Saturday, September 11, 2010

තිත් පොළඟා/දාර පොළඟා[Thith Polonga/ Dhaara Polaga]/Russell’s viper(Daboia russelii)

Russell’s viper is a highly venomous ground-dwelling snake with wide distribution from sea level to mid-hills of about 1500m a.s.l. But relatively common in dry zone shrub lands and grass lands. It is responsible for large number of human mortalities in agricultural districts since they are common in such anthropogenic habitats due to abundant of its main prey (i.e. rats).Other than small mammals like rodents its diet consists also of lizards, frogs and sometimes birds. Russells’s viper has very remarkable loud hiss emitting through its nostrils when threatened. P.E.P.Deraniyagala(A colored atlas of some vertebrates from Ceylon – Vol 3) mentions that wild specimens have a strong odor resembling that of crushed bed bugs (S: Makunu ganda) or of the flowers of the Mi tree(Madhuca longifolia) but does not emit when in captivity. He also records that it is frequently killed and eaten by the cobra (Naja Naja). This snake can be easily identified by having a light pink or white V shaped mark on head and a row of sub circular dark brown blotches of about 22-24 along vertebral region and two similar but with smaller blotches of rows beside lateral one.
Colour Guide to the Snakes of Sri Lanka

1 comment:

  1. A familiar creature. I've had very close and accidental encounters with these back in Panadura,and every time I was plain lucky not to get bitten. Never seen them around Kurunegala yet,only one or two Pit Vipers.