Categorized | front-fanged

Malayan Pit Viper – Venomous – Very Dangerous

Malayan Pit Viper from southern Thailand

Calloselasma rhodostoma. Malayan Pit Viper. Usually under a meter, and thick. Very common. Very dangerous.

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 distant cousins to North American “copperhead” snakes. These vipers prefer dry, flat areas. They are known as lazy snakes. There were 5500 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. 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.

Active Time? Day and night

Food: Mice, frogs, lizards. Predominantly mice.

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 can make it to a hospital within 30 minutes.

Offspring: Lay eggs. Female guards them. Young are about 9 inches- 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.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotilinae
Genus: Calloselasma
C. rhodostoma

Binomial Classification:
Calloselasma rhodostoma

Malayan Pit Viper video:

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About Vern Lovic

All posts by Vern Lovic. Amateur herpetologist roaming about Thailand on field herping trips to find cobras, kraits, coral snakes, and other snakes native to Thailand. Thailand has over 200 snake species with many of them venomous.

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- who has written 184 posts on Thailand Snakes | Venomous | Photos | Videos | ID.

All posts by Vern Lovic. Amateur herpetologist roaming about Thailand on field herping trips to find cobras, kraits, coral snakes, and other snakes native to Thailand. Thailand has over 200 snake species with many of them venomous.

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4 Responses to “Malayan Pit Viper – Venomous – Very Dangerous”

  1. Renbe says:

    Great website, excellent tips for people like me living in Thailand !

  2. Robert says:

    That wasn’t a mouse, that was a hamster.. Lol hope that wasn’t the girlfriend or the kids pet placed in there by mistake!

    If it was a mouse it would have had a longer tail.

  3. Richard Whyter says:

    I’m just reading about the pit viper as I was very silly a few days ago drunk coming out a bar in hau him Thailand and seeing the pit viper all coiled up and decided to tease it not knowing what it was but lucky for me it never strikes me before someone pulled me away and explained in broken English what this snake was and what it can I’m horrified to my stupidity and thanks to this web site I now know to keep away if see anymore of this snakes


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