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Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Montatheris
Broadley, 1996
M. hindii
Binomial name
Montatheris hindii
(Boulenger, 1910)

Genus synonymy

Species synonymy

  • Vipera hindii
    Boulenger, 1910
  • V[ipera]. hindei
    Schwarz, 1936
  • Hindius hindii
    — A.F.T. Reuss, 1939
    (nomen nudum)
  • Bitis hindii
    Kramer, 1961
  • Atheris hindii
    Marx & Rabb, 1965
  • Montatheris hindii
    — Broadley, 1996[1]
Common names: Kenya mountain viper,[2] Kenya montane viper,[3] montane viper,[4] Hind's viper.[5]

Montatheris is a monotypic genus created for the venomous viper species, M. hindii. This is a small terrestrial species endemic to Kenya. There are no subspecies which are currently recognized as being valid.[6]


The specific name, hindii, is in honor of Sidney Langford Hinde, a British military medical officer and naturalist.[7]


M. hindii is a small species reaching an average total length (including tail) of 20–30 cm (7.9–11.8 in) and a maximum total length of about 35 cm (14 in). The head is elongated and not very distinct from the neck, while the eyes are small and set in a rather forwards position. The dorsal scales are strongly keeled.[2]

Geographic range[edit]

M. hindii is known only from isolated populations at high altitudes on Mount Kenya and the moorlands of the Kinangop Plateau, Aberdare Mountains.

The type locality listed is "Fort Hall, Kenya District, 4000 ft.". Since Fort Hall is at an altitude of only 4000 feet (1219 m), Loveridge (1957) questioned whether this was accurate.[1][3]


M. hindii occurs at high altitudes of 2,700–3,800 m (8,900–12,500 ft) in treeless moorlands. It favors clumps of bunch grass for cover.[3]


A terrestrial species, because of the low nighttime temperatures in its native habitat, M. hindii is only active during the day and when there is enough sunlight to warm its environment.[3]


M. hindii feeds on chameleons, skinks, and small frogs. It may also take small rodents.[8]


This species M. hindii is apparently viviparous (ovoviviparous). One wild-caught female produced two young in late January,[3] while another gave birth to three in May. The total length of each newborn was 10–13 cm (3.9–5.1 in).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T (1999). Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G (2003). True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  3. ^ a b c d e Spawls S, Branch B (1995). The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Dubai: Ralph Curtis Books. Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  4. ^ Montatheris hindii at The World Of Atheris. Accessed 9 September 2007.
  5. ^ Mehrtens JM (1987). Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  6. ^ "Montatheris hindii ". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 31 July 2006.
  7. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michel; Grayson, Michel (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Montatheris hindii, p. 124).
  8. ^ Spawls S, Howell K, Drewes R, Ashe J (2004). A Field Guide To The Reptiles Of East Africa. London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. 543 pp. ISBN 0-7136-6817-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrén C (1976). "The reptile fauna in the lower alpine zone of Aberdare Mountains and Mt. Kenya". British Journal of Herpetology 5 (7): 566-575.
  • Boulenger GA (1910). "Descriptions of Four new African Snakes in the British Museum". Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Eighth Series 5: 512-513. (Vipera hindii, new species, p. 513).
  • Broadley DG (1996). "A review of the tribe Atherini (Serpentes: Viperidae), with the descriptions of two new genera". African Journal of Herpetology 45 (2): 40-48. (Montatheris, new genus).
  • Loveridge A (1957). "Check List of the Reptiles and Amphibians of East Africa (Uganda ; Kenya ; Tanganyika ; Zanzibar)". Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., Harvard College 117 (2): 151-362. (Vipera hindii, pp. 300–301).
  • Marx H, Rabb GB (1965). "Relationships and Zoogeography of the Viperine Snakes (Family Viperidae)". Field Zoology 44 (21): 161-206.

External links[edit]