The Sri Lankan krait is small and slender. On hatching, the length of the snake is about 250 mm (9.8 in). The average adult length for this species is 75 cm (29+1⁄2 in) with 90 cm (35+1⁄2 in) being the upper limit. Its black skin is crossed with thin white transverse bands. It has an extraordinarily long lung which it inflates when angry.
Distribution and habitat
Endemic to Sri Lanka, it is fairly common to the central hilly areas of the island. It is frequently recorded from Kandy, Uva Province hilly areas, Peradeniya, Gelioya, Gampola, Nawalapitiya, Ritigala and Balangoda, but rarely recorded in low land areas.
It prefers leaf litter in forests but often ventures into human dwellings, making itself at home in old masonry and crevices.
The Sri Lankan krait is nocturnal and timid. It is very slow and sluggish by day. At night it may strike after considerable provocation, but behaves quite the contrary by day, often allowing itself to be handled or even bullied with impunity. During such rough treatment it usually does nothing but puff up its lung to display its discomfort.
Few details are recorded. The Sri Lankan krait is oviparous. It appears that either many females share a common nest, or a single female lays its eggs in several batches, making determination of clutch size difficult. The eggs are cylindrical with rounded ends and measure 30 mm × 17 mm (1+1⁄8 in × 5⁄8 in).
The highly potent venom of this snake attacks the central nervous system and gradually destroys it. Death is caused when the respiratory system is suppressed. Therefore, a bite from this snake should be treated immediately, or else the victim may die within 12 hours.
- Ukuwela, K.; de Silva, A.; Samarawickrama, P.; Kannishka, S. (2021). "Bungarus ceylonicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T172641A1357568. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T172641A1357568.en. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
- Family Elapidae (Cobras, Kraits & Coral snakes)
- "Bungarus ceylonicus Günther, 1858 (Sri Lankan Krait)". Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-06-29.