Haplocercus ceylonensis

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Black-spined Snake
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Sauropsida
Subclass: Diapsida
Infraclass: Lepidosauromorpha
Superorder: Lepidosauria
Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Haplocercus
Species: H. ceylonensis
Binomial name
Haplocercus ceylonensis

Haplocercus ceylonensis, commonly Black-spined Snake and as කුරුන් කරවලා (kurun karawala) or රත් කරවලා (rath karawala) in Sinhala, is a colubird species endemic to Sri Lanka.


A sub-fossorial snake from submontane forests. Restricted to submontane forests and plantations of the Central Highlands, including Pussellawa, Gampola, Hatton, Knuckles Mountain Range, Hopewell Estate, Balangoda, Pundaluoya, Ramboda, Kotagala, Namunukula, Mousakanda, Gammaduwa, and Kotmale, upto abput 1300m of elevation.


Head is long, snout is broadly rounded. Neck indistinct. Slender body with cylindrical short tail. Dorsal side is crimson brown with a black vertebral line, hence given the name. Dorsum of fore body is brown. Laterally with a series of black spots in a line. Neck region is with dark brown marking. Venter is crimson colored. Maximum length recorded is 522mm.


Midbody scale rows 17. Ventrals 162-207. Subcaudals 37-56. Scales are smooth and iridescent.


Nocturnal and terrestrial, it lives in damp soil, silted-up drains, beneath heaps of decaying leaves and similar places where there are earthworms, its primary prey.


Clutches of 2 to 5 eggs produced at a time in the months of August to November.