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Trust begets trust



Drivers push auto rickshaws in a line to buy petrol from a fuel station, amid Sri Lanka's economic crisis, in Colombo, July 29, last year

by Usvatte-aratchi

The president’s rhetorical claims on Galle Face Green on February 4, 2023, amplified in Parliament on February 8 that there have been no dehydrating long queues at petrol stations and no protests by peasants demanding fertilizer because of good economic management since he assumed office hid from the public many facets of the slide down to that ‘stability’ at a low level. The economy is in some temporary and unstable hysteresis. The policy changes that brought it about were implemented well before the present president’s accession to office.

Let us look closer at what happened. The country went into default on its foreign debt in April 2022, four months before the new president took office. That action saved for other uses the foreign exchange that we would have paid in interest and capital to foreigners up to that point. That relieved pressure on the balance of payments. By implication, it also saved the value in rupees that would have been necessary to buy the foreign exchange to pay the debt owed to foreigners. That helped to relieve the pressure on the domestic budget. Those resources were released for other uses, contributing to that temporary relief.

What we can expect for the next two years and more is about the same level of resources augmented with the first tranche of the Extended Funds Facility, after the Fund and our government agree on terms. The president’s promise of higher pay for public servants later in the year is pie in the sky. Consequent upon the default on foreign debt payments and the perceived higher risks of lending to Sri Lanka, interest rates on borrowing from banks rose beyond 35 percent per annum. Few enterprises could function with funds borrowed at those rates of interest.

Banks loans, renewed year after year, are a common source of capital for enterprises in this country, in the absence of developed capital markets. The economy shrank in response to higher interest rates as the monetary multiplier became effective in its own time. Bad loan books in banks bloomed. Business activity slowed down and will shrink further. The policy decisions that brought about these changes were made before the present president took office. The recent fluctuation in the value of the rupee is a minor play in speculation. Like all bubbles of this sort in markets, it will break in its short time. Ignore the share market. It does not matter to the economy.

The ratio of imports to GDP, about 40 percent, is a fairly constant number in this economy. Selected imports were banned and the economy necessarily shrank, again. Crop failures called forth mainly out of ignorance and prejudice (with viyath maga [Wise Guys] as partners of government!), severely cut down the income of farmers and peasants and the results of that fall in income worked themselves throughout the economy Major policies and programmes that depressed total income and total demand that brought about the so-called stability antedated the advent of the new president. The central bank cannot raise the supply response as that response is governed by other stimuli: high risks of lending to a bankrupt nation.

In 2022, remittances from workers overseas rose in some degree, with the rise in the rupee value of the dollar. (Elementary, Dr. Watson.) There was some increase in tourism but far too small to compensate for losses in the economy elsewhere. Tourists came partly because foreign currency could buy a lot more after the May 2022 devaluation than before it. A room priced at $100 in 2021 (Rs 20,000) is now available for $ 75, (Rs26,3750), a lower price to the tourist and a higher price to the hotelier. Along with the shrinkage in the economy, the demand for energy fell. The ratio of energy use to GDP is (again) fairly constant. (The former Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, devised his own index number for the growth of GDP in China using the quantity of electricity consumed, freight carried and another as guides.)

The sale of petrol in 2022 fell by about 30 percent of its use in (say) 2018, the last year when the economy worked close to capacity. The demand for energy also fell more steeply consequent upon the sharply higher domestic prices, reflecting the higher prices of petroleum and related materials in international markets. (Both price and income effects were at play.) The fall in the quantity of petrol and other fuel sold in 2022 accounts for the disappearance of dehydrating queues in petrol stations. At my neighbourhood petrol station, I have not seen a line of cars waiting to fill up for many months.

Casual evidence of the fall in demand is the sparse traffic on roads even at times of congestion, evident earlier. There were four three-wheeler drivers who, for many years, operated from the top of our lane and there has been none from about mid-2021. The total effects of all this will be evident in the rate at which the economy shrank in 2022 when the figures will come out later this year. (That funny neologism NEGATIVE GROWTH is a challenge to make nonsense intelligible.) These adverse developments were consequent upon policy decisions made by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government and inherited by the Wickremesinghe government.

This government reversed some stupid decisions by the former president, who single-handedly and ‘beyond the call of duty’ (as touted to boost his candidacy), destroyed the livelihoods in agriculture including fisheries on a massive scale. Peasants who cannot afford the new high prices for transport with a lower total income are mournfully protesting still, not on the Galle Face Green in Colombo but in rice fields, which ought to be luscious green mid-maha, now sickly brown affected by infection with insects, viruses and bacteria. Infested compost used in rice fields after the ban on the import of chemical fertilizer introduced substituting chemical fertilizer may have introduced pests to fields. The devastation of crops, both rice and corn, is rampant in Ampara, Polonnaruva, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala, all districts that contribute heavily to the marketable surplus of rice and provide feed to poultry farmers.

While the present policy regime is a distinct improvement on the inconsistencies, ignorance and stupidities of the preceding half-military regime, it (the present policy regime) contains standard prescriptions dictated for situations of economic austerity necessary to bring down the level of economic activity to what is affordable; affordable with low import capacity. Following the Hippocrates oath, the government, mercifully, has not harmed the economy in contrast to the earlier regime. The economy cannot work at higher capacity without hitting the ceiling of foreign exchange resources available. Go to Greece a decade back, Thailand 16 years back, and Korea several decades back. (I had written about the impending disasters in this newspaper and spoken about them in other fora for several years. Read a clear warning as early as 2013 in my address to the Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association.)

In no instance, that I cited, was there a surgeon present. But there is work for a team of surgeons and a whole lot of other medics in this instance. WHO will need to send plane loads of surgical supplies. A carbuncle with foul-smelling wounds spread all over this economy and the body politic now presents a serious risk of septicaemia (sepsis). The death rate from sepsis, is 50 percent, more or less, of those affected. Clean up the foul infection of corruption generated and spread by former presidents and their family members, hordes of members of parliament and local government bodies, gangs of government employees and armies of private citizens who helped to spread the bacteria. Some need to be made harmless and others quarantined long-term. The large crowds that throng to hear Anura Kumara Dissanayake, I reckon, are attracted by their persistent, substantiated and convincing promises to eliminate corruption in this society.

Fail in that and the JJB had better find places to hide in. The promises by the president of a bill that will be presented in Parliament to cure these ills in the future is neither here nor there. Every government that came to office after 1994 promised to kill the wild beast of an executive president who still rages savagely, unmolested. The present president who was a powerful figure in the Parliament 2015 -2020 did promise with great solemnity and even more bombastic celebration, that he would revise the constitution to deprive that office of the very powers that he now exploits. So will this bill against corruption be ‘Great Expectations’? To change the entire scene metaphorically, ‘Who is Sinhabahu enough ( ‘kuriru, darunu mee saturaa maranata) to slay this ferocious and woeful foe?’

The time to act is now. The elimination of this gangrene and septicaemia is essential for the revival of the economy. From casual observation, most people will not accept the sincerity of ‘unpopular policies and programmes’ that the president foretold until the general public trusts policymakers’ sincerity. The claims made by politicians of the government and some senior civil servants that there is no money to hold local government elections is another way of saying that among all the payments the government may make in the financial year 2023, holding elections has the lowest priority.

These claims and activities betray a deep-seated distrust of democratic ways of government. All people in democratic societies ought to protest at that ghastly assertion. Most people in our society will be further convinced that this government should not be trusted. Few things will restore trust in government as a frontal attack on corruption in the economy would. Government cannot carry through programmes that hurt the public in the short term without reviving the trust of the people in government which the government had lost much earlier. (I wrote about this in early 2020.) That restoration requires surgery to eliminate the foul and deathly carbuncle. (Recall the ‘restoration’ after (the Short (1640) and Long (1640-1660) Parliaments, the execution of Charles I of England in 1649 and the death of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1659. The English throne, from which Charles III reigns now, has never been vacant ever since.)

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If you have a heart, say no to tobacco!



BY Dr. Gotabhya Ranasinghe
Consultant in General & Interventional Cardiology, NHSL

Tobacco harms practically all of the body’s organs and is a key risk factor for heart disease!

Smoking can impact all aspects of the cardiovascular system, including the heart, blood, and blood vessels. I know from my experience over the years that about 25% of the patients who seek treatment from me for heart conditions smoke.

Is there a strong link between smoking and heart disease?

Of course, there is! Smoking definitely contributes to heart disease. The majority of smokers experience heart attacks.

Some claim that the only people at risk for heart attacks or strokes are those who are classified as heavy smokers. Although this is the case, did you know that smoking even one or two cigarettes a day might result in heart attacks?

Young smokers are on the rise, which unfortunately brings more cardiac patients between the ages of 20 and 25 to the cardiology unit.

Why is tobacco poison for your heart?

The harmful mix of more than 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, including nicotine and carbon monoxide, can interfere with vital bodily functions when inhaled.

When you breathe, your lungs absorb oxygen and pass it on to your heart, which then pumps this oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body through the blood arteries. However, when the blood that is circulated to the rest of the body picks up the toxins in cigarette smoke when you breathe it in, your heart and blood arteries are harmed by these substances, which could result in cardiovascular diseases.

What does cigarette smoke do to your heart?

Atherosclerosis (Building up of cholesterol deposits in the coronary artery)

Endothelium dysfunction leads to atherosclerosis. The inner layer of coronary arteries or the arterial wall of the heart both function improperly and contribute to artery constriction when you smoke cigarettes. As a

result, the endothelium-cell barrier that separates the arteries is breached, allowing cholesterol plaque to build up. It’s crucial to realize that smoking increases the risk of endothelial dysfunction in even those who have normal cholesterol levels.

Heart Attacks

The plaque accumulated in the arteries can burst as a result of continued smoking or other factors like emotional stress or strenuous exercises. Heart attacks occur when these plaque rupture and turn into clots.

Coronary artery spasm

Did you know you can experience a spasm immediately after a puff of smoke?

A brief tightening or constriction of the muscles in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the heart is referred to as a coronary artery spasm. Part of the heart’s blood flow can be impeded or reduced by a spasm. A prolonged spasm can cause chest pain and possibly a heart attack.

People who usually experience coronary artery spasms don’t have typical heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. However, they are frequent smokers.


An erratic or irregular heartbeat is known as an arrhythmia. The scarring of the heart muscle caused by smoking can cause a fast or irregular heartbeat.Additionally, nicotine can cause arrhythmia by speeding up the heart rate.

One of the best things you can do for your heart is to stop smoking!

Did you know the positive impacts start to show as soon as you stop smoking?

After 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate begins to slow down.

In just 12 hours after quitting, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood returns to normal, allowing more oxygen to reach your heart and other vital organs.

12 to 24 hours after you stop smoking, blood pressure levels return to normal.

Your risk of developing coronary heart disease decreases by 50% after one year of no smoking.

So let us resolve to protect and improve heart health by saying no to tobacco!

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Religious cauldron being stirred; filthy rich in abjectly poor country



What a ho ha over a silly standup comedian’s stupid remarks about Prince Siddhartha. I have never watched this Natasha Edirisuriya’s supposedly comic acts on YouTube or whatever and did not bother to access derogatory remarks she supposedly introduced to a comedy act of hers that has brought down remand imprisonment on her up until June 6. Speaking with a person who has his ear to the ground and to the gossip grape wine, I was told her being remanded was not for what she said but for trying to escape consequences by flying overseas – to Dubai, we presume, the haven now of drug kingpins, money launderers, escapees from SL law, loose gabs, and all other dregs of society.

Of course, derogatory remarks on any religion or for that matter on any religious leader have to be taboo and contraveners reprimanded publicly and perhaps imposed fines. However, imprisonment according to Cassandra is too severe.

Just consider how the Buddha treated persons who insulted him or brought false accusations against him including the most obnoxious and totally improbable accusation of fatherhood. Did he even protest, leave along proclaim his innocence. Did he permit a member of the Sangha to refute the accusations? Not at all! He said aloud he did not accept the accusations and insults. Then he asked where the accusations would go to? Back to sender/speaker/accuser. That was all he said.

Thus, any person or persons, or even all following a religion which is maligned should ignore what was said. Let it go back and reside with the sayer/maligner. Of course, the law and its enforcers must spring to action and do the needful according to the law of the land.

One wonders why this sudden spurt of insults arrowed to Buddhism. Of course, the aim is to denigrate the religion of the majority in the land. Also perhaps with ulterior motives that you and Cass do not even imagine. In The Island of Wednesday May 31, MP Dilan Perera of Nidahas Janatha Sabawa (difficult to keep pace with birth of new political parties combining the same words like nidahas and janatha to coin new names) accused Jerome Fernando and Natasha E as “actors in a drama orchestrated by the government to distract people from the real issues faced by the masses.”

We, the public, cannot simply pooh pooh this out of hand. But is there a deeper, subtler aim embedded in the loose talk of Jerome and his followers? Do we not still shudder and shake with fear and sympathy when we remember Easter Sunday 2019 with its radical Muslim aim of causing chaos? It is said and believed that the Muslim radicals wanted not only to disrupt Christian prayer services on a holy day but deliver a blow to tourism by bombing hotels.

Then their expectation was a backlash from the Sinhalese which they hoped to crush by beheading approaching Sinhala avenging attackers with swords they had made and stacked. This is not Cass’ imagination running riot but what a Catholic Priest told us when we visited the Katuwapitiya Church a couple of weeks after the dastardly bombing.

It is believed and has been proclaimed there was a manipulating group led by one demented person who egged the disasters on with the double-edged evil aim of disrupting the land and then promising future security if … Hence, we cannot be so naïve as to believe that Jerome and Natasha were merely careless speakers. Who knows what ulterior moves were dictated to by power-mad black persons and made to brew in the national cauldron of discontent? Easiest was to bring to the boil religious conflict, since the races seem to be co-living harmoniously, mostly after the example of amity set before the land and internationally of Sri Lankans of all races, religions, social statuses and ages being able to unite during the Aragalaya.

We have already suffered more than our fair share of religious conflict. The LTTE exploded a vehicle laden with bombs opposite the Dalada Maligawa; shot at the Sacred Bo Tree, massacred a busload of mostly very young Buddhist monks in Aranthalawa. This was on June 2, 1987, particularly pertinent today. They killed Muslims at prayer in a mosque in Katankudy after ethnically cleansing Jaffna and adjoining areas of Muslim populations.

The Sinhalese, led by ultra-nationalists and drunken goons ravaged Tamils in 1983 and then off and on conflicted with Muslims. Hence the need to nip all and every religious conflict in the bud; no preachers/ Buddhist monks/overzealous lay persons, or comedians and media persons to be allowed to malign religions and in the name of religion cause conflict, least of all conflagration.

Comes to mind the worst case of religious intolerance, hate, revenge and unthinkable cruelty. Cass means here the prolonged fatwa declared against Salman Rushdie (1947-), British American novelist of Indian origin who had a ransom set aside for his life declared by the then leader of Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, soon after Rushdie’s novel Satanic Verses was published in 1988. The British government diligently ensured his safety by hiding him in various places. After nearly two decades of tight security around him, he ventured to the US on an invited visit. He settled down in New York, believing he was now safe from the fatwa and mad men. It was not to be. In New York on stage to deliver a lecture in 2022, Rushdie was set upon by a lone assailant who stabbed him in the eye, blinding him in that eye and necessitating his wearing an eye band. What on earth was his crime? Writing a fictitious story to succeed many he had written and won prizes for like the Booker.

Religious fanaticism must never be permitted to raise its devilish head wherever, whenever.

Farmer’s fabulously rich son

Often quoted is the phrase coined by the Tourist Board, Cass believes, to describe Sri Lanka. Land like no other. It was completely complementary and justified when it was first used. We were an almost unique island where every prospect pleased, particularly its smiling, easy going people and the wonderful terrain of the land with varying altitudes, climates and fauna and flora.

Then with the decline of the country engineered and wrought by evil, self-gratifying politicians, their sidekicks and dishonest bureaucrats, disparities became stark. Sri Lanka is now in the very dumps: bankrupt, its social, economic and sustainability fabric in shreds and people suffering immensely. But since it is a land like no other with a different connotation, only certain of its population suffer and undergo deprivation and hardship. Others live grand even now and have money stashed high in–house and overseas in banks, businesses and dubious off shore dealings. Some lack the few rupees needed to travel in a bus but most political bods drive around in luxury cars; infants cry for milk and children for a scrap of bread or handful of rice. Plain tea is drunk by many to quell pangs of hunger while the corrupt VIPs quaff champaign and probably have exotic foods flown over from gourmet venues.

And most of those who drive luxury cars, eat and drink exotically and live the GOOD life, did not inherit wealth, nor earn it legitimately. Young men who had not a push bike to ride or Rs 25 to go on a school trip to Sigiriya are now fabulously wealthy. Cass does not want to list how they demonstrate immense wealth possession now.

One case in the news is Chaminda Sirisena, who seems to be very, very wealthy, wearing a ring that is valued at Rs 10 million, and then losing it to cause severe damnation to its stealer. Goodness! Cass cannot even imagine such a ring. Well, he lost it and 5,000 US $ and Rs 100,000. The suspect is his personal security guard. Having never heard of this brother of the ex Prez and he not being the paddy multimillionaire owning hotels, Cass googled. Here is short reply, “Chaminda Sirisena. Owner Success Lanka Innovative Company, Sri Lanka, 36 followers, 36 connections. (The last two bits of info completely incomprehensible and no desire at all to verify). He sure is comparable to Virgin Airways Branson and other top global entrepreneurs to become so wealthy being a son of a man who served in WWII and was given a small acreage to cultivate paddy in Polonnaruwa. When his brother Maitripala became Prez of Sri Lanka it was with pride the comparison was brought in to the American President who moved from log cabin to the White House.

Hence isn’t our beloved, now degraded Sri Lanka, a land like no other with Midases around?

We now have another maybe thief to worry about. No further news of the poor mother whose life was quashed for the sake of a gold ring, leaving three children motherless and probably destitute. When we were young, we were told very early on that if we lost anything it was more our fault; we were careless and placed temptation to less fortunate persons. The Tamil woman who died after being in remand was such a one who needed extra protection from temptation. To Cass her employer is more to blame for the probable theft and for the tragedy that followed.

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Snakes of Sri Lanka



By Ifham Nizam

Snake bites are a serious public health issue in Sri Lanka. It has been estimated that nearly 80,000 snake bites occur here every year.Due to fear and poor knowledge, hundreds of thousands of snakes, mostly non-venomous ones, are killed by humans each year.The state spends more than USD 10 million a year on treating snake bite patients.

According to health sector statistics between 30,000 and 40,000 snake bite patients receive treatment in hospitals annually, says Dr. Anjana Silva, who is Professor in Medical Parasitology, Head/ Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University.

To date, 93 land and 15 sea snake species have been recorded from Sri Lanka. While all 15 sea snakes are venomous, only 20% of the land snakes are venomous or potentially venomous.

The term, ‘venomous snakes’ does not mean they cause a threat to human lives every time they cause a bite. The snakes of highest medical importance are the venomous ones which are common or widespread and cause numerous snakebites, resulting in severe envenoming, disability or death,” says Dr. Silva who is also Adjunct Senior Research Fellow – Monash Venom Group,Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University and Research Associate- South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya.

Only five snakes could be considered to be of the highest medical importance in Sri Lanka: Russell’s viper, Indian krait, Sri Lankan cobra, Merrem’s hump-nosed viper and Saw-scaled viper. All but Merrem’s hump-nosed vipers are covered by Indian Polyvalent antivenom, the only treatment available for snake bites in Sri Lanka.

There are another five snake species with secondary medical importance, which are venomous snakes and capable of causing morbidity, disability or death, but the bites are less frequent due to various reasons (Sri Lankan krait, Highland Hump-nosed viper, Lowland hump-nosed pit viper, Green-pit viper and Beaked sea snake)

The snakes of highest medical importance in Sri Lanka are as follows:

  1. Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) (Sinhala: Thith Polanga/ Tamil: Kannadi viriyan)

Medically the most important snake in Sri Lanka. It is found throughout South Asia. It is responsible for about 30% of snake bites in Sri Lanka and also about 70% of deaths due to snake bites in Sri Lanka.

Some 2-5% bites by Russell’s viper are fatal. Widely distributed throughout the country up to the elevations of 1,500m from sea level. Highly abundant in paddy fields and farmlands but also found in dry zone forests and scrub lands. Bites occur more during the beginning and end of the farming seasons in dry zone. It can grow up to 1.3m in length. Most bites are reported during day time.

Over 85% of the bites are at the level of or below the ankle. It is a very aggressive snake when provoked. Spontaneous bleeding due to abnormalities in blood clotting and kidney failure have life-threatening effects.

Dr. Anjana Silva

  1. The Sri Lankan Russell’s vipers cause mild paralysis as well, which is not life threatening. Indian Polyvalent antivenom covers Russell’s viper envenoming. Deaths could be due to severe internal bleeding and acute renal failure.
  2. Indian Krait (Bungarus caeruleus) (Sinhala: Thel Karawala/ Maga Maruwa; Tamil: Yettadi virian/ Karuwelan Pambu)

It is distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is found across the lowland semi-arid, dry and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka. Almost absent in the wet zone. Usually, a non-offensive snake during the daytime; however, it could be aggressive at night.

Common kraits slither into human settlements at night looking for prey. People who sleep on the ground are prone to their bites.

Most common krait bites do occur at night. Bites are more common during the months of September to December when the north-east monsoon is active. Most hospital admissions of krait bites follow rainfall, even following a shower after several days or months without rain.

Since most bites do occur while the victim is asleep, the site of bite could be in any part of the body.

As bite sites have minimal or no effects, it would be difficult to find an exact bite site in some patients. Bite site usually is painless and without any swelling. Causes paralysis in body muscles which can rapidly lead to life threatening respiratory paralysis (breathing difficulty).

  1. Sri Lankan Cobra (Naja polyoccelata; Naja naja) Sinhala: Nagaya; Tami: Nalla pambu

Sri Lankan cobra is an endemic species in Sri Lanka. It is common in lowland (<1200m a.s.l), close to human settlements. Cobras are found on plantations and in home gardens, forests, grasslands and paddy fields. It is the only snake with a distinct hood in Sri Lanka.

Hood has a spectacle marking on the dorsal side and has two black spots and the neck usually has three black bands on the ventral side. When alarmed, cobras raise the hood and produce a loud hiss.

Cobra bites could occur below the knee. They are very painful and lead to severe swelling and tissue death around the affected place. Rapidly progressing paralysis could result from bites, sometimes leading to life-threatening respiratory paralysis (breathing difficulty). Deaths could also be due to cardiac arrest due to the venom effects.

  1. Merrem’s hump-nosed viper (Hypnale hypnale) Sinhala: Polon Thelissa/ Kunakatuwa; Tamil: Kopi viriyan.

Small pit-vipers grow up to 50cm in length. Head is flat and triangular with a pointed and raised snout. They are usually found coiled, they keep the heads at an angle of 45 degrees. Merrem’s Hump-nosed viper (Hypnale hypnale) is the medically most important Hump-nosed viper as it leads to 35-45% of all snake bites in Sri Lanka.

Merrem’s Hump-nosed vipers are very common in home gardens and on plantations and grasslands. Bites often happen during various activities in home gardens and also during farming activities in farmlands in both dry and wet zones. Hands and feet (below the ankle) are mostly bitten. Bites can often lead to local swelling and pain and at times, severe tissue death around the bite site may need surgical removal of dead tissue or even amputations. Rarely, patients could develop mild blood clotting abnormalities and acute kidney failure. Although rare, deaths are reported due to hypnale bites.

  1. Saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus), Sinhala: Weli Polanga; Tamil: Surutai Viriyan

This species is widely distributed in South Asia. However, in Sri Lanka, it is restricted to dry coastal regions such as Mannar, Puttalam, Jaffna peninsula and Batticaloa. In Sri Lanka, this snake grows upto 40-50cm. It is a nocturnal snake which is fond of sand dunes close to the beach. It could be found under logs and stones during daytime. Bites are common during January and February.

It is a very aggressive snake. A distinct, white colour ‘bird foot shape’ mark or a ‘diamond shape’ mark could be seen over the head. When alarmed, it makes a hissing sound by rubbing the body scales. Although this snake causes frequent severe envenoming and deaths in other countries, its bites are relatively less severe in Sri Lanka. Bites could lead to mild to moderate swelling and pain on the affected place and blood clotting abnormalities and haemorrhage and rarely it could lead to kidney failure.



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