snake
Dangara danda
Coelognathus helena
Trinket snake
Dendrelaphis bifrenalis
Boulenger's bronze-back
Pandura haldanda
Dendrelaphis caudolineolatus
Gunther's bronze-back
Viri haldanda
Dendrelaphis oliveri (TR) END
Oliver's bronze-back
Oliverge haldanda
Dendrelaphis tristis
Common bronze-back
Turu haldanda
Dryocalamus gracilis (TR)
The scarce bridal snake
Magata radanakaya
Dryocalamus nympha (TR)
Bridal snake, Gata karavala,
Gata radanakaya
Gerarda prevostianus (TR)
Gerad's water snakePrevostge diyabariya, Diyavarana
Haplocercus ceylonensis (TR) END/G
The black-spine or mould snake,
Rath danda, Kurunkarawala
Liopeltis calamaria
Reed snake
Lycodon aulicus
Wolf snake, house snake
Alu radanakaya
Lycodon osmanhilli (TR) END
Flowery wolf snake
Mal radanakaya, Kunumee karavala >more...
Lycodon striatus END
Shaw's wolf snake
Kabara radanakaya
Macropisthodon plumbicolor
The green keelback END
Oligodon arnensis
Common kukri snake
Arani dathketiya
Oligodon calamarius (TR) END
Templeton’s  kukri snake
Kabara dathketiya
Oligodon sublineatus (TR) END
Dumerul's kukri snake
Pulli dathketiya
Oligodon taeniolatus END
The varigated kukri snake
Wairi dathketiya
Ptyas mucosa maxima ENDsb
Rat snake
Gerandiya (Kaha or Kalu) >more...
Sibynophis subpunctatus
Jerdon's polyodent
Dathigomariya, Pethigomaraya >more...
Xenochrophis asperrimus (TR) END
The checkered keelback
Diya Naya, Diya Polonga, Diya bariya >more...

Xenochrophis piscator
The checkered keelback
Diya Naya, Diya Bariya

   Family - Cylindrophiidare Fitzinger, 1843

They are the most evolutionary low snake species found in the world so far. It’s a small family with non poisonous snakes. It was first named under Family Aniliidae long ago & then was placed under the shield tails Uropeltidae. They are distributed in South-East Asia & Sri Lanka but not in south Indian zonal countries. These snakes are late arrivals of Sri Lanka & the only snake belonging to this family is Cylindrophis maculates which is also endemic.

Theses snakes are smaller in size than 1m & have cylindrical bodies, dorso-ventrally flattened & wedge shaped head contains non divided nasal scales. Very small eyes are covered by a permeable scale. There also covered by a brills. Tail is short & has a conical shape. They are special in having lost hind limbs presented as 2 fleshes at each side of ischiadic region.  

Their diet comprises of earth worms, amphibians & non poisonous snakes. They may even utilize preys that are larger than them.  Some of these snakes are known to be very colourful but all Asian snakes have black & white ventral bodies.

Cylindrophis maculata END
Pipe snake
Depath naya

   Family - Elapidae Boie, 1827

This family is represented by cobras, coral snakes & kraits. They are vastly spread in Australia & other countries except for European countries. Sri Lanka is well known for its cobras & kraits. There are 3 genera with 5 species present in Sri Lanka. Bungarus ceylonicus is endemic to Sri Lanka. This family consists of snakes with different body sizes. The largest highly venomous Ophiophagus Hannah (King cobra) grows up to 5.5m & is once recorded from Sri Lanka. The male snakes are mostly larger in size.

Most of them show morphological similarities to the family Colubridae but most lack loreal scales. They also have a pair of poison fangs at the front of the mouth which are fixed. These snakes contain a Proteroglyphous type of venomous system. They produce neurotoxic venom. Their bites cause the respiratory system fail & it’s fatal.

These snakes consist of terrestrial, arboreal & most are diurnal. They are oviparous & ovovoparous. They lay eggs in nests made of litter & female snakes are known to guard the eggs. Their diet consists of other snakes.

Bungarus caeruleus (TR)
The common krait
Thel karawala
Bungarus ceylonicus (TR) END
Sri Lankan krait
Mudu karawala
Calliophis melanurus
Sri Lanka coral snake
Depath kaluwa

Naja naja
Indian cobra
Naya, Nagaya

   Family - Hydrophidae Boie, 1827

These snakes are known as a family which is made of species including family Elapidae who have adapted to aquatic life. Therefore they bear paddle like laterally flattened tail, to help in swimming. Also they have a muscular flap in their nostrils which is used to close the nostrils when swimming avoiding water entering inside. There is only one lung which extends within the whole body. They can stay in water for many long hours & some are capable of getting oxygen that is dissolved in water. They also bear salinity receptors, which are sensitive to the changing salinity rates.

Most of them have flattened bodies, so they are very good swimmers, but are very weak in locomotion in terrestrial habitat. But sea kraits are an exception which has the ability of locomotion on terrestrial habitat due to having a less flattened body. Rostral of sea snakes are bent as a beak.

These snakes are mostly found in coastal areas & very few live in deep sea. They are mostly marine but also known to travel upriver, in tidal portions of rivers. No sea snakes are found in Atlantic Ocean because the temperature matter. There are 15 sea snakes in Sri Lanka according to the latest reports. They are more active at dusk & have the ability to trick prey by attaching algae & barnacles to their body. They are some times found in large groups. They are all ovoviviparous & breeding occur entirely in the ocean. The exception is Laticauda, which are oviparous laying eggs in coastal area holes.

They all have a proteroglyphous venom system. All sea snakes are highly venomous but less aggressive. Also the chance of them meeting a human is less. Therefore attacks recorded are much less. Short fangs at the back of the upper jaws are non movable.

Astrotia stokesi
Stoke's sea snake
Enhydrina schistosa
Hook nose sea snake
Hydrophis bituberculatus
Peter's sea snake
Peterge muhudu unaya
Hydrophis cyanocinctus
The chittul
Wairan muhudu naya
Hydrophis gracilis
John's sea snake
Kudahis muhudu naya
Hydrophis lapemoides
Persian Gulf sea snake
Persiyanu bokke Muhudunaya >more...
Hydrophis ornatus ornatus
Gray's sea snake
Grayge muhudu unaya
Hydrophis spiralis
Narrow banded sea snake
Sihin muhudu naya
Hydrophis stricticollis
Gunther's sea snake
Guntherge muhudu naya
Kerilia jerdonii
Jerdon's sea snake
Jerdonge muhudu naya
Laticauda colubrina Yellow-lipped Sea Krait
Thola kaha muhudu karawala
Lapemis curtus
Shaw's sea snake
Shawge kuda muhudu naya
Pelamis platurus
Yellow bellied sea snake
Badakaha muhudu naya

Thalassophina viperina
Schmidt's sea snake
Polon muhudu naya

   Family - Typhlopidae Merrum, 1820

This family includes early arrivals snakes. They are primitive, very small, externally worm like & cylindrical body snakes. The scales are shiny & contiguous. They are fossorial & found under & inside decaying logs, under rocks, leaf litter & loose soil. They appear on land during rain, when they are flooded out of their subterranean haunts. Their bodies are well camouflaged due to mostly being brown colour.

Some bear tails with a terminal spine. They use it in locomotion & to sting when threatened. They release an unpleasant odor when threatened. Eyes are covered with permeable scales. They are known as blind snakes.

The teeth are present only in maxilla & teeth lack in pre-maxilla & mandible. They feed on insect eggs, larvae & adult insects such as ants, termites & even worms. They are non venomous & do not bite. Except for one species others are oviparous. The exception is parthenogenesis. 

There are 2 genera found in Sri Lanka including 10 species. The 2 genera are Typhlops & Ramphotyphlops. Except for the Ramphotyphlops braminus (distributed in many other countries) & Typhlops porrectus (also distributed in India), other species are endemic to Sri Lanka. 5 species that were found by Tylor from Trincomalee were never found after 1944, so there are many complications in this family.

Ramphotyphlops braminus
Common blind snake
Dumuta Kanaulla
Typhlops ceylonicus (HR) END
Smith’s blind snake
Smithge kanaulla
Typhlops lankaensis (HT) END
Lanka blind snake
Lak kanaulla
Typhlops leucomelas (TR) END
Pied typhlops
Dewarna kanaulla
Typhlops malcolmi (DD*) END
Malcolm’s blind snake
Malcomge kanaulla
Typhlops mirus (TR) END
Jan's blind snake
Heen kanaulla
Typhlops porrectus (TR)
Stoliczka’s blind snake
Stoliczkage kanaulla
Typhlops tenebrarum (DD*) END
Taylors blind snake
Taylorge kanaulla
Typhlops veddae (DD*) END
Veddha’s blind snake
Veddage kanaulla

Typhlops violaceus (DD*) END
Viloet blind snake
Dan kanaulla

   Family - Uropeltidae
Platyplectrurus madurensis ruhunae END
Pseudotyphlops philippinus (DD*) END/G, Large shield tail
Maha bim ulla, Maha polawa paliya
Rhinophis blythii (TR) END
Blyth's earth Snake
Rhinophis dorsimaculatus (HT) END
Orange shield tail
Thambapani walga ebaya
Rhinophis drummondhayi (DD*) END
Drummond-Hay’s earth snake/
Rhinophis homolepis (TR) END
Kelaarts earth snake
Rhinophis oxyrhynchus (TR) END
Schneider's earth snake
Rhinophis philippinus (TR) END
Cuvier's earth snake
Cuvierge walga ebaya
Rhinophis porrectus (DD) END
Willey's earth snake
Rhinophis punctatus (DD*) END
Muller's earth snake
Rhinophis tricoloratus (TR) END
Deraniyagala’s shield tail
Deraniyagalage walga ebaya
Uropeltis phillipsi (DD*) END
Phillip's shield tail
Uropeltis ruhunae (HT) END

Uropeltis melanogaster (DD) END
Black shield tail

   Family - Viperidae Boie, 1827

There are 4 types of genus of this family found in Sri Lanka. Out of them except for Trimeresurus trigonocephalus (Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper) which is an arboreal snake, the others are terrestrial. Snakes in this family have small or mid sized bodies & bear a characteristic flattened, triangular, large heads. The head bear many small shields. Ventral scales are broad in size. Most species have keels on their scales. They have large eyes with vertical, eclipsed pupil. The body consists of a short tail & some have the prehensile ability. Many snakes of this family have brown shades of body colours.

According to the presence of loreal pits they are included in a sub family Crotalinae (pit vipers). These sensory pits on the snout acts as thermal detectors for locating warm bodied prey, such as small mammals. Most snakes are not very active & are nocturnal. Most snakes are ovoviviparous & produce young ones. Other species that produce eggs are known to guard them.

They are the most evolutionary advanced & most specialized of the venomous snakes. They are capable of delivering their venom during a bite through enlarged fangs that are foldable & hollow, like hypodermic needles. They consist of a solenoglyphous venomous system. Their venom is haemotoxic, affecting the blood, & a bite from one of the larger species is excruciatingly painful. The Sri Lankan population of this species apparently has both haemotoxic & neurotoxic properties. The world’s longest venomous snake Bitis gabonia (Gaboon Viper) belongs to this family. Highly venomous & moderately venomous snakes of this family include in Sri Lanka.

Daboia russelli
Russell's viper
Tith polonga
Echis carinatus
Saw scale viper
Vali polonga
Hypnale hypnale
Merrem's Hump nosed viper
Hypnale nepa (TR) END
Merrem's hump-nosed viper
Mukalan thelissa
Hypnale walli (TR) END
Gloyd's Hump-nosed viper
Mukalan thelissa

Trimeresurus trigonocephalus
Green pit viper
Pala Polonga >more...

Copyright © 1997 –2009 www.srilankareptile.com. All rights reserved.
We believe that any data are open and can be used by all mankind to obtain knowledge. Therefore our site information is opened to be used for your requirements by informing us.  If it’s a publication, you should mention about our site and a copy should be sent to us.
For better view

Set resolution 1024x768 or higher