Shieldtail snakes are assumed to have originally inhabited moist soils of montane forests. Most species now occur in soils of tea plantations, kitchen gardens, and irrigated agricultural lands. It has been suggested that ranges of most species have been diminished by widespread deforestation of southern India and Sri Lanka. Although a few species are widespread and occur in lowlands, most appear to be limited to montane areas in which the temperature rarely exceeds 77°F (25°C). Many species are active at temperatures below 68°F (20°C) and appear to be intolerant of both temperature and humidity fluctuations.

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