Endemic Uropeltid Snakes of Sri Lanka

01. Blyth’s Shield Tail      Rhinophis blythii  (Kelaart, 1853)          S: Gomarathudulla




A burrowing snake found in humus and under leaf litter, and is sometimes found among the roots of plantain (banana), silted drains within tea estates, and in vegetable beds, generally in small colonies. Reported from the midhills such as Pussellawa, Hatton, Lindulla, Balangoda, Pundalu Oya and Kotagala.

FFPO: Protected

02.Drummond-Hay’s Shield Tail     Rhinophis drummondhayi        (Wall,1921)


A Shield Tail from the midhills of Sri Lanka. Inhabits silted drains within tea estates and under decaying vegetation and logs and humus near cattle sheds. Reported from Namunukula, Haldumulla and Uva Patana.

03. Hemprich’s Shield Tail      Rhinophis homolepis           S : Depaththudulla

A common midhills species found in loose soil in forest edges and agricultural land as well as cattle sheds; it stays in a group of 3-8 individuals with a relatively circumscribed area. Known localities include Gampola, Peradeniya, Ratnapura, Yatiyantota, Weligalla, in the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.


04. Rhinophis dorsimaculatus             ( Deraniyagala, 1941)


A non venomous, fossorial snake which is nocturnal in habits. Known only from Marichukate in the North Western Province. The collection locality Marichukate implies that it is confined to the lowlands of the dry zone where thevegetation is scrub jungle.

FFPO: Protected

05. Schneider’s Earth Snake         Rhinophis oxyrhynchus       (Schneider, 1801)



A large fossorial snake which is nocturnal in habits. It burrows in to the soil or may be found underneath decaying heaps of leaves and debris. Mainly confined to the dry zone low lands. Known localities include Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya and Mulativu.

FFPO: Protected


06.Cuvier’s Earth Snake               Rhinophis philippinus          (Cuvier, 1829)


A fossorial snake. During the day they live in their fossorial niches, which may be silt in drains in tree plantations. Found in soil and humus near cattle sheds and vegetable gardens. Some were observed near the roots of plantain trees. Confined to the second peneplain of the wet and intermediate zones, specially the Sabaragamuwa Province. Known localities include Balangoda, Yatiyantota, Bulutota and Rakwana in Sabaragamuwa Province.

FFPO: Protected


07. Willey’s Earth Snake            Rhinophis porrectus             (Wall, 1921)          S: Digthudulla


A non venomous, fossorial snake. The collection localities suggest that it is mainly confined to the dry arid zone of the low lands. Found in North Western Province.

08. Muller’s Earth Snake         Rhinophis punctatus                (Muller, 1832)          S: Ticthudulla


A fossorial snake which is nocturnal in habits. Non venomous snake. The collection localities suggest that it is mainly confined to the second peneplain of the wet zone. Found from Peradeniya in the Central Province.


09. Rhinophis tricoloratus    Deraniyagala, 1975


Fossorial snake found beneath soil surface in the forest clearing of Sinharaja Rain Forest. The collection locality suggests it is yet confined to the wet zone rain forests of the first and second peneplains. Locality is Miyanpalava in Sinharaja Forest.

FFPO: Protected


10. Trevelyan’s Earth Snake   Rhinophis trevelyanus     (Kelaart, 1853)          S:Depaththudulla


This common fossorial snake is nocturnal in habits. Live in loose soils near paddy fields, vegetable beds and plantain grooves, cattle sheds and usually close to some water source. Mainly found in the wet zone second peneplain. Known localities include Ratnapura, Yatiyantota, Peradeniya, Welligalla, Gampola.

FFPO: Protected


11. Platyplectrurus madurensis ruhunae   (Deraniyagala, 1954)

Known only from the type specimen.Habits and habitat have not been recorded nor observed of this fossorial and non venomous snake. Found in Galle in Southern Province (suggests that it is found in the wet zone first peneplain; known from the type locality only).
12. Large Shield Tail   Pseudotyphlops philippinus  (Schlegel, 1839)          S:Maha bim ulla
A relict genus. A fossorial, nocturnal, non venomous snake. Lives in soil and humus near agricultural fields. Mainly confined to the three peneplains of the wet and intermediate zones. Localities include Namunukula, Hambegamuwa in Uva Province, Matara, Kirinda, Weeraketiya in Southern Province and Timbulkatiya in Sabaragamuwa Province.  
13. Black – bellied Shield Tail    Uropeltis melanogaster     (Gray, 1858)          S: Kaluwakatulla
Fossorial snake which spends the day buried in the loose soils, near vegetable beds, groves of plantain, in silted up drains and leaf litter. Known locality is Hantana, near Kandy, and also the Knuckles range.

14. Phillips’ Shield Tail              Uropeltis phillpsi             ( Nicholls, 1929)              S: Iriwakatulla 

A brightly coloured Shield Tail from the montane forests from the Knuckles Range. A fossorial species burrowing in vegetable beds, silted – up drains in tea states and under leaf litter. This endemic species known only from the east Matale hills of the Knuckles, including Mousakanda and Gammaduwa.
15. Southern Earth Snake              Uropeltis ruhunae    ( Deraniyagala, 1954)           S: Ruhunu Wakatulla
16. Rhinophis erangaviraji, Eranga Viraj”s Shieldtail Snanke (Wickramasinghe, Vidanapathirana, Wickramasinghe & Ranwella, 2009)































































"Ellangaawa" A unity care for community & Nature | No:1/112, Hapugoda | Ambatenna | Sri Lanaka. 20136.