Saturday, May 25, 2019

Indian Russell's Viper

Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) is a venomous snake found in Asia throughout the Indian Subcontinent, much of Southeast Asia, southern China and Taiwan. It is one of the snakes causing the most deaths in the areas they are found because of their aggressive behavior, tendency to be in highly populated areas and they are fairly common. There are two subspecies. We saw the Indian Russell's viper (D. r. russelii), the nominate subspecies, found in the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka. 
Indian Russell's viper
It can grow up to 5.5 feet long, but island populations tend to be smaller. The head is flattened, triangular and distinct from the neck. The snout is blunt, rounded and raised. The body is stout. It is deep yellow, tan or brown ground color, with three series of dark brown spots that run the length of the body. Each spot has a black ring around it, the outer border of which is intensified with a rim of white or yellow. Dorsal spots may grow together, while side spots may break apart. The head has a pair of distinct dark patches, one on each temple, together with a pinkish, salmon or brownish V or X marking that forms an apex towards the snout. Behind the eye is a dark streak, outlined in white, pink or buff. 
We saw the Indian Russell's viper at a home in Matare, Sri Lanka, the owner of which keeps snakes and shows them to tourists for a fee. He captured this viper after he was called by someone who found it near their home. The mouth is injured and does not look normal, I don't recall if that was from the capture. It was quite aggressive, having no problems opening its mouth in a threatening manner towards us. 


  1. Wow, that last shot is terrifying. I'm glad we didn't see one of these in the wild or hooked on our leg.

  2. I saw it last week when I was returning from a training Bemetara in Chhattisgarh in India. I could not identify i captured this=

  3. I saw it today! I became fascinated with that!

  4. I saw today in ramtek dis Nagpur. State Maharashtra India

  5. I saw it today at my farmhouse. My dog was chasing it. Had to kill it immediately