Puneet Varma (Editor)

Gongylophis conicus

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Scientific name
Gongylophis conicus

Higher classification

Scaled reptiles



Gongylophis conicus Eryx conicus photo Reptarium

Gongylophis, Eryx, Eryx johnii, Old World Sand Boas, Eryx tataricus

Gongylophis conicus rough scaled sand boa

Gongylophis conicus, also known as Russell's boa or rough-scaled sand boa, is a non-venomous boa species found in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. No subspecies are currently recognized.


Gongylophis conicus Gongylophis conicus photo Reptarium


Adults may attain a total length 3 feet 3 inches (99 cm), which includes a tail 3 inches (76 mm) long.

Gongylophis conicus RoughScaled Sand Boa Newborn

The anterior maxillary and mandibular teeth are longer than the posterior. The head is covered with small scales. The eye is small with a vertical pupil. The dorsal scales are small and keeled. The tail is pointed, not or but very slightly prehensile.

Gongylophis conicus httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

The rostral scale is twice as broad as long, slightly prominent, without an angular horizontal edge. The top of the head is covered with small obtusely keeled scales, except for the nasals and internasals which are enlarged. Interorbitals: 8 to 10. Circumorbitals: 10 to 15. The eye is separated from the labials by one or two rows of scales. Supralabial scales: 12 to 14. Dorsal scales tubercularly keeled, in 40 to 49 rows. Ventral scales: 162-186. The anal scale is single. Subcaudals: 17-24.

Gongylophis conicus Gongylophis conicus Schneider 1801 Species India Biodiversity

The anterior dorsal scales are only feebly keeled, but these keels increase in size posteriorly to the point that they become so heavily keeled that it can make a squirming specimen really painful to handle. This also makes it look as if the front and rear ends belong to markedly different animals.

Dorsally, the color pattern consists of a broad zigzag band or a series of dark brown blotches on a yellowish or brownish grey ground color. The belly is uniform white.

In India it can be mistaken at first glance for either the Indian python, Python m. molurus, or the deadly Russell's viper, Daboia russelii.

Active at night, it feeds on worms and small mammals.

Geographic range

Found in India south of about 30°N latitude, Nepal, Bangladesh and in the northern arid region of Sri Lanka. The type locality given is "India orientali."


Sandy tracts of central and southern India, the Punjab, Kachchh and Sind. It is also found in Meghalaya.


Some herpetologists believe, because D. russelii is so successful as a species and has such a fearful reputation within its natural environment, another snake has come to mimic its appearance. Superficially, the rough-scaled sand boa, has a color pattern that often looks like that of D. russelii, though it is completely harmless.


Gongylophis conicus Wikipedia

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