Trimeresurus malabaricus

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Trimeresurus malabaricus
Pit viper head.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Trimeresurus
Species: T. malabaricus
Binomial name
Trimeresurus malabaricus
(Jerdon, 1854)
  • Trigonocephalus (Cophias) malabaricus Jerdon, 1854
  • Trigonocephalus (Cophias) wardii Jerdon, 1854
  • Trimesurus Malabaricus
    Beddome, 1862
  • Trimesurus Wardii – Beddome, 1862
  • Trimeresurus anamallensis
    Günther, 1864
  • Crotalus Trimeres[urus]. anamallensis – Higgins, 1873
  • Crotalus Trimeres[urus]. Wardii
    – Higgins, 1873
  • B[othrops]. anamallensis
    F. Müller, 1878
  • Lachesis anamallensis Boulenger, 1896
  • Lachesis malabaricus Rao, 1917
  • Lachesis coorgensis Rao, 1917
  • Trimeresurus malabaricus M.A. Smith, 1943[2]
  • Trimeresurus (Craspedocephalus) malabaricus – David et al., 2011[3]

Trimeresurus malabaricus, commonly known as Malabar pit viper, rock viper or Malabar rock pit viper[4][5] is a venomous pit viper species endemic to southwestern India. No subspecies are currently recognized.[6]


T. malabaricus.

Adults may attain a snout-vent length (SVL) of 105 cm (41 in). The tail is prehensile.[7]

The weakly keeled dorsal scales are arranged in 21 or 19 rows at midbody. Ventral scales in the males number 143-158 and in females 136-159. Anal scale entire. Subcaudals paired and numbering 50-63 in males, 44-54 in females. Internasals large and usually touching. There are 9 or 10 supralabials, the first completely separated from the nasal. There is a single row of scales between supralabials and elongate subocular. The temporal scales are smooth or obliquely keeled.[8]

Many different colour morphs are known to exist, including colours such as yellow, green, and brown. Shown here is a brown colour morph with pattern.

A brown morph of Malabar Pit viper in ambush position.
T. malabaricus, brown morph.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The species is found in southern and western India at 600–2,000 metres (2,000–6,600 ft) elevation. The type locality are the Western Ghats of southwestern India).[2] It inhabits moist forests, both evergreen and deciduous, where it may be found on the ground, on low vegetation, or in shrubs.[7]


The Malabar pit viper is nocturnal and usually inactive in the day, sometimes seen basking on rocks or trees near streams. It is more commonly encountered during the monsoon months. The species preys upon tree frogs, geckos, musk shrews, and other small animals.[7]


T. malabaricus is slow-moving, but capable of fast strikes. Its venom causes moderate pain and swelling to humans. These symptoms subside in a day or two.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Srinivasulu, C.; Srinivasulu, B.; Shankar, G.; Thakur, S.; Kulkarni, N.U. & Jose, J. (2013). "Trimeresurus malabaricus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ The Reptile Database.
  4. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  5. ^ Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S. 2004. Asian Pitvipers. Geitje Books. Berlin. 1st Edition. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.
  6. ^ "Trimeresurus malabaricus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 11 March 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c Das, Indraneil. 2002. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of India. Ralph Curtis Books. Sanibel Island, Florida. 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-056-5. (Trimeresurus malabaricus, p. 66.)
  8. ^ a b Whitaker R, Captain A. 2004. Snakes of India, The Field Guide. Draco books.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jerdon, T.C. 1854 ["1853"]. Catalogue of Reptiles inhabiting the Peninsula of India. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 22: 522-534.
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. III.—Serpentes. Secretary of State for India. (Taylor and Francis, Printers.) London. xii + 583 pp. (Trimeresurus malabaricus, p. 513.)

External links[edit]