Gloydius himalayanus

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Gloydius himalayanus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Gloydius
Species: G. himalayanus
Binomial name
Gloydius himalayanus
(Günther, 1864)[1]
  • Trigonocephalus affinis
    – Günther, 1860 (part)
  • Halys himalayanus Günther, 1864
  • Halys Himalayanus
    Stoliczka, 1870
  • Halys Hymalayanus
    Stoliczka, 1870 (ex errore)
  • Trigonocephalus himalayanus Strauch, 1873
  • Crotalus Halys Himalayanus – Higgins, 1873
  • Ancistrodon himalayanus
    Boulenger, 1890
  • Agkistrodon himalayanus
    – Hatta, 1928
  • A[gkistrodon]. himalayana
    Underwood, 1979
  • Gloydius himalayanus
    Hoge & Romano-Hoge, 1981[2]
Common names: Himalayan pit viper,[3] Himalayan viper.[4]

Gloydius himalayanus is a venomous pitviper species found along the southern slopes of the Himalayas in Pakistan, India and Nepal. No subspecies are currently recognized.[1]


The head is distinctly wide and elongated, with symmetrically arranged large scales. The dorsal scales are strongly keeled. An elongated postocular extends anteriorly to separate the eye from the supralabials. The dorsum is brownish, mottled or variegated to form a pattern of transverse bars. Ventral scales are white with black and red dots or speckles. Average length of these snakes is between 0.76 and 0.90 metres (2.5 and 3.0 ft).[5] Dorsal scale count is "(20 to 23) - 21 (19 to 23) - 17 (15)",[6] which means behind head, 20-23 rows; at midbody, usually 21 rows, but sometimes 19 or 23; just before vent, usually 17 rows, but sometimes 15.

It is the only snake, found in Pakistan, with a pit (heat-sensing loreal pit) between the eye and nostril.


Occurs along the southern slopes of the Himalayas from northeastern Pakistan, to northern India (Kashmir, Punjab) and Nepal. Reports that this species occurs in Sikkim, India, need to be confirmed.[2]


This is a highland snake and is found in altitudes ranging from 2,100 to 4,900 m (6,900 to 16,100 ft) in the mid and western Himalayas. It takes refuge under fallen timber, crevices, in or under rocks, beneath boulders, ledges, stones and fallen leaves.[5]

Behavior and diet[edit]

This is a nocturnal and terrestrial species, often seen close to its hiding place, to which it retreats when disturbed. It is a lazy timid snake, moving slowly from one place to another. Its food consists mostly of millipedes, centipedes, and small rodents.[5][6]


Bites from this species result in intense local pain and swelling, which usually subsides within two to three days, even without treatment.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Gloydius himalayanus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 20 May 2007. 
  2. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ Gloyd HK, Conant R. 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex: A Monographic Review. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 614 pp. 52 plates. LCCN 89-50342. ISBN 0-916984-20-6.
  4. ^ Gotch AF. 1986. Reptiles -- Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, UK: Blandford Press. 176 pp. ISBN 0-7137-1704-1.
  5. ^ a b c d Gopalakrishnakone, Chou, P, LM (1990). Snakes of Medical Importance (Asia-Pacific Region). Singapore: Venom and Toxin Research Group National University of Singapore and International Society on Toxinology (Asia-Pacific section). p. 436. ISBN 9971-62-217-3. 
  6. ^ a b "Gloydius himalayanus". Clinical Toxinology Resource. University of Adelaide. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gloyd HK, Conant R. 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex. A Monographic Review. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Contributions to Herpetology No. 6. SSAR, Oxford, Ohio. vi + 614 pp. + 52 pl.
  • Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabow S. 2004. Asian Pit Vipers. Geitje Books. Berlin. 368 pp.
  • Günther A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. The Ray Society. (Taylor & Francis, Printers). London. xxvii + 452 pp. (Halys himalayanus, pp. 393–394.)

External links[edit]