Psammophis leithii GÜNTHER, 1869

Description Rostral broader than deep, visible from above; nostril between two or three shields, the posterior nasal being frequently divided into two; internasals about half the length of the pre-frontals; frontal very narrow, longer than its distance from the end of the snout, nearly as long as the parietals; loreal about twice as long as deep; pre-ocular single, in contact with the frontal; two post-oculars ; temporals 1+2 or 2+2; upper labials 8 or 9, fourth and fifth or fifth and sixth entering the eye j 5 lower labials in contact with the anterior chin-shields, which are a little shorter than the posterior. Scales in 17 rows. Ventrals 177-188; anal usually entire; sub-caudals 82-138. Pale greyish or yellowish above, with black dots or four longitudinal brown bands which are usually edged with black, the outer passing through the eyes; lower parts white, uniform or spotted or marked with grey or olive in the middle, with or without a dark lateral line or series of dots. Total length 3 feet 3 inches ; tail 1 foot. (2)

Wall 1911:
Psammophis leithi (Günther).
A single specimen from Duki. The scales are 17 two heads-lengths behind the head, 17 in mid-body, and 11 two heads-lengths before the anus. In the step from 17 to 15 the 4th row above the ventrals disappears being absorbed into 3rd on one side, and into the 5th on the other. In the step from 15 to 13 the row next to the vertebral is absorbed, and from 13 to 11 the 3rd row above the ventrals disappears. The ventrals are 172, anal entire, and subcaudals 98. There is a single temporal, and 8 supralabials, the 4th and 5th touching the eye. The belly is uniform saffron-yellow.

Common Names Pakistani Ribbon snake, Pakistan Sand Racer 
Synonym Psammophis leithii GÜNTHER 1869: 505
? Psammophis Leithii — BOULENGER 1887: 408
Psammophis leithii — SMITH 1943: 366
Psammophis leithii — DAS 1996: 58
Psammophis leithii — MURTHY 2010 
Distribution Pakistan, Afghanistan (LEVITON 1959: 461), western India (Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu, Kashmir, Maharashtra (Pune (=Poona) district – A. Khaire (pers. comm.)) [A. Captain, pers. comm.]) (1)

Map legend:
- Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map. (1)

Habitat  Forest area, arid zones, grassland (3)
  • Günther, A. 1869. Report on two collections of Indian reptiles. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1869: 500-507 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1887. A list of the reptiles and batrachians obtained near Muscat, Arabia, and presented to the British Museum by Surgeon-Major A.S.G. Jayakar. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 20: 407-408 - get paper here. The page in question:

  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Nikolsky, A. M. 1897. Les reptiles, amphibiens et poissons recueillis (part.) Mr. N. Zaroudny dans la Perse orientale [in Russian]. Annuaire Musée Zoologique de l’Académie Impériale des Sciences de St.-Pétersbourg 2: 306-348
  • Wall, F. 1907. Notes on Snakes collected in Fyzabad. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 18: 101-129 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1907. Extension of the Habitat of the Sand Snake (Psammophis leithii). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 18: 203 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1911. Remarks on a snake collection in the Quetta museum. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 20: 1033-1042 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Leviton,A.E. 1959. Systematics and Zoogeography of Philippine Snakes. Unpublished PhD Thesis.
  • Kral, B. 1969. Notes on the herpetofauna of certain provinces of Afghanistan. Zoologiske Listy 18, 55-66.
  • Khan, M.S. 2002. Die Schlangen Pakistans [English edition as “A Guide to the snakes of Pakistan”]. Edition Chimaira (Frankfurt am Main), 265 pp. [review in HR 34: 400, Russ J Herp 12: 79] - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • Saikia, U.; Sharma, D.K. & Sharma, R.M. 2007. Checklist of the Reptilian fauna of Himachal Pradesh, India. Reptile Rap (8): 6-9 - get paper here
  • Baig, KJ, Masroor, R., and Arshad, M. 2008. Biodiversity and ecology of the herpetofauna of Cholistan Desert, Pakistan. Russian Journal of Herpetology 15 (3): 193-205 - get paper here
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
  • Ingle and Sarsavan 2013
    Mukesh Ingle and Anil Sarsavan. First record of Leith’s Sand Snake (Psammophis leithii, Gunther, 1869) from Sheopur district, Madhya Pradesh, India. International Journal of Environment & Animal Conservation, Year-2013; Volume-02; Issue-01.


(1) The Reptile Database
(2) Boulenger, G. A. 1890. Fauna of British India. Reptilia and Batrachia. pp. 365-366 (cited in Wikipedia)
(3) Anita Jain, SS Katewa, SK Sharma, Praveen Galav & Vartika Jain, 2011. Snakelore and indigenous snakebite remedies practiced by some tribals of Rajasthan. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Vol. 10(2), April 2011, pp. 258-268.

Maheta Jaydeep‎ in Herping the Globe and Psammophiidae on Facebook
9 mei 2016. "Psammophis leithii. During hot summer. Central gujarat, India