Belonging to the Viperidae family, Russell’s viper or Daboia russelii is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. It is found in throughout Indian Subcontinent and some parts of South East Asia. It is among the Big Four Category of Snake; causing more deaths in Asia. During the day, it is sluggish and reluctant to move, but at night, it is highly active and wanders in farmlands mostly. To know more, let us read some more interesting and intriguing facts about Russell’s viper.
1. Named after a Scottish Herpetologist
The snake was named after a Scottish Herpetologist, Patrick Russell. Patrick Russell was a naturalist who worked in India. He studied the snakes of India and is often considered the Father of Indian Ophiology.
Source: enacademic.com, Image: Wikimedia
2. Spread across Indian Subcontinent
The snake is found in mainly Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka) and some nations of South-East Asia.
3. Beware of its fangs
Russell’s viper is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Their fangs can reach up to 0.65 inches. On average, the snake can yield 45 mg venom in a single bite.
Source: snake-facts.weebly.com, image: Flickr
4. Don’t go to these places
The snake is found in a humid environment and mostly hides in bushes, swamps, rain forests. They live mostly in rodent burrows, old termite mounds, rock crevices, piles of leaves, or other debris.
Source: rue Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers (Book)
5. How Does It Look Like?
Russell’s viper has a deep yellow or pale brown skin covered with dark brown, elliptical spots surrounded with black rings. The belly is mostly white and usually covered with irregular dark markings. It has a flat triangular head, two fangs, medium-sized eyes with the vertical pupil
Source: softschools.com, Image: Flickr
6. The Behaviour changes according to seasons
During the summer, These snakes are nocturnal; remain active at nights. As the winters fall, they become active during the day. They generally avoid human contacts and mostly search rodents for their meal.
7. 40-60 snakelets in a single delivery
The Russell’s viper gets able to mate at the age of 2. The females produce a litter of 40-60 snakelets. However, once, a female produced a litter of as many as 75 snakelets in India.
8. Infamous for killing humans
Russell’s viper is included in the Big Four category of Snakes. The Big Four category includes Common krait, Russell’s viper, Indian saw-scaled viper, and Indian Cobra. These snakes are the most venomous snakes in the Indian Subcontinent. Every year, they cause more than 81,000 envenomings and more than 11,000 deaths. In Myanmar, around 70-80% of bites are inflicted by Russell’s viper.
Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, GIF: Gfycat
9. Common symptoms of its bite
The common symptoms of Russell’s viper bites are- pain, swelling at the bite location, blistering on the skin, vomiting, and dizziness. If not treated, the victim’s kidneys may fail.
10. 15 years of captivity
In wild, Russell’s viper can live almost 9-11 years, though, in captivity, it can survive around 15 years.
11. A snake looks like Russell’s viper
A snake named the rough-scaled sand boa or Gongylophis conicus looks like Russell’s viper. Its pattern on skin matches with that of Russell’s viper. The major difference between the two is that the rough-scaled sand boa is not poisonous.
Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikimedia