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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 5 Reptiles of Sinharaja – Making New Discoveries
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Reptiles of Sinharaja – Making New Discoveries

Rich in biodiversity, the Sinharaja Rainforest in Sri Lanka also features a diverse range of reptile species including snakes and lizards. Here are the top five reptile species that call this rainforest home.


Green Pit Viper

Endemic to Sri Lanka, the Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus) is a species of snake one may see in the foliage of Sinharaja. While male species grow to a length of around 60 to 75 cm, female species are considerably longer, reaching lengths of around 130 cm. This kind of snake has a triangular shaped head and medium sized eyes. While the female species are mostly green, male pit viper species usually have a blue tinge to them. The female will generally give birth to around 5 to 25 young. The Green Pit Viper is a nocturnal species as well as being arboreal, mostly found in the trees, where it is well camouflaged in the greenery.


Russell's Viper

A snake species that is known for being highly venomous, the Russell's Viper (Vipera russelli) is known locally by names such as "Geta Polaga" and "Thith Polaga". Named after Patrick Russell, a herpetologist from Scotland, this snake species can also be found in many other Asian countries including India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Known to reach lengths of around 124 cm, the Russell's Viper has a triangular shaped head that is flattened. Litters of this species generally number between 20 to 40 in number. The Russell's Viper is a mostly nocturnal reptile and feeds mainly on rodents.


Sri Lanka Krait

Locally referred to as "Mudu Karawalaa", the Sri Lanka Krait (Bungarus ceylonicus) generally can be found amidst a forest's leaf litter. This endemic species can grow to lengths of around 75 cm and is known for its highly potent venom. The skin is generally black in colour with white bands. This nocturnal snake usually feeds on rats, small reptiles and frogs.


Earless Lizard

Commonly found on the forest floor, the Earless Lizard (Otocryptis nigristigma) is another endemic reptile species that can be seen in Sinharaja. This lizard is also known as the Kangaroo Lizard, due to the fact that it can leap quite a big distance, several times more than its body length. You may have the chance of spotting this species while on forest tours while staying at a Sinharaja eco lodge. Sri Lanka offers nature lovers a chance to truly immerse themselves in such forests with eco friendly properties like The Rainforest Ecolodge – Sinharaja located within this biodiversity hotspot. When exploring keep your eye out on the ground; you may see an Earless Lizard on a rock sunning itself or enjoying a shady retreat amidst the leaves on the ground.


Hump-nosed Lizard

Sri Lanka's largest lizard species, the Hump-nosed Lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus) is an endemic lizard species that can be found in Sinharaja. Also called the "Lyreshead Lizard", this species can change the colour of its body and is known to "play dead" when it feels threatened. It generally eats earthworms, fruits and insects such as butterflies and termites. The Hump-nosed Lizard is active during the daytime and spends nights asleep in the trees.