WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka's venomous snakes and their habitat

@ The Island  By Aryadasa Ratnasinghe

According to Sri Lanka National Museum's Manuscript Series (Vol. VIII) and the Sinhala Palm Leaf Manuscripts Medical Vol. IV (Treatment for snake bites), there are five kinds of venomous snakes in Sri Lanka. They are the Mapila (Cat-snake), the Karawala (Krait), the Naya (Cobra), the Tit-polonga (Russell's viper) and the Kunakatuwa (Humped-nose viper).


For purpose of identity, they have been described as follows: ''The mapila's pupil of the eye is vertical and slit-like, the neck is narrower than the head and the body is usually compressed. The row of scales along the top of the back is enlarged, Mapilas are tree-dwelling snakes of which four species are found in Sri Lanka. Some are light-brown, others are dark-brown or light-red, and they either possess dark cross bars or blotches, or lack such markings. They are venomous.

Read Full Text in Virtual Library - Sri Lanka