Reptiles

Reptiles are usually hard to see on a general tour if no special attention is given. However, many of the reptiles listed below are not difficult to find on a special reptile watching tour.

If a bird watching or a general wildlife tour is carried out with an interest in this faunal group, what a visitor would come across are tetrapod reptiles (crocodiles, lizards etc.). Snakes (serpentoid reptiles) are difficult to meet with on such tours unless one pays particular attention to find them.

There are 183 species of reptiles recorded in Sri Lanka, out of which 92 are snakes, 72 lizards, 8 turtles and one tortoise. In Sri Lanka there 46 endemic species of snake and 48 endemic lizards (Saurian).

The table below shows the number of possible sites for each species and the number of chances available to try for them on each itinerary.

The list below is based on A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Sri Lanka (2005) by I. Das and A. De Silva. and The Fauna of Sri Lanka. Status of Taxonomy, Research and Conservation. 2006. Edited by C N B Bambaradeniya. IUCN

Note: If the number of ‘chances’ for a species is more than the number of ‘sites’ this indicates that the possibility of finding that species is significantly high and thus it can be expected to be seen on most of our tours. Such species usually seen on most tours are also indicated with: #

Species Number of possible sites and chances in each itinerary
Itinerary 1 Itinerary 2 Itinerary 3 Itinerary 4
Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances
Snakes
Python molurus Indian python 5 5 5 5 6 6 4 4
Ahaetulla nasuta  Green vine snake  # 7 7 7 7 7 7 5 5
Amphiesma stolatum  Buff striped keelback 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4
Aspidura copei Cope’s roughside E 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Aspidura trachyprocta Common roughside E 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Boiga ceylonensis Sri Lanka cat snake 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Boiga forsteni  Forsten’s cat snake 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Boiga trigonatus Gamma cat snake 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Cercaspis carinata  The Sri Lanka wolf snake  E 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Coeloganthus helena Trinket snake 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Dendrelaphis bifrenalis  Boulenger’s bronze back 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Dendrelaphis tristis Common bronze back  3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Lycodon aulicus Wolf snake, house snake 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Species Number of possible sites and chances in each itinerary
Itinerary 1 Itinerary 2 Itinerary 3 Itinerary 4
Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances
Snakes                
Lycodon osmanhilli Flowery wolf snake  E 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Lycodon striatus Shaw’s wolf snake      E  1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Oligodon arnensis Common kukri snake, Banded Kukri,  2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Oligodon calamarius Templeton’s kukri snake,  E 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Oligodon sublineatus Dumerul’s kuki snake  E 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Oligodon taeniolata Variegated kukri snake  E 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Ptyas mucosa Rat snake # 6 8 6 8 6 8 6 8
Xenochrophis asperrimus The checkered keelback, E  # 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Xenochrophis piscator The Checkered keelback,  4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Bungarus caeruleus The common krait 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Naja naja Indian cobra 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Daboia russelii Russell’s viper 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Hypnale hypnale The Merrem’s Hump nose viper 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Trimeresurus trigonocephalus Green pit viper  E 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
                 
Lizard                
Calotes calotes Green garden lizard # 12 14 12 14 12 14 10 11
Calotes ceylonensis Painted lip lizard  E 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Calotes liolepis Whistling lizard, Forest lizard  E *1 2 *1 1 *1 1    
Calotes nigrilabris  Black cheek lizard  E 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Calotes versicolor Common garden lizard # 20 35 22 40 22 36 18 30
Ceratophora aspera Rough horn lizard  E 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Ceratophora stoddartii Rhinohorn lizard  E# 4 5 4 5 4 5 4 5
Species Number of possible sites and chances in each itinerary
Itinerary 1 Itinerary 2 Itinerary 3 Itinerary 4
Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances
Ceratophora tennentii Leafnose lizard  E *1 2 *1 2 *1 2    
Cophotis ceylanica  Pygmy lizard,  E 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Lyriocephalus scutatus  Lyre head lizard,  E# 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Otocryptis nigristigma Black spotted kangaroo lizard, E 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Otocryptis wiegmanni Sri Lankan kangaroo lizard E# 5 10 5 10 5 10 5 10
Sitana ponticeriana Fanthroat lizard,  1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
                 
Chamaeleo zeylanicus Sri Lankan Chameleon,          2 2    
                 
Calodactylodes illingworthorum Sri Lankan golden gecko E # 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Cnemaspis jerdoni Jerdon’s day gecko    E #                
Cnemaspis scalpensis Rocky day gecko 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Cnemaspis kandiana Kandyan day gecko # 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Cnemaspis podihuna Dwarf day gecko  E                
Geckoella triedrus  Spotted bowfinger gecko, E # 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 3
Gehyra mutilata  Four-claw gecko     E# 10 12 10 12 10 12 8 10
Hemidactylus brookii Spotted housegecko # 10 12 10 12 10 12 8 10
Hemidactylus depressus  Kandyan gecko 5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2
Hemidactylusfrenatus  Asian House gecko 10 12 10 12 10 12 8 10
Hemidactylus maculatus Spotted giant gecko or Rock gecko.  3 4 3 4 3 4 2 2
Hemidactylus triedrus Termite hill gecko,  5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2
Hemiphyllodactylus typus Slender gecko,  5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2
Species Number of possible sites and chances in each itinerary
Itinerary 1 Itinerary 2 Itinerary 3 Itinerary 4
Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances Sites Chances
Ophisops leschenaultii Leschenault’s Snake eye Lizard, E     1 2        
                 
Dasia halianus Haly’s treeskink 1 1 1 1 1 1    
Lankascincus fallax Common lankaskink   E# 4 5 4 5 4 5 3 4
Mabuya carinata Common skink # 8 10 8 10 8 10 6 7
Mabuya macularia Bronzegreen little skink 5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2
Mabuya madaraszi  Spotted skink    E # 8 8 8 8 8 8 5 5
                 
Varanus bengalensis Land monitor # 10 15 10 15 13 20 8 10
Varanus salvator Water monitor # 10 11 10 11 13 15 8 9
                 
Crocodylus paluster  Mugger or Marsh Crocodile # 4 7 5 8 4 7 4 7
Crocodylus porosus Estuarine Crocodile 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1
                 
Turtles                
Melanochelys trijuga Black Turtle # 6 6 7 7 6 6 6 6
                 
Caretta caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle      * 1 1 * 1 1 * 1 1
Chelonia mydas Green turtle             * 1 2 * 1 2 * 1 2
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill Sea Turtle.         * 1 1 * 1 1 * 1 1
Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley Sea Turtle * 1 1 * 1 1 * 1 1
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback Sea Turtle * 1 1 * 1 1 * 1 1
Geochelone elegans Indian Star Tortoise 4 4 5 5 4 4 2 2
                 
Lissemys punctata Flapshell Turtle # 6 8 7 9 6 8 6 8