Reptiles

Estuarine Crocodile

Scientific name – Crocodylus porosus

IUCN Conservation Status – Least Concerned

The Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodile, known as the ‘Geta Kimbula’ in Sinhala, is one of the two crocodile species found in Sri Lanka. It has a narrower snout and jaws than the Mugger or Marsh crocodile but larger in body size. Once the animal grows to about three meters long, the dorsal body is almost a uniform black, the head and jaws yellow, and densely speckled with black. The adult male crocodile grows up to 14-20 ft in length, and weighs between 400 and 1000 kg. Their habitats include estuaries of large rivers, coastal mangroves, marshes, swamps and some inland water bodies. They are the largest reptilian species alive today, and recognized as a ‘Man-eater’ making it the most dangerous crocodilian to human beings.

The Checkered Keelback

Scientific name – Xenochrophis piscatorIUCN Conservation Status – Least Concerned
The Checkered Keelback is an aquatic snake, known as ‘Diyabariya’/ ‘Diya naya’ in Sinhala. The body coloration is very variable, consisting of dark spots arranged often separated by a whitish background. It frequents paddy fields, waterways, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and even wells. Usually this snake tries to raise its head as much as possible and expand its neck skin mimicking a cobra hood and intimidate the threat. It is a non-venomous, semi-aquatic snake, known to be diurnal, length ranging from 750-1000 mm. Its diet includes frogs and small fish. 

Flapshell Turtle

Scientific name – Lissemys ceylonensisIUCN Conservation Status – Least Concerned
The Flapshell Turtle is one of the three species of freshwater turtles found in Sri Lanka. In Sinhala, it is called “Kiri ibba”. It is endemic to Sri Lanka, and found in rivers, tributaries and lakes. The “Flap shell” name stems from the presence of flaps of skin which serve the purpose of covering the limbs when they retract into the shell. This omnivorous turtle plays an important role to reduce pollution in aquatic ecosystems by feeding on snails, insects, and fragments of dead animals

Water Monitor

Scientific name – Varanus salvator

IUCN Conservation Status – Least Concerned

The Asian water monitor is one of the largest species of lizard in the world and is widespread on the island of Sri Lanka. Known as ‘Kabaragoya’ in Sinhala, they are excellent swimmers, using the raised fin on their tails to steer through water. It is are often defined by the dark brown or blackish coloration with yellow spots found on the underside of the body. It is and endemic species to Sri Lanka, commonly seen near waterways, streams, shallow waterways and rivers that move slowly, sometimes seen digging for food in urban landscapes where there are garbage. Food contains dead animals and rotting meat near waterways.