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Sri Lanka Venomous Snakes, Poisonous Spiders, and other Deadly Insects


Are there any venomous snakes in Sri Lanka? YES

Sri Lanka has several species of deadly snakes, poisonous spiders, and other biting insects which can, and do, cause serious harm to visitors.

Sri Lanka, the paradise isle, is famous for its' diverse wildlife, rainforests, and a multitude of ancient Buddhist ruins. An island of infinite beauty, a haven for relaxation, and home to very deadly animals, reptiles and insects.

Tourist Warning: Human Organ Trafficking Gangs

Snakes in Sri Lanka.


Russell's Viper

Sri Lanka is home to at least seven different types of viper snake. The Russells Viper Snake is regarded as extremely venomous and is believed to be responsible for the most reported snake bites in Asia.

Averaging approximately 4 feet in length with a small 2" head, this snake has fangs almost an inch long (17mm). The brown - tan colouring is ideal as camouflage along the ground especially as it is a nocturnal creature.

In cooler months, the Russell's viper can also be found hunting during the daytime. In Hindu, its' name means 'that hides', owing to the fact that they hide under rocks, logs and even inside huts and out buildings.

Litters of averaging 40 young snakes each year, ensures that this venomous snake is not just the most common on Sri Lanka, but also found throughout India.


Venom and Bites.

For most fully grown humans, a lethal dose of this snakes venom is between 40 - 70 mg. An average injection from the Russells viper bite is between 150 - 230 mg.

Once bitten, victims will need to seek medical attention immediately. As well as extreme pain and swelling in the localized area, bleeding from the gums and in urine may begin within 20 minutes.

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Blistering and even necrosis may occur along the bitten limb as the heart rate decreases whilst the venom travels through the body.

30% of bite victims report facial swelling, vomiting and dizziness. Kidney failure may follow. If treatment is not received relatively quickly, blood clots will begin to form within the blood cells leading to massive organ failure.

Death by septicaemia or cardiac failure can still occur even after 14 days after the initial bite.


Green Pit Viper

The Green Pit Viper snakes in Sri Lanka are small but deadly. At around 2 feet in length, with a black tail, and yellow-ish eyes, this snake is quite frightening.

They usually bite unsuspecting tourists whom venture into the local rainforests. Can be found on bushes and trees whilst sunning itself. Disturbing this snake may result in being bitten, even if the snake seems sluggish, it soon finds its speed within less than a second.


Venom and Bite.

The venom is classed and predominantly haemotoxic, which prevent blood from clotting. Severe swelling around the bite wound as well as pain are virtually instant.

Blisters and possible necrosis may occur with the pain lasting several days.

Lymph nodes may also swell, as well as renal failure with heart palpitations and problems.

There have been no reported deaths due to the Green Pit Viper in Sri Lanka.

  • NB: Never run rom a snake, always calmly walk away.


The Indian Cobra

The Cobra family of snakes is possibly one of the most easily recognised species of snake because of their 'hood'.

The Indian Cobra snake was typically used by snake charmers, whom generally suffered most from bites, until 1972 when it came protected under the Indian wildlife protection act.

The average size of the Indian Cobra in Sri Lanka is 5 feet, but some have been reported to be over 7 feet in length.

Although this snake prefers to evade human contact, it will strike out If it feels to be under threat or agitated. This snake can be found within easy proximity of a water supply in almost all environments.

This also includes villages, hotels, swimming pools, and even near beaches.


Venom and Bites.

The venom is a combination of neurotoxins and cardiotoxins. People whom are bitten may not feel the effects of the venom for up to 2 hours after the initial bite.

The venom may cause temporary or permanent paralysis as the muscles are attacked and broken down rapidly.

Breathing will become difficult as the respiratory system begins to fail. Sweating, convulsions, and dizziness may occur.

Complete respiratory system failure or cardiac arrest follows if treatment is not given quickly enough.

A 93% survival rate is anticipated if anti venom is administered quickly, dropping continuously as time goes on.

  • NB: The venom has been used in India illegally as a sedative and to cause loss of consciousness.

Poisonous Spiders in Sri Lanka



In Aril 2013, a new species of Tarantula spider which is the size of a mans face, was discovered in a Sri Lankan village.

Tarantula spiders are common in Sri lanka. Deforestation has forced them to seek alternative hunting grounds and now they can be found just outside usual human habitation areas.

It is highly unlikely that many tourists will come into contact with a large tarantula on their vacation, but possibly smaller ones.

The bite from a Sri Lankan tarantula may hurt, but unless the victim is allergic to spiders, then the damage should be minimum.

Possible swelling around the bite wound with a small amount of pain is to be expected.

  • NB: Always seek medical attention if bitten by anything whilst in a foreign country.



The humble mosquito is the scurge of virtually all vacations. In Sri Lanka, the mosquito is more dangerous than spiders, snakes, and any other animals or insects combined.

As well as malaria, dengue fever is rife in many parts of the island.

Dengue fever causes high fevers, muscle aches, joint pain when moving, head aches, and a rash similar to measles.

Severe cases may cause very low blood pressure which can cause death. Mosquitos will be virtually everywhere in Sri Lanka, always take precautions prior to leaving for vacation to any foreign country.


Dangerous Animals

Wild elephants. Although usually confined to game reserves, wild elephants still have freedom and can be seen walking along and across many rural roads.

Drive slowly and do not beep your horn.

Bentota Crocodile. Seemingly ignorant of humans, but will attack if cornered or even approached. Can be seen walking on roads, sidewalks and even in private gardens.

Dogs. Rabies is present in Sri Lanka. Always avoid stroking stray animals, not just dogs. If anyone is bitten, seek immediate medical attention.

Leeches: Blood sucking leeches are not everywhere in Sri Lanka. Preferring wet areas they are not just confined to rivers.

Monkeys: Mischievous monkeys will steal anything that is not bolted down. Leaving windows open in apartments, cars or houses is just an invitation to them.


Random Dangers

Falling Coconuts.

Falling coconuts and jackfruit kill over 150 people every year. Jackfruits can weigh up to 50 kilos and can seriously hurt anyone lingering under the tree.

It is recommended that when seeking shelter from the sun or other elements, do not shelter under a tree which bears heavy fruit

Rip Tides & Undercurrents.

Hundreds of people are killed or 'missing' every year from the waters around Sri Lanka. This includes locals whom know the tides and are still killed.

Keep a watchful eye on all of your party whilst on vacation. A quick swim in seemingly calm waters could end in disaster. Never drink alcohol and swim here.

Straws & Shoes

Always check footwear before putting them on. Scorpions nestle in them as well as a host of smaller insects

Before sipping a refreshing drink through a straw, look through the straw. Many stories have emerged whereas people have sucked up nestling spiders and their offspring.

NB: The above dangers are not a daily event, but can and do happen.

Please answer one poll


O Wickremesinghe on February 13, 2018:

Not all the information you have provided here is correct. The WHO declared Sri Lanka malaria-free nearly a year and a half ago.

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