The Russell's viper is one of the most dangerous snakes in Asia.It can be found throughout much of Asia including India, Southern China and Taiwan.
Russell's viper grows to a length of 1 to 1.5 m. Its head is long and triangular, with large, prominent nostrils on each side of the snout. The fangs of the snake are large, while its tail is quite small. The length of the snout-vent is 1025 to 1080 mm, while that of the tail is 212 to 225 mm.
The color of the Russell’s viper of India may be dark brown, brownish-yellow or brownish-gray, with black or brown oval spots edged with black/white. The young vipers are clear orange to brownish-orange in color. There are rows of oval spots along both the sides of the body and the tail is striped.The top portion of the head has three separate semi triangular spots, which form a triangle with the vertex between the eyes. There is also a dark band running diagonally from the eye to the corner of the mouth. At the base of the head is a pair of dark spots and the snout is adorned with a light V-shaped canthal mark.
Most often found in open dry grassy areas. Also frequents brushy fields, scrub forest and agriculture. Can be found near human habitations, but is not commonly seen within Bangkok itself. During the day is usually found hiding in bushes, grass clumps, between rocks, or in depressions in the ground.
Russell’s viper is one of the deadliest snakes in Thailand. Though it may often appear sluggish, when threatened it is aggressive and can strike with surprising speed. Absolutely avoid harassing this snake as it may strike without prior warning.
Female give birth to 6-96 live young from May to mid-August.
Russell's viper is responsible for the more deaths due to snakebite than any other venomous snake. It is highly irritable and when threatened, coils tightly, hisses, and strikes with a lightning speed. Its hemotoxic venom is a very potent coagulant, which damages tissue as well as blood cells.
Russell’s viper helps to control rodent populations and is often found near human habitations hunting mice and rats. On occasion it will also eat lizards, frogs, birds, or arthropods.