RUSSELS VIPER

The Russell¶s Viper.

The Russell's Viper is named after Dr. Patrick Russell, who was a surgeon and naturalist who worked in India during the late 1700s. He spent time studying the snakes of India, looking for a way to identify venomous snakes so that they could be avoided and the number of snake bite fatalities could be reduced. He is the first person to make a written account and description of the Russell's Viper. There are nearly 275 odd species of snakes found in India out of which only four are viewed as a real threat to humans. the Russell¶s Viper is a highly poisonous snake of the Viperidae family, it is scientifically known as Vipera russelli. Russell's viper is responsible for most of the snakebite deaths within its habitat. It is light brown in color and is covered with three rows of dar k brown or black splotches, bordered with white or yellow. Viper bites are known to be extremely painful . So, what make a Russell¶s viper more deadly than other snakes is its speed, fang size, and extremely unpredictable nature.

Physical Characteristics Russell's Viper grows to a length of 1 to 1.5 m. Its head is long and triangular, with large, prominent nostrils on each side of the snout. The fangs of the snake are large, while its tail is quite small. The length of the snout -vent is 1025 to 1080 mm, while that of the tail is 212 to 225 mm. The color of the Russells Viper of India may be dark brown, brownish-yellow or brownish-gray, with black or brown oval spots edged with black/white. The young vipers are clear orange to brownish-orange in color. There are rows of oval spots along both the sides of the body and the tail is striped.

The belly of Russels Viper is pinkish-brown or whitish in color with black spots, which start becoming darker towards the tail. The top portion of the head has three separate semi triangular spots, which form a triangle with the vertex between the eyes. There is also a dark band running diagonally from the eye to the corner of the mouth. The dorsum is light yellowish brown to sandy brown in color and has chestnut blotches. At the base of the head is a pair of dark spots and the snout is adorned with a light V-shaped canthal mark.

which damages tissue as well as blood cells. Russell¶s vipers are viviparous. rock crevices. It will coils and will hiss when disturbed. mice and birds. May be active during day i n cool weather and can be very excitable. Borne o. its body will vibrate and emit a low rasping sound resulting from scales of one part of coiled body rubbing upon another. Biology: This snake is primarily nocturnal (especially during hot weather). Mostly 20-25 young are born. Taiwan. old termite mounds. the Russell's viper tends to be more aggressive and will become threatened easily whenever a human approaches. The venom of this snake can deliver 2 to 3 times the lethal venom dose and causes most of the snakebite fatalities in the areas where it occurs. they may coil up. . coils tightly. or other debris. China. than the viper follows the prey and eats it. Instead of fleeing immed iately. It is usually found near human settlements. sometimes developing females are collected up to September. where due to its characteristic body color and pattern. hisses. piles of leaves. but can be quiet active at night. Natural Habitat The habitat of the Russels Viper stretches from Indian farmlands to dense rain forests. When excited. Sri Lanka. It shelters in rodents burrows. it is difficult to be located. Java and Sumatra. that is they don¶t lay eggs but directly give birth to their young. Prey is stalked and bitten and released. It generally strikes only at objects within its effective striking range. but may strike quickly without provocation. Breeding season extends from April to July. Also found near human dwellings searching for prey. Usually keeps to the shade of bushes and grass growing along paths.Characteristics Russell's Viper is responsible for the more deaths due to snakebite than any other venomous snake. Geographical Range Russells Viper can be found in India. Unlike many of the venomous snakes that are habitually shy and reclusive. and strikes with a lightning speed. Lethargic during day. Malaysian Peninsula. hiss and strike out very quickly. It is highly irritable and whe n threatened. Its hemotoxic venom is a very potent coagulant. Diet includes small mammals such as rats.

within two and a half to 10 minutes from the time of first being bitten. Vipers are front fanged with a fang attached to either side of the upper jaw (approximately the same area our own canine teeth are located). When the Russell's Viper bites a victim. kidney failure and an inability for the blood to coagulate. The coiled -up viper gives no indication of either the direction or the distance it can strike. inhaling and exhaling forcefully. These symptoms or even death can occur v ery quickly. The viper¶s head sits in the centre of the circle. The Russell's viper is considered by many to be the most dangerous snake in the world because its venom is highly lethal and it has a much more aggressive temperament than other venomous snakes. vomiting. . producing two distinct tones of sound for air rushing into and out of its large nostrils. The hissing viper can be almost as loud as a pressure coo ker. swelling of the area around the bite. From this coiled position the snake can strike at a forty five degree angle upwards in any direction. Luckily there is a polyvalent antivenin serum that. if administered in time. it can deliver up to 112 mg of venom which can cause pain. can keep a Russell's viper bite from being fatal. This leads to it causing more deaths per population size per area than any other snake.The Attack:- The defensive posture of a Russell¶s viper¶s is a coiled up circle.

are smooth all over. Russell¶s Vipers are among the few Indian snakes that have a very rough sandpapery upper body. swelling. Russell¶s Vipers have a triangular head whereas pythons have one that is more rectangular in shape. vomiting. Pythons.Some of the symptoms from a Russell¶s Viper bite include pain lasting for 2 -4 weeks (this should be an indication of how venomous these snakes really are). like most other snakes. . Another difference between the two snakes is in the shape of their heads. bleeding of the gums. The markings on a Russell¶s viper¶s body however are relatively symmetrical (diamond or elliptical in shape) whereas those of a python are haphazard and asymmetrical. and of course death may occur over two weeks after the bite. Confusion:- Russell¶s Vipers are often confused for young pythons since both are stocky snakes with distinctive markings all over their body. drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

com/articles/types-of-snakes-withpictures.Facts about Indian Russell's Viper Local Name : Scientific Name : Family : Genus : Length : Koriwala Vipera russelli Viperidae Daboia 1 m to 1.com/hub/The-Viper http://www.buzzle.5 m Length of the Snout-vent : 1025 mm to 1080 mm Tail Length : 212 mm to 225 mm http://hubpages.html .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful