Mock Viper – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Mock Viper - Non Venomous - Not Dangerous, native to Thailand
Mock Viper – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous

(Page Updated: 6 September 2016)

Psammodynastes pulverulentus (Mock Viper, Dusky Mock Viper, Common Mock Viper)

Thais say: ngoo mok

Length: Adults average about 75 cm (28 inches)

Range: All over Thailand and southeast Asia including Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam – even getting over to Nepal and the other way, Taiwan.

Habitat: Typically the mock vipers enjoy hilly regions. I found one at a local Buddhist temple (the mock viper you see in the images on this page) at the bottom of a limestone mountain, with a skink it had just killed in southern Thailand. Mock vipers can also be found under leaves and brush. Recently we found two of them in some leaf litter on a mountain. Apparently they like a variety of habitat.

Active Time? Nocturnal primarily, but as I mentioned I found one during the morning about 10:30 am., and I found two more at night around 10 pm. These Thailand snakes are terrestrial – preferring the ground to trees.

Food: Skinks and other lizards, and of course, frogs – like nearly every other snake in Thailand. The adult mock viper I found in the morning was eating a large skink. This mock viper also, occasionally eats other small snakes.

Defensive Behavior: Slow to bite, they coil up as most snakes and strike. I handled mine repeatedly and didn’t get struck at but a couple of times.

Venom Toxicity: Not strong enough to hurt humans. Don’t let it bite down on you for more than a couple of seconds though.

Offspring: This species is ovoviparous, embryos develop inside eggs which remain inside the mother where they hatch. Mating has been observed occurring for over one hour in a tank for m/f mocks in captivity.

Notes: These are really beautiful snakes. Mock vipers have a thick, strong body. They are not really vipers, but they do possess a weak venom that doesn’t affect humans much. They are rear fanged. Female mock vipers are larger than the males on average at adulthood.

IMPORTANT: There is a chance you will confuse it with the highly toxic venomous snake, the Malayan Pit Viper. It has markings that are very similar, though it doesn’t have the giant triangular head of the Malayan pit viper – it is pretty close. I thought I had a mutant Malayan pit viper when I first found this species.

Mock Viper top and head, Thailand venomous snake
Very distinct markings, not similar to a Malayan Pit Viper when looked at closely
Mock Viper with Dead Skink Meal
He regurgitated that skink as some tourists poked him with a stick before I arrived.

Video – Mock Viper Found at Night September 2016

Video – Mock Viper I Caught in the morning in Southern Thailand:

Common Mock Viper Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Psammodynastes
Species: P. pulverulentus
Binomial name: Psammodynastes pulverulentus
(classified by H. Boie, in year 1827)

About Vern Lovic

Snake posts by Vern Lovic. Amateur herpetologist roaming about Thailand on field herping tours and events to find king cobras, kraits, vipers, corals, keelbacks, and other snakes native to Thailand. FYI - Thailand has over 200 snake species. Here's our latest book with detailed information on Thailand's 35 Deadly Snakes. "Is That Snake In Your House Dangerous? Identify Deadly Thailand Snakes In Under 5 Minutes!" INFO HERE.

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