Galnewa, North-Central Province

Galnewa, a remote spot

Before heading back to Colombo we had two final tasks in North-Central Province.

The first was to visit the young boy bitten by the Russell's viper, whose story we had told in the film. Prof David Warrell, Dr Ariaranee Ariaratnam and I paid him and his family a house-call and found him happily playing with the other children, his terrible experience just a bad memory. This would mean our film had a happy ending.

Snakebite victim Suresh, much recovered, playing with friends

On the drive back we encountered another road-killed snake, a Trinket snake (Coelognathus helena).

The other loose end was the release of the remaining snakes, other than the Russell's vipers required for the antivenom program. Since we still had a dangerous cobra, as well as the harmless ratsnake, this meant a remote location well removed from villages.

We chose a location off a quite road near Galnewa to release the cobra and the ratsnake captured a day or so previously. I took them from their bags and boxes, carried them into the bush and watched them crawl away and disappear.

Releasing the Dharman ratsnake, Ptyas mucosa
Releasing the Sri Lankan cobra, Naja naja


Then we drove back to Colombo, but never one to pass up an opportunity to find herps, we did stop to move a female Indian starred tortoise (Geochelone elegans) off the road to a place of safety as we passed through a place called Alawwa.

Indian starred tortoise, Geochelone elegans (female)