Calloselasma rhodostoma (Malayan Pit Viper, Malaysian Pit Viper)
Thais say: Ngoo gap pa
Length: Less than 1 meter. Female Malayan Pit Vipers are the larger and fatter snakes. Males of the species don’t make it to 1 meter long.
Range: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma, and China.
Notes: These vipers are similar to North American “copperhead” snakes. These vipers prefer dry, flat areas. They are known as lazy snakes. There were 5,500 bites in Malaysia in 2008. Malayan Pit Vipers don’t get out of the way when they sense someone coming. After they bite they’re often found in exactly the same spot. These snakes are so dangerous when handled because they are not consistent with their behavior. One day they will be calm. The next, or the next 10 minutes – they will violently strike lightening fast. Their preferred habitat is under dry leaves, wood, or rocks. They are active during the night mostly, especially while raining.
Nickname: Finger rotters – given by Al Coritz, Viperkeeper on YouTube. If they get you in the finger – you’ll likely lose part of your finger without immediate care.
Habitat: Forests, rubber plantations, bamboo patches, farmland, grassland. Often lies in the short or long grass. These are terrestrial snakes that I’ve never seen climb anything.
Active Time? Day if cloudy and/or rainy and night.
Food: Mice, frogs, lizards. Predominantly rodents.
Defensive Behavior: Partially coiled with neck in an “S”. Their strike is very fast. Their fangs are long – and in the front of the mouth. Some strikes are short, others involve the whole body as it “jumps” at the same time it strikes. Don’t underestimate the distance this snake can reach when striking. Also, this snake is VERY good at striking behind its head. Watch the video. After striking, or biting, they can often be found in the exact same spot you left it in hours later.
Venom Toxicity: Very toxic. Venom is hemotoxic – it destroys red blood cells and tissue. With a quick hospital visit after a bite you may just lose part of your finger, or some tissue where the bite occurred. Most people don’t die if they go to the hospital. Deaths occur when bite victims delay seeking medical treatment. There is antivenom for this snake.
Offspring: Lay eggs. Female guards them. Young are about 9 inches long and fast and thin. Fully ready to bite and have full strength venom.
Malayan Pit Viper Eating Mouse Video – close up of large fangs, strike, etc.
Species: C. rhodostoma
Malayan Pit Viper video:
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