Mangrove Pit Viper – Venomous – Dangerous

Mangrove pit viper in mangrove trees in Krabi province, Thailand.
Mangrove Pit Viper - Dangerous - Bite Frequently. Photo courtesy of Carlton Wagner and Michael Miller, used with permission.
Mangrove Pit Viper - Thailand
Not found near homes much - but, here is one...

Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus (Mangrove Pit Viper, also known as mangrove viper, shore pit viper, purple-spotted pit viper, shore pitviper.

Thais Say: Ngoo pang ka

Length: Males grow to about 60cm and females to 90 cm on average.

Habitat: Usually near water and very wet areas. However, recently one was found on a sidewalk by a bungalow on the island of Koh Phi Phi in Krabi province, Thailand. They like stream banks with good cover – low lying plants that they can hide under. They like hilly habitat.

Behavior: These snakes are very easily agitated, and once they get going they are hard to calm down. Their strikes are very fast, but thankfully – short. These are known by snake handlers to have a “bad temper”.

These Thailand vipers are rather hard to identify – but they are usually like the photo above – greyish with a bit of purple in the coloring. Some are very purple. We’ve also seen a brownish toned mangrove pit viper with some yellow highlights. Now for our top photo we have a greenish toned viper. Obviously – color is highly variable in this species.

Venom toxicity: Venomous and very toxic to humans. Though people have died as a result of bites from this snake, this is not usually the case.

Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Trimeresurus
Species: T. purpureomaculatus

Classified as – Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus by Gray in year 1832.

Mangrove pit viper photo courtesy of, and full copyright by – Richard Richert.

Thanks Richard!

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.

2 thoughts on “Mangrove Pit Viper – Venomous – Dangerous”

  1. Hello,
    I think we met one on our bungalow terrace in Koh Phi Phi 2 weeks ago. Brrr… scary, it was just near my foot while I was writing my postcards !
    See the link enclosed
    Regards,
    Celine

    1. Hi Celine,

      Yep, that’s a mangrove pit viper (Crypteletrops purpureomaculatus). Here’s the FACT SHEET for it (click) They have a strong venom, and sometimes a strong attitude to go with it. So lucky your foot wasn’t bitten. I wrote you email. Cheers, Vern

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