Kerala Shieldtail ( Uropeltis ceylanica Cuvier, 1829 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Uropeltis ceylanica (Cuvier, 1829)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Ceylon Earth Snake
Kannada: 
ಕೇರಳ ಗುರಾಣಿ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Endemic to Western Ghats.
Venom Type: 
N/A
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

A small to medium-sized thick-set snake, with narrow pointed head and blunt chopped-off tail. Total length  21 to 29 times mid-body diameter.  Body fairly smooth and glossy. Tail end flat dorsally, obliquely truncated, with strongly keeled scales which are bi-, tri-, or quadricarinate. Terminal scute having a transverse ridge and two points.

Description: 

Body brown or blackish brown above; sometimes patterned with light yellow mild spots or streaks. Belly yellowish; some specimens have dark brown spots or are entirely brown. The ventral side of the tail is brown or black in the middle, and yellow on the sides.

Scalation
Head: 
Snout rounded. rostral one-fourth the length of the shielded part of head. Portions of the rostral visible from above shorter than its distance from frontal. Nasals in contact with each other behind rostral. frontal slightly longer than broad. Eye diameter more than half length of ocular shield.
Dorsal: 
Dorsal scales are arranged in 17 rows at midbody (in 19 rows behind the head).
Ventral: 
Ventrals number 120-146; twice as large as contiguous scales.
Sub Caudal: 
subcaudals 8-12 pairs.
Habitat: 
Lives in rain forests and wet evergreen montane forests. Also found in plantations and monoculture lands.
Natural History: 
Burrowing. More active during rainy nights. Found under fallen logs, rocks and inside dense humus piles during daytime.
Diet: 
Feeds mainly on earth worms.
Threats: 
Habitat loss and road-kills.
Authors & Contributors: