Sri Lankan Snakes

Snakes are lengthened, legless and carnivorous reptiles. It can be classed into the suborder two Serpentes (ophipidia). It is also known Sri Lanka is a country which is rich in biological diversity. It is ranked as first in Asia in related to biodiversity per unit area, as well as recognized as one of the 8th Hottest Hotspot out of all 25 the international Hotspots.

Introduction of snakes

Sri Lanka consists of variety of habitats. Sri Lanka has about 93 species of both the land and sea snakes. It is also estimated that there are 800 deaths annually which results from about 65,000 snake bites in Sri Lanka.

There are about six types of venomous snakes namely haematotoxins (blood), endocrine toxins (hormone systems), cardiovascular (heart), neurotoxins (nerve system), myotoxins (muscles) and nphrotoxins (kidney). Sri Lanka has about 97 species of snakes out of which, 46 are endemic species, 5 are endemic genera and another 5 are endemic sub species.

Identification of snakes in Sri Lanka

Snakes have an elongated and cylindrical shaped body. The most distinguished characteristic is the absence of limbs. Snakes can be categorized as the carnivorous and predators. In Sri Lanka there are venomous and non venomous snakes.

Family Acrochordidae (Wart Snakes)

These snakes are heavy bodies with very small scales of granular texture patterns. These snakes are mostly found in blackish water which is adapted to aquatic life. Most of these wart snakes are non poisonous. It is known in Sinhala language as Diyagoya or Redi naya.

Family Typlopidae (Blind snake)

These snakes are considered as the most diminutive and the primitive ones. There are about ten recorded species and two of which are endemic to the island. This snake is adapted to the fossorial lifestyle and are non venomous.

Family Uropeltidae (Shield-tailed snakes)

There are about 14 uropeltidae snakes out of them 13 are endemic to the island, which are primitive and adapted to fossorial lifestyle.

Family Cylindrophiidae (Pipe snakes)

Pipe snakes are primitive to Sri Lanka which earlier belongs to the Aniliidae family and later to Uropeltidae.

Family Pythonidae (Pythons)

This is longest snake in the world. Sri Lankans believe this to be most venomous fang.


There are venomous and non venomous snakes in Sri lanka.Some of the other snakes in the Island are Family Boidae (Boas), Colubridae (Colubrid) snakes, Cobra and Viperidae ( Vipers & Pit Vipers)