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Pit Viper

Last updated date: 22nd Mar 2024
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Snakes are carnivorous reptiles with elongated bodies and no limbs that belong to the Serpentes suborder. Snakes are ectothermic, amniote animals with overlapping scales, like all other squamates. Snakes have more joints in their skulls than their lizard forefathers, allowing them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their extremely flexible jaws. Snakes' paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other rather than side by side to accommodate their thin bodies, and most have only one functional lung. A pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca is retained in some species. Through convergent evolution, lizards have evolved elongated bodies without limbs or with severely reduced limbs roughly twenty-five times independently, resulting in many legless lizard lineages. Although this rule is not general, numerous common groups of legless lizards have eyelids and external ears, which snakes do not have.

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Pit Vipers 

Pit vipers are some of the world's most beautiful and lethal snakes. They can be found on various continents and in a wide range of environments. They are hunt masters, with some incredible "weapons" for tracking down and killing their prey. The phrase "pit viper" refers to a collection of snakes with similar characteristics. They're all vipers, and they're all hunting with heat-sensing pits. Pit plus viper is pit viper. The Viperidae family includes all pit vipers. However, not all Viperidae are pit vipers. To put it another way, some snakes in the Viperidae family do not have pets (such as the puff adder).

The phrase "pit viper" has two parts, each of which tells you something about these snakes. All of the snakes in this group belong to the Viperidae family of snakes, also known as vipers. The first half of the name, "pit," alludes to the snakes' heat-sensing pits. The snake's eye and nostril are roughly halfway between these pits. The thermoreceptors are the pits. They can detect temperature variations, which aids pit vipers in locating their prey (especially the warm-blooded animals).

Pit vipers, crotaline snakes, and pit adders are members of the Crotalinae family of venomous pit viper found in Eurasia and the Americas. They are recognized by the existence of a heat-sensing pit organ on both sides of the head, placed between the eye and the nostril. There are now 22 genera and 151 species identified: These are also the only viperids that have been discovered in the Americas. Rattlesnakes, lanceheads, and Asian pit vipers are among the snakes represented. Crotalus is the type genus for this subfamily, and the timber rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, is the type species. The price of pit vipers is approx $89. So considering the amount it can not be considered as pit vipers cheap.


The hump-nosed viper, Hypnale hypnale, grows to an average total length (including tail) of only 30–45 cm (12–18 in), while the bushmaster, Lachesis muta, reaches a maximum total length of 3.65 m (12.0 ft). Pit vipers have a deep pit, or fossa, in the loreal area between the eye and the nostril on either side of the head. These loreal pits are the external entrances to a pair of highly sensitive infrared-detecting organs that effectively provide snakes with a sixth sense to assist them to locate and possibly evaluate the size of the small, warm-blooded food on which they feed.

Infrared light falling on the membrane allows the snake to discern the direction of its prey as it gets into range. Experiments have revealed that when these snakes are deprived of their senses of sight and smell, they can strike correctly at moving objects that are less than 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the backdrop. The snake's thermal rangefinder is provided by the paired pit organs. These organs are extremely valuable to a predator hunting at night, as well as to a snake evading its predators.

These snakes are particularly uncommon among vipers in that they contain a specialized muscle between the venom gland and the ectopterygoid's head called the musculus pterygoideus glandular. Contraction of this muscle, along with that of them. compressor glandular, causes venom to be forced out of the gland.

Different Types of Pit Vipers

Pink Pit Vipers: Pink pit vipers referred to as Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) is a poisonous snake (one of the big four venomous snakes) native to the Indian subcontinent, belonging to the Viperidae family. It was named after Patrick Russell, who wrote about it in his 1796 work An description of Indian serpents, obtained on the coast of Coromandel, and was detailed by George Shaw and Frederick Polydore Nodder in 1797.

On mainland Asian populations, D. russelii can reach a maximum length of 166 cm (5.5 ft) and an average length of 120 cm (4 ft). On average, island populations are likely to be smaller. It has a slimmer body than most vipers. According to Ditmars (1937), a "fair-sized adult specimen".The head is triangular, flattened, and separate from the neck. The snout is rounded, elevated, and blunt. The nostrils are huge, with each one located amid a single, large nasal scale. The nasorostral scale contacts the lower margin of the nasal scale. The nasal and nasorostral scales are separated anteriorly by the supranasal scale, which has a prominent crescent form. The rostral scale is both broad and tall.

Scales that are uneven and severely fractured cover the crown of the head. The supraocular scales are small, solitary, and separated across the skull by six to nine scales. The eyes are big, yellow or gold-flecked, and encircled by 10–15 circumorbital scales. The snake has 10–12 supralabials, with the fourth and fifth being the largest. Three or four rows of suboculars separate the eye from the supralabials. The forward set of chin shields is noticeably larger than the back pair. At any given moment, the two maxillary bones support at least two and up to five or six pairs of fangs: the first are active, while the remainder is replacements. In the average specimen, the fangs are 16.5 mm (0.65 in) long.

The body is sturdy, with a rounded to a circular cross-section. The dorsal scales are keeled, with only the bottom row smooth. The dorsal scales are found in the mid-body and number 27–33. The number of ventral scales ranges from 153 to 180. The anal plate does not have any divisions. The tail is short, accounting for around 14% of the overall length, with 41–68 pairs of subcaudals. A deep yellow, tan, or brown ground colour runs the length of the body dorsally, with three series of dark brown spots running the length of the body. Each of these dots has a black ring around it, which is accentuated by a white or yellow rim on the outside. The dorsal spots, which are normally 23–30 in number, may grow together, while the side spots may separate. On each temple, there are two distinct dark patches, as well as a pinkish, salmon, or brownish V or X marking that forms an apex towards the nose. A dark streak behind the eye is outlined in white, pink, or buff. The venter is white, pale, yellowish, or pinkish, with irregular dark dots.

Mangshan Viper: Protobothrops mangshanensis, also known as the Mangshan pitviper, Mt. Mang pitviper, or Mang Mountain pitviper, is a poisonous pit viper indigenous to the Chinese regions of Hunan and Guangdong. There are currently no recognized subspecies. This nocturnal pit viper is also known as the "Mangshan iron-head snake,"'Chinese pit viper," and the "Ironhead viper," among other names. Frogs, birds, insects, and small animals are among their favourite foods. Caudal luring is a behaviour in which they wag their white tail tip to imitate a grub, luring prey within striking range. The venom causes blood clotting and muscle tissue corrosion, and it can be fatal. P. mangshanensis is oviparous, with the female laying clutches of 13-21 eggs that she will guard until they hatch, which is unusual for vipers.

Mountain Pit Vipers: The poisonous pitviper Ovophis monticola considered as mountain pit vipers are found in Asia. The head has a short snout that is slightly longer than the diameter of the eye. Small scales, rather than massive shields, cover the crown, and the scales are usually smooth and feebly imbricate. 

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The first upper labial is separated from the nose by a suture and is not united to it. Supraoculars are big, with a line of 5-9 scales between them. The internasals are normally separated by two little suprapostrostral scales and do not come into touch with one another. The second upper labial is normally united to the scale surrounding the facial sensory pit anteriorly. There are 7-10 upper labials. Under the eye, the fourth and fifth upper labials are separated from the orbit by a series of 2-4 tiny scales.

Habitat of Pit Vipers

Pit vipers are found all over the world. They've evolved to thrive in a wide range of environments, from deserts to jungles. These can be found throughout the Old World, from eastern Europe to Asia, including Japan, China, Indonesia, peninsular India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. They stretch from southern Canada to Central America and southern South America in the Americas.

Crotalus cerastes, a member of the Crotalus subfamily, can be found in a variety of habitats, including the desert (e.g., the sidewinder, Crotalus cerastes) and rainforests (e.g., the bushmaster, Lachesis muta). They can be arboreal or terrestrial, and one species, the cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus, is even semiaquatic. Crotalus triseriatus in Mexico and Gloydius Strauch in China both hold the altitude record, having been discovered above the treeline at over 4,000 m height.


Although some crotaline species, such as Trimeresurus trigonocephalus, a vivid emerald green pit viper unique to Sri Lanka, are highly active during the day, the majority are nocturnal, preferring to avoid high daytime temperatures and hunt when their preferred prey is also active. The heat-sensitive pits of the snakes are also thought to help them choose cooler places to rest.

Crotaline are ambush predators that wait patiently for unexpected prey to wander by. At least one species, the arboreal Gloydius shedaoensis of China, is known to choose a specific ambush position and return to it every year during the spring bird migration. According to studies, these snakes improve their strike accuracy over time.

Many temperate pit vipers (including most rattlesnakes) cluster in sheltered locations or "dens" to overwinter, taking advantage of the combined heat. Pit vipers bask on sunny ledges in cool weather and while pregnant. Some species, such as the copperhead Agkistrodon contortrix and the Mojave rattlesnake Crotalus scutulatus, do not congregate in this way.

Crotalines, like other snakes, prefer to remain to themselves and only strike if cornered or threatened. Smaller snakes are less likely than larger ones to defend their territory. Many pit viper populations have declined as a result of pollution and rainforest degradation. Pit vipers are also endangered by humans, as many are targeted for their skins or killed by cars when they wander onto roadways.


Crotalines are ovoviviparous, which means the embryos develop inside eggs that stay inside the mother's body until the kids are ready to hatch, at which point the hatchlings emerge as functionally free-living young. Eggshells are reduced to flexible membranes in such species, which the young shed either within the reproductive tract or shortly after emergence. Brood numbers range from two to 86 for the fer-de-lance, Bothrops atrox, which is one of the most prolific of all live-bearing snakes. The brilliantly coloured tails of many young crotales contrast dramatically with the rest of their bodies. The young snakes use worm-like movements with their tails to entice unsuspecting prey within striking reach in a behaviour known as caudal luring.

How Many Snakes are there in this Group?

The pit viper subfamily contains 18 genera and 151 snake species. The word "current" is a crucial component of the final phrase. Scientists are continuously discussing the classification of animals. So there could be more or less pit vipers in this family in five years. Remember that it is the way we "label" animals that are changing, not the animals themselves.

FAQs on Pit Viper

1. Explain the Difference Between Pit Vipers and Vipers?

Ans. A viper is a deadly snake of a certain type. Although viper is a scientific term for a family of snakes that poison people by biting them with hollow fangs that inject venom, it is frequently used to characterize someone who is spiteful, disloyal, or backstabbing. Although both true and pit vipers have vertically oriented, elliptical, "cat-like" pupils in their eyes, true vipers lack the temperature-sensitive facial pits that give pit vipers their name.

2. Which is the Most Dangerous Snake in the World?

Ans. The inland taipan is properly known as 'the ferocious snake,' as it is widely recognized as the world's most venomous snake or venomous pit viper. Its paralyzing venom, lipoxin, is a mixture of neurotoxins, procoagulants, and myotoxins that induces bleeding in blood vessels and muscle tissue, as well as inhibiting breathing. In contrast to the more protective coastal taipan, the inland taipan is usually a quiet and reclusive snake with a tranquil personality who prefers to avoid trouble. If provoked, mishandled, or prevented from fleeing, it will defend itself and strike.

3. What Classified Snake as a Pit Viper?

Ans. Pit viper, any viper (subfamily Crotalinae) has a heat-sensitive pit organ between each eye and nose that helps it precisely aim its attack at its warm-blooded victim in addition to two movable fangs. They are recognized by the existence of a heat-sensing pit organ on both sides of the head, placed between the eye and the nostril. Pit vipers are mostly found in the New World, ranging from deserts to rainforests. 

4. Are Pit Vipers are Worth Money?

Ans. All of Pit Viper's polarised lenses are made of 1.2mm high index impact-resistant polycarbonate. Overall, the optical quality of these lenses wasn't quite up to the line with the finest models in tests, but it was found that polarisation was a non-issue and well worth the benefits as long as there is enough light.