Cryptelytrops venustus previously Trimeresurus venustus – (Brown-spotted Green Pit Viper, Beautiful Pit Viper)
Length: average 40-70 cm
Range: Chumpon to Krabi Province in Thailand. I have found them in Krabi and Surat Thani provinces.
Notes: I found this one in the picture on a small hill at a Buddhist temple on a hill next to some steps. These venomous snakes are usually on the ground, but this one was laying in a bush about 1.3 meters high, right next to the path. It was non-aggressive and didn’t protest when I moved it away from the path with my long stick.
Habitat: The snake lives almost only on the ground where it hunts frogs and lizards. They also enjoy jungle, limestone mountains, and rubber plantations. I currently have one residing in my aquarium where it spends most time suspended from a branch just a few inches off the bottom of the tank.
Active Time? The snake is mainly nocturnal. Active during the day only after heavy rainfall. I have found all of mine during daylight hours.
Food: Mice, frogs, lizards. Predominantly mice. I have a good sized house gecko in the tank with this Cryptelytrops venustus, but so far she has shown no interest in it. I’ll go get some small mice here shortly. The pit vipers sense the heat of the animal and strike. The geckos are cold blooded so they are no hotter than their surroundings.
Defensive Behavior: The snake is very slow during the day and only bites if seriously aggravated. I ran into a reptile poacher in a Thailand forest and he was hand carrying one of these brown spotted green pit vipers in his left hand and had a large box turtle in his other hand. I told him – PIT! Venomous… He insisted “no, it wasn’t” and held it up to his face where the snake immediately bit him on the cheek near the lips. It let go after 1-2 seconds. He said – See?? I promptly bought the snake from him, to keep him from further harm. Not sure what hospital he was at that night!
Venom Toxicity: Mildly toxic. Bites are painful usually without significant effects. Probably this viper would need to bite down for a number of seconds to transfer enough volume of venom that it would be seriously detrimental. Bites are to be considered potentially deadly.
Offspring: The beautiful pit viper I have now is likely gravid, which contradicts some other info I’ve seen about them having offspring in the June/July time-frame. This is December. She is not overly gravid and looks to be in the beginning stages, but still – I think only a couple of months are required for gestation… she’ll have an early birth – April maybe? These snakes birth live offspring in a gelly-like bubble that breaks after coming out of the female snake. Typical numbers are 20-30 young that are colored as the adults.
Species: Cryptelytrops venustus
I could find little information about this snake beyond my own experience. Joachim Bullian at siam-info.de had some useful information which I’ve added to this article. As I said, I currently have one of these lovely snakes for a couple of days and will be adding info here to this fact sheet as I do updates.