Introduction to Snakes of Sri Lanka

Green Pit Viper | Snakes of Sri Lanka | Yesitha Rodrigo ©
Green Pit Viper | Snakes of Sri Lanka | Yesitha Rodrigo ©
Green Pit Viper | Snakes of Sri Lanka
Green Pit Viper | Snakes of Sri Lanka | Yesitha Rodrigo ©

Introduction to Snakes

Snakes unlike other animals are feared by many all around the world. Some reasons for this are that many people believe that snakes have a wet and smiley feel to them yet they have leathery dry skin and also because snakes have an odd appearance compared with other animals and also we believe that all snakes are venomous.

Not all snake possess venom the majority of species are Non-venomous. The reason that some snakes have Venom is to help them hunt and kill their pray easily. The Non-venomous  species hunt by constricting and suffocating their prey

All snakes are carnivores feeding on various types of pray like anything from animals like large mammals such as deer and other small mammals including rodents, birds and bird’s egg, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, insects, worms, snails, and other reptiles and their eggs and even other snakes.  There are NO records of snakes feed on humans with proper scientific evidence.

Most species of snakes aren’t aggressive at all but they have a terrible reputation about them being out to attack humans. They will usually retreat from any form of danger that they may detect around them. However, if they start to feel like they are in trouble they will strike in order to protect themselves.

Snakes are cold-blooded which is why they do need warmer temperatures to help them survive. They do like to live in wet climates but some of them live in areas where it is dry such a the desert. This will occur many times over the span of their life.

Scales on snake

snakes of sri lanka
snakes of Sri Lanka
ag – Anterior genials or Chin shields
f – Frontal
in – Internasal
l – Loreal
la – Supralabial
la’ – Infralabial
m – Mental
n – Nasal
p – Parietal
pf – Prefrontal
pg – Posterior Genials or Chin shields
pro – Preocular
pso – Presubocular
pto – Postocular
r – Rostral
so – Supraocular
t – Anterior and Posterior Temporals
v – First Ventral

Snakes, as different reptiles, have skin shrouded in scales. Snakes are completely secured with scales or scutes of different shapes and sizes, referred to as snakeskin all in all. A scale secures the body of the snake, helps it in movement, allows moisture to be held inside, changes the surface attributes, for example, harshness to help in cover, and sometimes even guides in prey catch, (for example, Acrochordus). The straightforward or complex coloration designs (which help in cover and against predator show) are a property of the fundamental skin, however, the given idea of scaled skin folded nature of scaled skin allows clear skin to be concealed between scales at that point uncovered so as to frighten predators.

Scales have been changed over time to help other functions such as ‘eyelash’ edges, and shielding covers for the eyes with the most unique change being the rattle of the North American rattlesnakes.

Snakes occasionally shed their textured skins and get new ones. This grants substitution of old destroyed skin, removal of parasites, and is thought to permit the snake to develop. The game plan of scales is utilized to distinguish snake species.

Elements of scales

Elements of scales

The sizes of a snake essentially serve to decrease friction as it moves since contact is the significant wellspring of energy loss in snake speed.

Rainbow boas get their name from the shading of their scales brought about by glow.

The ventral (or abdomen) scales, which are enormous and elongated, are particularly low-friction, and some arboreal species can utilize the edges to grasp branches. Snakeskin and scales help hold moisture in the creature’s body. Snakes get vibrations from both the air and the ground and can separate the two, using a complex arrangement of interior resonances

Anatomy of a snake


Sense Organs

The sense organs of snakes are particularly unique in relation to those of warm-blooded animals and different creatures. In contrast to warm-blooded creatures, which basically depend on their sight and hearing, snakes depend fundamentally on their faculties of smell and contact. They don’t have moveable eyelids, however, straightforward tops called “brille” as defensive eye covers. Along these lines, their eye development is genuinely restricted. They likewise don’t have an outside ear, center ear, or tympanic layer (eardrum). Rather, they utilize a small ossicle (ear bone), called the “columella,” to identify vibrations of sound waves led through the ground. They can get some solid waves led through the air, however just at exceptionally low frequencies.

Snakes likewise smell in a totally different manner than warm-blooded creatures. Well evolved creatures carry air particles into contact with the olfactory (smelling) nerves by breathing them into the nasal pits through the nostrils. Snakes have the two nostrils and nasal pits, however, they are not used to smell. Rather, the flicking tongue is really a smelling gadget. There is a little organ on the top of the oral hole called the “vomeronasal organ”, or “Jacobson’s organ.” The forked tongue is accustomed to carry minute air particles into contact with this organ, and the snake at that point sees and recognizes the smell like prey, predator, or something else. In this way, in contrast to well-evolved creatures, the tongue isn’t utilized to taste or help in gulping, however essentially as an embellishment smelling organ.

A few snakes additionally have a “6 sense” that well-evolved creatures and many different reptiles can’t gloat. Snakes, diamondbacks, and different individuals from the group of snakes known as the ‘pit snakes’ have unique pits situated between their eyes and nostrils. The pits are utilized to detect minute temperature changes as infrared beams, as a guide in finding warm-blooded prey, for example, rodents. A pit has two chambers. The inside chamber is normally the inner temperature of the snake itself. The outside chamber warms up when it is near a warm source, and the snake is then ready to recognize the temperature distinction between the two chambers. This framework is exact to such an extent that pit snakes are really ready to distinguish temperature changes as meager as 0.002° Celsius.

Types of fangs

Types of fangs
Types of fangs
snakes of sri lanka
snakes of Sri Lanka

Skeleton and Teeth

Snake skeletons are not extremely complex since they don’t have any limbs (appendages). A couple of animal types, for example, boas and pythons, hold some minimal structures like pelvic bones. In certain species, these can even be seen remotely and are classified “spikes.” These structures are regularly utilized in multiplication. Every single other snake just has vertebrae, ribs, and a skull. Snakes can have between 130-500 vertebrae, with ribs connected to everyone. This does exclude the bones in the tail segment, however just those that are front to the cloaca (practically equivalent to the rear-end in warm-blooded creatures).

An exceptional piece of the snake skeleton is the cosmetics of the skull and teeth. Adjustments in the skull permit snake to eat prey a lot bigger than themselves. The bones are associated with versatile tendons, permitting a ton of stretch. The joint of the upper and lower jaws is set exceptionally back (far back) in the skull, permitting the mouth to open as wide as could be expected under the circumstances. Additionally, the bones of the lower jaw are not melded at the front, which implies, they can move along the side when the snake is gulping enormous prey. Likewise, a snake has an extra approximately joined bone called a “quadrate” on each side. This gives a “twofold pivot” at the joint and as a snake swallows, it, on the other hand, moves the jaws on each side of the face and “strolls” the prey into its mouth. Another adjustment that causes the snake to swallow prey is the retrogressive bend of the teeth. They are calculated toward the throat and go about as snares to keep live prey from squirming free. Snake teeth are both acrodont (appended deep down) and polyphyodont (ready to develop back when lost), and a snake may have a few arrangements of teeth all through its lifetime. This is vital, in light of the fact that teeth are frequently lost while taking care of them. The sort of teeth a snake has varies relying upon the strategy used to catch and slaughter prey.

There are three sorts of snake dentition:

Constrictor dentition: Most snakes have two columns of teeth on every upper jaw and one line on each lower jaw. The entirety of the teeth are short and snare like. All non-noxious snakes have constrictor dentition, whether or not or not they really contract their prey. Noxious snakes have either grooved fangs or hollow fangs.

Groove fanged: Fanged snakes have just one column of teeth on every upper jaw, in addition to a couple of fangs. The tooth has a groove that fills in as a way for the venom to stream into the prey from the venom organs situated on the highest point of the head.

Hollow fangs: The teeth of the hollow-fanged snakes fill a similar need as grooved fangs, yet the fangs are increasingly similar to a hypodermic needle through which the venom streams. These fangs can be either erectile or fixed. The erectile teeth are withdrawn into a groove on the top of the mouth and stretch out when the mouth opens to strike, however, fixed fangs are constantly broadened.


How to Treat Snake Bites in the Wilderness

Despite what we see on T.V., snakes typically don’t bite people unprovoked, and not all snake bites are deadly. If you are bitten by a snake (venomous or non-venomous) while out in the wilderness, what can be an already stressful and…


Introduction to Snakes of Sri Lanka

There are 106 scientifically described species in Sri Lanka.  And many more yet to be described. 53 species out of this 106 are endemic to Sri Lanka and found for where else on earth.

snakes in Sri Lanka can be classified into six superfamilies, 11 families(Acrochordidae, Boidae, Colubridae, Cylindrophiidae, Elapidae, Gerrhopilidae, Homalopsidae, Pythonidae, Typhlopidae, Uropeltidae and Viperidae), with 9 subfamilies, and 37 genera.


These 106 species are categorized according to their venom.

  • 22 – Highly Venomous
  • 5 – Moderately Venomous
  • 13 – slightly Venomous
  • 66 – Non-Venomous

As you can see above the majority of these snakes are completely harmless and even from the 22 species of the highly venomous snakes. 15 of them are sea snakes often found tangled in fishing nets or dead snakes washed up onshore. these snakes rarely bite and many of us have a slim chance of encountering them. The remaining 7 species include two species of coral snakes. these snakes are so small that their fangs can’t even penetrate human skin.

So in reality we have to only worry about 5 species of snake that posse a threat to humans. These snakes are

  • Common Krait (Bungarus caeruleus)
  • Sri Lankan Krait  (Bangarus ceylonicus)
  • Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja)
  • Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelii)
  • Saw Scaled Viper (Echis carinatus)


Snakes in Sri Lanka are found in all sorts of ecosystems from Montane forests down to lagoons and estuaries.  all over the island even in the most urbanized cities snake are found with each species well evolved to thrive in these habitats.

snakes play a vital role in our ecosystems even with us not acknowledging it. snakes control the overpopulation of rodents. a fertile female rat could give birth to about 6-12 pups per litter these pups will reach sexual maturity in 4-5 weeks rats can have up 17 litters pre-year in a life span of 2 years a Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) Could have 240-408 pups rats carry countless diseases such as Leptospirosis and many more and also carry parasites like lungworm.

A world without snakes would be certainty inhospitable!




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