Uropeltis phipsonii

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Uropeltis phipsonii
Phipson's shield tail.JPG
Uropeltis phipsonii
photographed at Mulshi, Pune, India
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Uropeltidae
Genus: Uropeltis
Species: U. phipsonii
Binomial name
Uropeltis phipsonii
(Mason, 1888)
  • Silybura phipsonii Mason, 1888
  • Uropeltis phipsoni - M.A. Smith, 1943
  • Uropeltis phipsonii - Rajendran, 1985[1]

Uropeltis phipsonii, commonly known as Phipson's shieldtail, is a species of snake endemic to India. The species is named after Herbert Musgrave Phipson, one of the founders of the Bombay Natural History Society.

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in the Western Ghats, reported at several localities around Maharastra including hills around Mumbai and Pune.


Cylindrical-bodied, smooth-scaled, head narrower than the neck. Tail very short, appears to be cut slant-wise. A broad yellow stripe on each side of the tail.

Brown dorsally and ventrally, either uniform or with yellowish dots. A short yellow streak on each side beginning at the corner of the mouth. A yellow crossbar across the vent connecting the yellow stripes on the sides of the tail.

Adults may attain 28 cm (11 inches) in total length.

Dorsal scales arranged in 17 rows at midbody, in 19 rows behind the head. Ventrals 144-157; subcaudals 7-12.

Snout obtusely pointed. Rostral ⅓ the length of the shielded part of the head. Portion of the rostral visible from above longer than its distance from the frontal. Nasals in contact with each other behind the rostral. Frontal longer than broad. Diameter of eye more than ½ the length of the ocular shield. Diameter of body 28 to 38 times in the total length. Ventrals nearly twice as large as the contiguous scales. End of tail flat dorsally, obliquely truncate, with strongly bicarinate or quadricarinate scales. Terminal scute with a transverse ridge and two points.[2]


Largely unknown, lives underground, a burrower. Active above ground after heavy rains. Eats earthworms. A docile snake that has many predators including birds and wild boar.


  1. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org
  2. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families...Uropeltidæ... Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). London. p. 155.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.). Vol. I. (Taylor & Francis, Printers) London. 448 pp.
  • Mason, George E. 1888. Description of a new earth-snake of the genus Silybura from the Bombay Presidency with remarks on little known Uropeltidae. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (6) 22: 184-186.
  • Rajendran, M. 1985. Studies in Uropeltid Snakes. Madurai University Press. Madurai.
  • Whitaker, R. and Captain, A. 2004. Snakes of India - the Field Guide. Draco Books. Chennai. 500 pp.

External links[edit]