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 The reptilian fauna of Sinharaja is represented by 45 species, of while 21 are endemic. This includes a large proportion of snakes, several lizards, tortoises and skinks (Table 9). Among the snakes, two very rare species have been recorded. These are the burrowing fossorial species Rhinophis tricolorata and Haploceros ceylonensis. Rhinophis was first described as recently as 1975 and was sighted at Sinharaja in 1982, the first time it was found in the wild. Haploceros was considered to be a rare montane species found at elevations of 1,700 to 2,300 meters, until it was recorded in Sinharaja at elevations of 300 to 500 meters

                    Among the venomous species that occur in the forest are the Green-pitviper while is arboreal, the Hump-nosed Viper and the Krait while frequents the forest floor. The Cobra is seen occasionally while the Russel's Viper has been observed in secondary vegetation, although not seen in the undisturbed forest.

                    Among the lizards, the commonest is the familiar Green Garden Lizard. Several rare and endemic species of lizards are found in the forest (Table 11). Among these are Calotes liopepis, an arboreal species while is one of the rarest the island, the Hump-nosed Lizard, the largest lizard in the island; the Earless Lizard and the Rough-nose Horned Lizard are species of the forest floor with very restricted distribution being confined to undisturbed rain forests. A few species of geckos are also common.

 The skinks found in the wet-zone of Sri Lanka are of evolutionary significance. The five genera of limbless lizards or the Acintoniae exhibit a progressive series from limbed to limbless forms. The only other centres of distribution of these genera are Madagascar and South Africa. In the Sinharaja, this group is represented by Nessia burtoni or the Three-toed Skink, an endemic genus. However, it is most likely that several more species of unidentified skinks may be present. 


Some common and important reptiles of Sinharaja.


Common Name

Species Name

  *Green-pit Viper  Trimerasurus trinoncephalus
   Merrem's Hump-nosed Viper  Hypnale hypnale
   Walli's Hump-nosed Viper  Hypnale walli
   Russell's Viper  Vipera russelli
  *Sri Lanka Krait  Bungarus ceylonicus
   Common Cobra  Naja naja 
  *Sri Lanka Wolf-snake    Cercaspis carinatus
  *Barnes Cat Snake   Boiga barnesi
  *Kukri snake  Oligodon calamarius
  *Dumeril's Kukri Snake  Oligodon sublinensis
 **Blossom Krait  Balanophis ceylonensis
 **Drummond-hays Rough Snake  Aspidura drummondhayi
  *Gunther's Bronze-back  Dendrelaphis caudolineolatus
   Green-whip Snake  Dryophis nasutus
   Brown-speckled Whip Snake  Dryophis pulverulentus
   Ornate Flying Snake  Chrysopelea ornata
  *Chequered Keelback  Xenochrophis asperrimus
   Python  Python molurus
  *Sri Lanka Pipe Snake   Cylindrophis maculatus
  *Deraniyagala's Earth Snake  Rhinophis tricolorata
 **Black-spined Snake  Haplocercus ceylonensis
Lizards and Geckoes
   Green Garden Lizerd  Calotes calotes
  *-  Calotes liolepis
 **Hump-nosed Lizard  Lyiocephalus scutatus
  *Earless Lizard  Otriocephalus scutatus
 **Rough-nose Horned Lizard  Ceratophora aspera
  *Great Forest Gecko   Gymnodactylus frenatus
   Jungle Gecko  Cnemaspis kandianus
   Water Monitor  Varanus monitor
   Rat-snake Skink  Mabuya carinata
   Spotted Skink  Mabuya macularia
Smooth Skink  Sphenomorphus taprobanensis
 **Three-toed Snake Skink  Nessia burtoni

* Endemic species ** Endemic genera