Skip to main content

Full text of "Poisonous snakes of the world : a manual for use by the U. S. amphibious forces"

See other formats

i D- 

■ D" 

■ tr 

; '-' 

, D 

; m 

Poisonous Snakes 



NAVMED P-5099 


Uuitetl States 

Governineiit I'rinting Office 

Washington, U. C. 

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Wasliington, D.C. 20402 

Stock Number 008-045-00009-7 


The first edition of the ONI 3-62, Poisonous Snakes of the World, was 
published on 30 June 1062 under the auspices of the Oflice of Xaval Intelli- 
gence of the Office of the Chief of Xaval Operations. The widespread in- 
terest generated by this publication and the increasing commitments of Xa^'y 
and Marine forces throughout the world, particularly in Southeast Asia, have 
served to emphasize tlie need for a more authoritative manual that can be 
used for training and in support of military operations. The Bureau of 
Afedicine and Surgery, having recognized this necessity, assumed the responsi- 
bility for a more delinitive and comprehensive up-to-date presentation of the 
problems relating to venomous snakes. 

Commander Granville ^I. ^foore, MSC, I'SX, was appointed as coordi- 
nator and principal editor to woriv with a conunittee of eminent herpelologists, 
selected by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Ilerpetologists, to 
revise the manual. The Bureau of >redicine and .Surgery gratefully acknowl- 
edges the important contributions made by this conunittee and the services 
provided by the New York Zoological Society. 

First aid procedures in cases of snakebite as des<'ribed herein are ap- 
proved by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery aiul the specilic treatment .set 
forth represents the official policy of this Bureau at the time of publication. 

This manual is reconnuei\ded for use by all ships, stations, and commands 
in need of authoritative information about snakes and snakebites. 

R. B. Brown 
Vice Admiral, MC 
United States Xavy 
Surgeon General and Chief, 
Bureau of Medicine and Surgerj' 


This revision has hcoii iiiiuh' willi ihc assislaiu-e of a, coriiinitleo appointed 
l)y tiic Aiiu'ricaii Society of Iciiliiyoio^isis and Ilcipctoioixisls. Tiie conunit- 
tee consisted of Dr. Herndon G. Dowlin*;^, Dr. Sliennan A. Minion, Jr. (cliair- 
nian), and Dr. Findlay E. Txiissell. Tiie le.xt has i)een hir<^ely rewritten, 
however, numy of llie original illustrations have been retained. 

This manual is intended to serve as a training aid and as an iilcnt iliration 
guide to the most widely distributed species of daiigei'ously venomous snakes. 
Cieographic distribution of all currently recognized sjjecies of venomous snakes 
is presented in talmlar form. Information on habitat and biology of im- 
portant snake species has been provided. 

First aid procedures in case of snakebite and suggestions for the definitive 
medical numageinent of the snakebite victim are presented. There is a table 
of world sonnies of antivenins. 

The manuscript for the text of this manual was submitted for publication 
on 1 November 1905. A few additions have been made during tlie editing 
and proofreading of the te.xt but most of the included information is as of 
the date of submission. 


In revising this manual, ilu' members of tlie Committee gratefully ac- 
knowledge the advice and assistance of tlic following, each of whom is a rec- 
ognized authority in some asjjcct of hiology or medit'ine: C. A. Aluiga, Steven 
C. Anderson, H. D. Baernstein, Charles M. Bogert, F. AV. Buess, "W. I^slie 
Burger, Roger Conant, Carl dans. Joseph F. Gennaro. Jr., Itzchak Gilboa, 
Alice C. Grandison, Laurence M. Klauher. IJoi)ert E. Kuntz, Alan E. Leviton, 
Hymen Marx, Samuel 1!. :\Icl),.wcll. K. A. C. Powell, George B. Kabb, H. 
Alistair Reid, Janis A. Roze. tlie late F. A. Shannon. Harold Voris, John E. 
Werler, and Eric AA'orreli. 

Personnel of the Medical Pliolography Dixision. Naval Medical School, 
National Naval Medical Center, prejjared most of the line illustrations and 
furnished some of the jjliologiaphs. Dr. T. E. Reed. DirectfU- of the National 
Zoological Park, kindly made a\ailab|c ccitaiii specimens for photography. 
The index was prei)ared bv Itzcliak (iillioa. 

S. A. M., Jr. 

H. G. D. 

F. E. R. 


Foreword iii 

Preface iv 

Acknowledgments v 

List of Tables viii 

List of Color Plates viii 

General Information 1 


Precautions to Avoid Snakebite 2 


How to Recognize Snake Venom Poisoning 

(Symptoms and Signs) 4 

First Aid 13 

Medical Treatment 20 

Recognition of Poisonous Snakes* 25 


Distribution and Identification of Poisonous Land Snakes** 33 

Section 1, Nortli America 35 

Section 2, Mexico and Central America 47 

Section 3, Soutli America and the West Indies 59 

Section 4, Europe 71 

Section 5, North Africa 77 

Section 6, Central and Southern Africa 85 

Section 7, The Xear and Middle East 105 

Section 8, Southeast Asia 115 

Section 9, The Far East 131 

Section 10, Australia and the Pacific Islands 139 


The Sea Snakes 157 


Antivenin Sources 169 

Glossary 181 

General References 184 

Index 186 

* To facilitate use of this chapter as a reference work, a separate table of contents has been 


** To facilitate use of this chapter as a reference work, separate tables of contents have been 
provided and placed at the beginning of each geographic section. 



1. Vii'hl and liClliality of X'ciioins of I iiipoil ant Poisonous Snakes 6 

2. Symptoms and Si^rns of ( 'rotalul Hites 8 

•">. Symptoms and Sii;iis of \'ij)frid IVifes 9 

4. Symptoms and Si<j;ns of Elapid Hites 10 

5. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of North Amciica 36 

0. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of Mexico 

and Cential America 48 

7. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of South America 

and tlie West Indies 60 

8. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of Europe 72 

9. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of North Africa 78 

10. Distribution of Poisonous Snaivcs of Central 

and Soutliern Africa 86 

11. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of the Near 

and Middle East 106 

12. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of Southeast Asia 116 

13. Distribution of Poisonous Siuikes of the Far East 132 

14. Distribution of Poisonous Snakes of Australia and tlie 

Pacific Islands 140 

15. Distribution of Sea Snakes 158 


I. Kepresentative American Pit Vipers (Crotalidae) 205 

II. Representatives of Some Poisonous Snake Families 206 

III. Representatives of Some Pcnsonous Snake Families 207 

IV. Representative Pit Vipers (Crotalidae) 208 

V. Some Poisonous Snakes of Asia 209 

VI. Some Poisonous Snakes of Asia 210 

VII. Some Poisonous Snakes of Africa 211 

VIII. Some Poisonous Snakes of Africa 212 




Personnel of the U.S. Niivy and Marine Corps 
may find themselves stationed or visiting in many 
parts of the world, i^articularly the countries 
bordering the oceans. In some of these countries, 
snakebite is a significant public health hazard. 
The risk of being bitten increases during amphib- 
ious oijerations, especially in tropical and sub- 
tropical regions. During such operations the 
natural habitat of venomous snakes may be dis- 
turbed so that exposuie to tliem is markedly in- 

American militaiy forces have never experi- 
enced casualty rates from snake venom poisoning 
sufficiently liigh to jeopardize the outcome of an 
operation. However, the threat of .snakebite may 
create a morale problem sufficient to delay an 
operation or cause unnecessary fear during its 
execution. While snakebite has been rare and 
fatalities therefrom have been even more uncom- 
mon in tlie mililai'v forces, it does constitute a 
meiliral emergency i i'(|iiiriiig immediate atleiilinn 
and consideraI)lc judgmeni in management. 

This manual is designed to facilitate identifica- 
tion of the major groups (genera) of poisonous 
snakes and to identify the most dangerous species. 
It is not practical to by-pass the specialized ter- 
minology of herpetology completely, but herpeto- 
logical terms are a\oided whenever possible. 

Tliose lliat are used are defined in tlie glossary 
or are evident from examination of the figures. 

Geographic definitions of regions discussed are 
provided because of differences in the use of such 
words as Middle luisf. Soufhcuxf Asm. Xrar East, 
et eefera. Snakes found in more than one re- 
gion are listed in each. 

A second aim of the manual is to give sugges- 
tions for preventing snakebite, aiul a third aim 
is to indicate practical first aid measures sliould 
snakebite occur. Principles and procedures for 
medical management of snake venom poisoning 
are discussed, l)ut it is not a purpose of this 
maniKil to evaluate all of the varied and some- 
tinu>s conflicting therapeutic regimens that have 
ap])eared in the medical literature. 

A list of general references is incliuled at the 
end of the manual, and most chapters and sec- 
tions are followed l)y a list of specific references. 
A space I'oi' noles will be fomid at the end of 
iiiosi rhaptiTs and sect inns. This may be \ised 
I'm- additional references and information gained 
iindcr local conditions. 

The index has been prepared as a majnr source 
of information. Many local or vernacular names 
are foiuid oidi/ in tiie index, where they ai'e re- 
ferred to the scientific name of the species. 

Chapter II 


The best way to ki'f[) from licinii i)illi'ii l)y 
snakes is to avoid tlu'iu. Ilowcvei-, since there 
is little choice in a duty assignment, there are 
certain precautions to be taken in "snake coun- 
try." In such areas it is advisable to cairy a 
snakebite first aid kit. Snakebite Kit, Suction 
(FSN 6545-952-5325), may be ordered through 
the Armed Forces Supply Agency. When such 
kits are not available, the following items can be 
substituted: an antiseptic, a razor or sharp knife, 
a piece of rubber tubing or similar item to be 
used as a tourniquet, and any device capable of 
providing suction. A 10 ml. syringe with needle, 
a vial of physiologic saline and two vials of ad- 
renalin should also be carried for use in admin- 
istering horse serum sensitivity tests (see p. 16). 


"\^lien in snake infested country it is important 

1. Rememter that snake.i are probably more 
afraid of Juonan-s than hit mans are of snakes. 
(liven the chance snakes will usually rcti'iMt to 
avoid an encounter. 

2. Learn to recognize the poisonous snakes in 
the area of operation. Avoid killing harmless 

3. Avoid waJhing arovnd offer dark. Many 
venomous snakes are nocturnal and will travel at 
night far beyond the distances they may venture 
during the day. If you must walk at night be 
sure to wear boots. 

4. Remember that snakes in general avoid di- 

rect siinHght. ;ind llial llu'v are most active at- 
moderate tem[)erat ures. 

5. Avoid caves, open tombs, and kntJirn snake 
den areas. Snakes live in ai'eas which afford 
piotection and which may be frequented by other 
small animals. They may be found in consider- 
ai)le numijers in caves and open tombs during the 
hiljei'nation period which in nio>t snakes ex- 
tends from fall until early spring. Tliey may 
also seek out these same areas during the summer 

6. Remember that poisonous snakes may be 
found at high altitudes, and that they can climb 
trees and fences. 

7. Walk on clear paths «.■? much as possible. 
Avoid tall grass and areas of heavy underbrush 
or ground covering. Wear protective clothing 
when entering such areas. 

8. Avoid sivimming in inaters where snakes 
abound. Most land species of poisonous snakes 
swim well, and may, under unusual circum- 
stan<'es, l)itc while in water. Sea snakes are 
not uncommon in the Indo-Pacific area, and 
while most species are docile some may bite when 
handled or disturbed. 

9. Avoid sleeping on the ground lohenevcr pos- 

10. Avoid walking close to rocky ledges. Give 
snakes a wide passage, just in case. 

11. Avoid hiking alone in snake-infested areas. 

12. Avoid horse-play involving live or dead 
snakes. Snakes should not be handled carelessly. 
Teasing people with snakes may have unexpected 
and unfortunate results. 

Precautions /o Avoid Snakebite 

Specific Precautions 

The following DON^Ts are suggested foi- those 
in snake conntry. 

1. DON'T put your liands or feet in places you 
can not look, and 

DON'T put them in places without first look- 

2. DON'T turn or lift a rock or fallen tree 
with your hands. jVIovo it with a slick, or with 
your foot if your ankle and leg are properly 

3. DON'T disturb snakes. 

4. DON'T put your sleeping Ijag near rock 
piles or rubbish piles or near the entrance to a 

5. DON'T sit down witliout first looking 
around carefully. 

6. DON'T gather firewood after dark. 

7. DON"T step over a log if the other side is 
not visible. Step on it first. 

8. DON'T enter snake-infested areas without 
adequate protective clothing. 

9. DON'T handle freshly killed venomous 
snakes. Always carry them on a stick or in a 
bag if they nuist be returned to the command 


10. DON'T crawl under a fence in high grass, 
or in an uncleared area. 

11. DON'T go out of your way to kill a snake. 
Tiiousands of jieople are bitten by snakes each 
year merely because they try to kill them without 
knowing am-thing of their habits or habitats. 

1-2. FinallV, DON'T P.VNIC ! 



Symptoms and Signs 


In most parts of tlu' world, liili's hy ikiiinciio- 
inoxis siiiikes occur fai- inori" rriMiuciitly lliuii liitcs 
hy venomous siiakos. Since the ditlei-ential ion is 
often ditlicult. all \ictiins of snakebite sliould he 
brought under the care of a physician as quickly 
as possible. Whenever feasible the ofTendinji 
snake should be killed and broufjht with the vic- 
tim to the physician or person chartjed with the 
responsibility of identifying the reptile. 

While it is not always possible to identify the 
snake responsible for the bite by the tooth or fang 
marks found on the victim's skin, in some cases 
these may be of considerable value in diiferentiat- 
ing between bites by venomous and nonvonomons 
species. Bites by the vipers (Old World vipers, 
pit vipers of Asia, eastern Eurojie, and the rattle- 
snakes and related species of the Americas) 
usually result in one or two relatively large jiunc- 
ture woiuuls of varying depth, depending on the 
size of the snake, the force of its strike, and other 
factors. In most cases, additional tooth marks 
are not seen. Bites by the elapid snakes (cobras, 
mambas, tiger snake, taipan, coral snakes and 
related species) usually produce one or two small 
puncture wounds, although occasionally there 
ma}' be one or two additional punctures. Sea 
snake bites are characterized by multiple (2 to 
20) pinhead-sized puncture wounds. In some 
cases the teeth may be broken off and remain in 
the wound. 

Proper identification of fang or tooth marks 
may be complicated in those cases where skin 
tears result from jerking an extremity away dur- 
ing the biting act. This is a particular problem 
in viper bites where long scratches or even lacera- 

I ions ai-f inllidcd liy the fangs. In biles by 
elapid snakes there may be superficial scratches 
from the snake's mandibular and palatine teeth. 
Thus, it can be seen that while fang or tooth pat- 
lerns may be of assistance in determining the 
identity of an offending snake, they should not be 
dejiended upon as tlie deciding factor in estab- 
lishing the diagnosis. 

It should be noted that (inr cnii he li'/ttcii Iji/ ii 
riuioDioiis sniiki mill not Ik jio'ixoiud . In IS to 
40 ])er cent of the bites inflicted by venonu)us 
snakes, no signs or symptoms of poisoning 
develop. This may be due to the fact that the 
snake does not always eject venom or, if venom is 
ejected, that it does not enter the wound, as can 
sometimes happen in very superficial bites. 
This important fact should always be considered 
before s])e<-ific treatment is started. 

Venom Apparatus 

The venom apparatus of a snake consists of a 
gland, a duct, and one oi- moi'e fangs located 
on each side the tlie head (fig. 1). The size of 
these structures depends on the size and spe- 
cies of the snake. Each venom gland is in- 
vested in a connective tissue sheath which is in- 
vaded by the muscles that contract it during dis- 
charge of the venom. The innervation of these 
muscles is different from that controlling the 
biting mechanisms; thus, the snake can control 
the amount of venom it ejects. It can discharge 
venom from either fang, from both, or from 
neither. Snakes rarely eject the full contents of 
their glands. 

Most rattlesnakes probably discharge between 
25 and 75 percent of their venom when they bite 

How 1o Recognize Snake Venom Poisoning 

a human. Tlie true vipers discliarge about the 
same, perhaps slightly less. There appears to be 
a greater variation in the amount an elapid may 
discharge. Many victims of elapid venom poison- 
ing have minimal signs and symj)tonis; others 
show evidence of severe poisoning. 

The fangs of the vipers are two elongated, ca- 
naliculated teeth of the maxillary bones. These 
bones can be rotated so that the fangs can be 
moved from their resting positions against the 
upper jaw, to their biting positions, approxi- 
mately perpendicular to the upper jaw. These 
snakes have full control over their fangs, rais- 
ing or lowering tliem at will as when striking, 
biting, or yawning. The two functional fangs 
are .shed ])eriodically and are re])l;ued by the tirst 
reserve fangs. The fangs of the elapid snakes 
are two enlarged anterior maxillary teeth. These 
teeth are hollow and ai'e fixed in an erect position. 

Snake Venoms 
The venom of most snakes is a complex mix- 

ture, chiefly proteins, many of which have enzy- 
matic activity. Some of the effects of snake 
venoms are due to the nonenzymatic protein por- 
tions of the venom, while others are due to the 
enzynu^s aiul enzymatic combinations. The symp- 
toms and signs of snake venom poisoning may be 
complicated by the release of several substances 
from the victim's own ti.ssues. These autophar- 
macologic substances sometimes render diagnosis 
and treatment more diflicult. 

The arbitrary division of venoms into such 
groups as neurotoxins, hemotoxins, and cardio- 
foxhiK. while liaving some usefid pui-posc in classi- 
fication, has led to much misundeistanding and 
a nninbcr of errors in treatment. It has l)econie 
inci'easingly apparent that these divisions are 
over-simplilied and misleading. Neurotoxins can, 
and often do. lia\e cardiofoxic or hemotoxic ac- 
tivity, or both: cardiotoxins may have neurotoxic 
or hemotoxic activit}', or both; and hemotoxins 
may have the other activities. It is best to con- 
sider (/// snake venoms capal)le of pi-oducing sev- 
eral changes, sometimes concomitantly, in one 

Figure 1. — Figures "f fangs, venom ducts, aud venom glands of: A. Cobra lElapidaei, and B. Viper (Viperidae). 
The fangs of elapid snakes are much shorter than those of vipers and do not rotate. In each case the venom 
glands lie outside the main jaw muscles toward the back of the head. The venom ducts lead from the glands to 
the bases of the hollow fangs. 

Poiionous Snokos of ihv World 


Nmlli Ainciiia 

A. Uatlli'simki'S itn)lulii.i) 

Kast»Tii tliauiDmlhnck (C. <til(imanl<ii.i) 
WestiTii lUauiomUiafk (C. atrux) 
Timlier {,C. horriilii.i hoiTidtis) 
I'rairie (C. viriilin viriilis) 
(.Jri'at Raslii [C. v. Iiitosim) 
Soiithcni racitU- (C. r. Iicllcri) 
lU'd (lianiond (('. ruber ruber) 
Mdjave (C seutiilatus) 
Siik'wiiuler {('. cerastes) 
Moccasins {Aijkisirodon) 
Cottoiuuouth (.1. piscivorus) 
Copperhead (.4. contortrix) 
Cantil (.-I. biliiieatus) 
L'dral snakes {Mierurus) 
Eastern coral snake (M. fulvius) 




Central and South America 
A. Rattlesnakes (Cnitalus) 

Cascabel (C. duri.ssus terriflcus) 
I?. American lance-headed vipers (Bothrops) 

Barlia aniarilla (B. utrox) 
C. Bushmaster {Lachcsis mutus) 


A. Cobras (Naja) 
Asian cobra (jV. naja) 

B. Kraits (liungariis) 
Indian kralt (/J. eaeniJeus) 

C. Vipers {Vipcra) 
Russell's viper {V. russeUi) 

D. I'it vipers ( Af/kixtrfKloH) 
Malayan iiit viper {A. rhodostoma) 


A. Vipers 

Puff adder (Bitis arirtans) 
Saw-scaled viper {Echis carinatus) 

B. Mambas (Deiidroaspis) 

Eastern green mamba (D. angusticeps) 


A. Tiger snake {Notccliis scutatiif:) 

A. Vipers 

European viper (Vipera berus) 

A. Sea snakes 

Beaked sea snake (Enliydrina schistosa) 

l>l .uliill 
















yield, ilry 
veliDiii ( niK. ) 



















(mi;.,'k((. ) 













( iilK./ kK. ) 













How to Recognize Snake Venom Poisoning 

or more of the. organ systems of the body. 

It is also apparent tliat quantitative and, per- 
haps, qualitative differences in the chemistry of 
venoms may occur at the species level and may, in 
fact, be evident in snakes of the same species 
taken from different geographic areas. Thus, 
dillVi-ences in the symptoms and signs of poison- 
ing may occur even when similar snakes are in- 
volved in a series of accidents. 

In Table 1 are given the names of some of the 
more important venomous snakes of the world, 
their aclult average lengths, llic approxiiiiafe 
amount of dried venom contained within their 
venom glands (adult specimens), and the intra- 
peritoneal and intravenous LD50 in mice, as ex- 
pressed in milligrams of venom (on a diy weight 
basis) per kilogram of test animal body weight. 
The purpose of this table is to demonstrate the 
consideraljle differences that exist in the lethality 
of various snake venoms. 

In general, the venoms of the vipers cause 
deleterious changes in the tissues both at the site 
of the bite and in its proximily, changes in (lu- 
red blood cells, defects in coagulation, injury to 
the blood vessels; and, to a lesser extent, damage 
to the heart muscle, kidneys, and lungs. The 
venom of the tropical rattlesnake, Crotahis dvris- 
siis. causes more severe changes in nerve conduc- 
tion and neuromuscular transmission than do 
other crotalid venoms. The venoms of the ela))id 
snakes cause lessei- local tiss\u> changes, but often 
cause serious alterations in sensory and motoi- 
function as well as cardiac and resi)iratory dilli- 


The symptoms, signs, and the gravity of snake 
\enom poisoning are dependent upon a number of 
factors: the age and size of the victim, the na- 
ture, location, depth, and numbei- of bites, the 
h'ligtli of time the snake holds on, the extent of 
anger or fear that motivates the snake to sti'ike, 
the amount of venom injected, the s])ecies and 
size of the snake involved, the condition of its 
fangs and venom glands, the victim's sensitivity 
to the venom, the pathogens present in the snake's 
mouth, and the degree and l<ind of tii'st aid 
and subse(iuent medical care. It can lie seen that 

snakebites may vary in severity fioni trivial to 
extremely grave. 

The findings given in tables 2, ?>, and 4 are 
those observed in what may l>e termed typical, 
moderately severe cases of snake venom poison- 
ing. AVliile they are not complete, tliev do pro- 
\ide a ready inference of the more commonly 
oliserved se(|uelae of liifes by venomous snakes. 

Diagnosis of crotalid envenomation is depen- 
dent upon the jiresence of one or more fang 
marks, and immediate and usually progressive 
swelling, edema, and pain. In most cases swell- 
ing and edema are constant findings and are 
usually seen about the injured area within 10 
minutes of the bite. In the absence of treat- 
ment, the swelling progresses rapidly and may in- 
volve the entii-e injured extremity within one 
hour. Generally, however, swelling and edema 
spread more slowly, and usually over a jieriod of 
8 to no hours. Swelling and edema are most 
marked following bites by the Xorth American 
rattlesnakes (excluding the ^fojave. massasaugas, 
and pigmy rattlesnakes) and the .Vmerican lance- 
lieaded vipers {Bothropn). Swelling is slightly 
less marked following i)i(es by the Malayan pit 
viper {Agkl^f radon rhndofifoinn) and related 
species, the Asian lance-headed vipers (Trhnrres- 
unis), and the .Vmerican moccasins (Af/kisfro- 
(Jon). It is least acute following bites by the 
cascabel {Crotahin diirJs-'oi.i ferrifcux). 

In many cases, discolnrat ion of the skin and 
eccliymosis a])pear in the area of the bite within 
several hours. The skin apjiears tense and shiny. 
Vesicles may form within " hours, and are gen- 
erally present by the end of '24 hours. Hemor- 
rhagic vesiculations and ])etechiae are connnon. 

Pain inunediately following the bite is a com- 
mon conqilaint in most cases of crotalid poison- 
ing. It is most se\ere following bites by the 
SoiUli .American pit vipers (except for the cas- 
cabel. which is less severe) : the eastern diamond- 
l)ack. western diamondback. and timber rattle- 
snakes of Xorth America, and the .\sian lance- 
])eaded vi])ers. 

Weakne-ss, sweating, faintness, and nausea are 
commonly reported. Regional lymph nodes may 
be enlarged, ])ainful. and tender. A very com- 
mon complaint following bites by some rattle- 
snakes, and one sometimes reported following 
other pit viper bites, is tingling or numbness over 

Poisonous Snakes of iho World 



















i» i« 9 


a *> c 


> ° 


o ^ 
Z ^ 

3 ^ 

= z S '' 

5 «- 




I $ n I 

I + + 1 1 I \ xt 


+ + I 

I I I I I I 

t + 


I + + + + I 

+ n 

I + 


+ + I + + I 

I I 

+ + + 







+ + 

+ + 

+ + + + + 

+ I + + + I + + 

+ I I + + + I I I 

+ + I I 


+ + + 



+ + I I I I + + + 4- + 

+ + + + 
^ t + + + 

- + + + 
+ + + + + 

+ + 

+ + 4- 

+ + + 



+ + 

t + + 



QJ '^ ^ 

m ^ C\ 

O 'T- 

? bJ5 



H M ^ M ? H J? O? 

0; O .0; 2 

« =. S ■■■'-■ 



!> "= .2 5 

M £ M 2 

a s 3 a 

m 55 



;5 « ffi 

;::3 t- 

3 o s « g a a 

-U pq O Ch H fag^MMto^tj 

^ 3 — --? 


^ ^ 

•" a 

*" a 

• •« u 

■ o ~ 



t- a c -c 

a ^ 












































































































How to Recognize Snake Venom Poisoning 












Lm S 




:; t t t t 


+ + + 
+ + 1 1 + + + 

. + + t . . 




+ + + 

1 + + + + + 





t 1: t + + 


1 t + 

+ + 1 1 + + + 

1 + + 1 1 1 






« q n 



t f t t 
-- + + + + 


+ + + 

+ + + 

+ + + + + + 

+ + + + + + 4- 

+ + + + + + 

^^ rt 





1: t + + + 


1: i + 1 

+ + + -- 
+ + + + + + + 

i t t + + I 



(fl w 




:: t t t t 

t + + 


5! -ci. 























tu 1 

















i a 

: 1 1 

<!' a T 

£ 1 5 

E a 

a 3 ^ 

o s = 

s r 1 






- c 









■» c 



J2 -i-J 

^ o 

£ 1 

V a 



■i h^ C3 J2 .- 

ffl !S c" 

a a> u ai dj tH 1 


! H 

3 ?: ^ < C 


O 02 fr 

Q !S O Cm K M S 

< > ^ ^ a Q. \ 

C3 S 

Poi'jonouj Snakei of ihe World 

t + + tttt1^1^ + t + + + +l l+ + t + 


+ I 

J iiiH 

+ + + 


I I I 

I .,- . . 

















•o 2 


+ I 

+ + + + t t 

t + + + + + + + + + + + 

4- + + + + + + + -I- + + + 

I I 1 + + + + I 

+ I 

i Hi 1 1 1 ti ti t 

I I I 






H * t * 1 1 1 

+ + + 




+ + 

1 1 


O fQ 

I g^ 





























I I ;: 

-ii i: 2i -— 

a 5 ^ 

Jj to 









N N N Qj Qj 




O C ^ ^ 

1-1 J J 

'><, m U 


How fo Recognize Snake Venom Poisoning 

the tongue and moutli or scalp. Paresthesia 
about the wound is sometimes reported. 

Viperid venom poisoning is cliaracterized by 
burning pain of rapid onset, swelling and edema, 
and patchy skin discoloration and ecchymosis in 
the area of the bite. Extravasation of blood 
from the wound site is common in Russell's and 
saw-scaled viper envenomations. The failure of 
the blood to clot is a valual)le diagnostic finding. 
Bleeding from the gums, and the intestinal and 
urinary ti-acts is conmion in severe Russell's and 
saw-scaled viper bites. 

Cobra envenomation is characterized by ])ain 
usually within 10 minutes of the bite, and this is 
followed by localized swelling of slow onset, 
drowsiness, weakness, excessive salivation, and 
paresis of the facial muscles, lips, tongue, and 
larynx. The pulse is often weak, blood pressure 
is reduced, respirations are labored, and there 
may be generalized muscidar weakness or paraly- 
sis. Ptosis, blurring of vision, and headache may 
be present. Contrary to popular opinion, ne- 
crosis is not an uncommon consecpience of cobra 
venom poisoning. In bites by the kraits a simi- 
lar clinical picture is usually seen, except that 
there is very little or no local swelling or severe 
pain. The systemic manifestations may often be 
more severe, and shock, marked respiratory de- 
pression and coma, may rapidly develop. Ab- 
dominal pain is often intense following jioison- 
ing by the kraits, mambas, and faipans. Enven- 
omation by coral snakes may resemble krait 
venom ]ioisoning. The bite is usually less ])ain- 
ful, and there is occasionally a sensation of 
numbness about the w()un<l. Clicsl pain. ]iarli- 
cularly on inspii-alion, is sometiiucs rcjjorted. 
Localized edema is minimal and necrosis is I'are. 

Mamba venom poisoning is characterized by 
weakness, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, 
slurred speech, excessive salivation, headache, and 
abdominal jiain. These findings are often fol- 
lowed by hy|)otension, respiratory distress, and 

Envenomation by most of the Australian- 
Papuan elapids produces drowsiness, visual dis- 
turbances, ptosis, nausea and vomiting, headache, 
abdominal pain, slurring of speech, respiratory 
distress, and genei'alized muscular weakness or 
paralysis. Hemoglobinuria may be found early in 
the course of the poisoning. 

Sea snake venom poisoning is iisually charac- 
terized by multiple pinhead-sized puncture 
wounds, little or no localized pain, oftentimes 
tenderness and some jiain in the skeletal muscles 
and, in particular, the larger muscle masses and 
the neck. This pain is increased xyith motion. 
The tongue feels thick and its motion may be re- 
stricted. There may be jiaresthesia about the 
mouth. Sweating and thirst are conunon com- 
plaints, and the ])atient may complain of pain 
on swallowing. Trismus, extraocular weakness 
or i^aralysis, dilatation of the jnipils, ptosis and 
generalized weakness may be present. Respiratory 
distress is common in severe cases. Myoglobi- 
nuria is diagnostic. 

r^ittlc is known about the problem of enveno- 
mation by rear-fanged colubrid snakes. The 
.\frican l>oomslang and bird snake are known 
to produce se^"ere jioisoning, which on rare oc- 
casions may be fatal. (These snakes are desciibed 
on ])p. 00-01.) Other species of colubrids, some 
with enlarged grooved fangs and some with solid 
teeth, are known to bite and may be venomous. 
The manifestations of jwisoning by known ven- 
omous colubrids, such as the mangrove snake 
(lioif/fi (lentlrophihi) of southeast Asia, (he AVest 
Indian racers (AJso/>h!x), the "culebra de cola 
coi'ta" ( Ti/rht/mrnx/'x pcnirunui) nl' western 
Souili .Vnicrica, the ])arrot snakes (Leptophist) of 
tropical America and several other sjiecies are 
local pain and swelling, sometimes accompanied 
liy localized skin discoloration and ecchymosis; 
and in the more severe en\enoiHal ions, increased 
swelling and edema \\hi<-h may involve the entire 
injured extremity, general malaise and f<>\er. 
Tlie acute ])eriod of the poisoning may persist 
for 4 to 7 days. It is im])ortant to d i tie rent iate 
envenomation by colubrids from that by the more 
dangerous ela])ids and vipers. 

In smnmary, any snakebite associated with im- 
mediate (and sometimes intense) pain, and fol- 
lowed within several mimites by the appearance 
of swelling and subsequently edema is usuallj' 
diagnostic of snake venom poisoning by a viper. 
Elapid envenomation, on the other hand, is not so 
easily diagnosed during the first 10 minutes fol- 
lowing the bite. Pain, usually of minor intensity, 
maj' appear within the first 10 minutes, although 
in .some cases it is not reported for .')0 minutes or 
even longer. Swelling usually appears 2 or 3 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 

liour^ fi>ll<i\viii<; tlic l>ili- aiitl tftids to In- limiti'il 
ti) till' aii'ti of lilt" woniid. Till' lirst systi'inic si;;ii 
of ohipiil \fiii>in i>i)isoiiin;r is usunlly ilinws'mcss. 
Tllis is ot'tfii :i|>|i:ii'i'iil within L' Ikiiii'soI llir Kile. 
Ptosis, liliiiTini^ of vision, and dillii'ull ics in 
spi'fi'li and swallowinijf may also a|)|i('ar within 
sevtM'iil lioui-s of I 111' liilf. It can Ih> sf<'n hnw 

iMi|iortanl it is in i-oljia. ni:inilj:i. krail, l;ii|<:iii, 
I i^'cr, ami coral snake liilcs to (iclciinini' I he 
identity of I he oll'endi nir re|iliK> a^ (|niikl\ as 
|iossil)le. A dillerenee of '■',<> niiniile-. lo I hour in 
Miiliatini^' liralnienl in ehipid \rniini |i(ii^onin^ 
niav ni:d<e the dili'erenci' helucen life and death. 


CAMIMIKI-L, C. H. \W\. Venomous Sn:d<e I'.ite 
in Papna and lis 'rreatmeni with 'I'rarlie- 
otomy, Artilicial Kes|iiralion and Anti\(>nent>. 
Trans. K. Soe. Trop. Med. I[v<r. r.8 : 2r.;',-27rS. 

(-IIRISTEXSEX, P. A. 11».^)5. South African 
."~<nai\e Venoms and Anfivenoms. Sontli 
African Institute Medical Researcli, Joiian- 
nesbniir, 142 p. 

EFK.VTT, P. and KEIF, L. 19.5^. Clinical and 
Patlioioii-ical Observation on Sixty-five Cases 
of \'iper liite in Israel. Amer. J. Trop. 
Med. ny«r. 2: 1085-1108. 

CiEXXAKO, J. P., Jr. 196.3. Observations on 
the Treatment of Snakebite in X^orth Amer- 
ica, p. 427-446. In, II. L. Keejran and W. V. 
Macfai-lane, A'enomous and Poisonous Ani- 
mals and Xoxious Plants of the Pacific 
Keirion. Pero^anion, Oxford. 

IIEATWOLE, II. and BAX^TCHI, I. B. 1966. 
Envenomation by the Colubrid Snake, AIso- 
phh i>orf(/ricehJ<h. Herpetologica 22:1.32- 

KAISEPv, E. and MICHI., M. 19.58. Die Bio- 
chemie der Tierischen Gifte. F. Denticke, 
Wien, 2.58 p. 

KLAUBER, L. M. 1956. Rattlesnakes, Their 
Habits, Life Histories, and Influence on Man- 
kind. University California Press, Berkeley. 
2 vol. 

MOLE, R. ir. and EVERARD. A, lutT. Snake- 
i)ite by KcJi'ix ciir'iudhi. (Jnarl. J. Med. 16: 

REIT), II. A. 1961. .Myoo-hibininia and Sea- 
snake iiile I'oisoiiinu-. I'lril. M(m|. .[. 1:1284- 

REH), If. A., rilEAN, P. C., CIIAX, K. E. 
an, I r.AIIARAM, A. R. 1963. Clinical Ef- 
fects of Bites by Malayan Vipei- (Aiiclxt ra- 
don rh(Hh)sf<jiiiii) . Lancet 1:617-621. 

RT\SSELL, F. E. 1962. Snake Venom Poison- 
injr, vol II, p. 197-210. In, (i. M. Pieisol, 
Cyclopedia of Medicine, Sui<i:ery and the 
Specialties. F. A. Davis, Philadelphia. 

XOCiI, T. and MITSniASIII, S. 1962. 
Studies on the Improvement of Treatment of 
Ilabu Snake {Trbneresuru..'i fnvoviridis) 
Bite. 3. Clinical Analysis and Medical Treat- 
ment of Ilabu Snake Bite on the Amami 
Islands. Jap. J. Exp. Med. 32: 17-138. 

SCIIEXOXE, II. and REYES, EL 1965. Ani- 
males ]ionzonosos de Chile. Bol. Chileno de 
Parasitol. 20:104-108. 

WALKER, C. W. 1945. X^'otes on Adder-bite 
(Eiifiland and Wales). Brit. Med. J. 2:13- 


Chapter IV 



Poisoniiio; from snake venom is a merlical 
emergency wliirli requires immecliate attention 
ami till' exercise of considerable jiidirment. De- 
layed or inadequate treatment for venomous 
snakel)ite may liave lia<ric conse(iuences. On tlie 
other hand, failui'c to dilVei'enl iati> lielween Iiites 
of venomous and non\enomous snai<es may lead 
to use of measures which l)rin<r not only discom- 
fort to the indi\idiial liul may |irodu<-e deleteri- 
ous results. It is essential (hat the one res]ionsil)lc 
for tivatment establish wliether oi- not envenoma- 
iton has oi'curred hefore treatment is started. As 
was pointed out in Chapter III, a venomous 
snake may bite and not inject \enom. Also, some 
persons bitten by non\eu(imous snakes become 
excited and even hysterical. These emotions may 
2:ive rise to disorientation, faintness, dizziness, 
rapid respiration oi- hy perxciit ilal ion. rapid 
]iulse. and even primary shock — ;dl sym])toms 
and sisi'ns which may occur follo\vin<>: envenonia- 
tion. The hospital corpsuiaii should keep this syn- 
drome in mind when called upon to ti'eat a ])(>rson 
bitten by an iniideni ilied snake. 

Most cases of snake venom poisoninii' in \avy 
and Marine Corjis i)ersonne1 have occurred in tlie 
presence of other service personnel. In most in- 
stances hospital corpsmen have been able to 
render the necessary initial first aid measures. 
However, in an occasional case no medically 
trained person may be available or the victim 
may be alone. As the success or failure of treat- 
ment may depend on irhen first aid is started, 
this chajiter has been i)i'epared to acquaint all 
Navy and IMarine Corjis personnel with the ))rob- 
lem of snake venom jioisoninc: i^nd the first aid 
measures that need to be carried out in the event 



that poisoninfj occurs distant from a hos]iital, 
<loctoi'. OI' medical coi-psman. 


Treatment, to be elleciive, nuist be instituted 
iunnediately followinji the l)ite and must in- 
cbule measures: 

1. To retard absorption of the venom: 

2. To remo\e as nnich venom as possible from 
the wound : 

To neutralize the venom: 
To jirevent or reduce the etl'ects of the 
venom: and 

To prevent complications. includin<r second- 
ary infection, 
a victim of snakebite finds himself alone, a 

numbei- of factors nnist be considered. He will 
need to determine whethei- or not the snake is 
venomous and. if venomous, the severity of the 
poisoninjj:. He will need to consider how lontr 
it may be before help will i-each him. Or, per- 
haps, he will need to weiph the advantages of 
walkinjr to (he nearest friendly troop facility, 
hospital, or town. If he decides to move he will 
need to determine how fast and for how lonjf a 
period he may walk. These and other variables 
make it diflic\dt to pive consistent advice on what 
to do under such circumstances. Each case must 
be considered sejiarately. The victim should srive 
careful thought to all of these matters before 
makinjr a decision as to the wisest procedure to 
follow. He should remember not to panic and 
not to overly exei't himself. He should make 
every effort possible to obtain assistance, without 
jeopardizinir his mission. 

With these things in mind the following con- 
siderations .should be followed, in so far as pos- 


Poijonouj Snaltes of (ho World 

sihli'. I'liK i>iiti'i>iiu< of fiii'li ciisc is (li'|)i'iiilciil , 
iinioi);; i)lln>r tliin<;s, ii|i<iii (lu' Uiiid i>( Irciilnifni 
iisihI mill llin spi'i'd witli wliidi il is inilialcil. 
AIm)vo all, llio \iclim slioiild ii'iiu'iiilicr (o /i-icp 
roil/. ;niil luiisidt'r t'licli move I lioioujjjhly. 


Apply a Constriction-band or a Tourniquet.— In ciiscs 
of t'liviMioiiiutioii by most crotiilids, a const rid ioii- 
l)and slioidd bo [)hiced above the first joint proxi- 
mal, or 2 to 4 inches proximal to tiie bite, 
whiclu'ver is a[)propi'iate (see tifj. -2). It siiould 
be applied tiijht enou<;h to occlude the superficial 
\enous and lymphatic return but not arterial 
lldw. It siiould be I'eleased for 90 seconds every 
10 minutes. The constriction-band can be moved 
in advance of the progressive swelling. It should 
be removed as soon as antivenin has been started. 
In no case of viper venom poisoning should a 
lonstriction-band be used for more than 4 hours. 
It is probably of little value if applied later 
than -V) minutes following the bite. 

FiGiKE 2. — Correct placement of a tourniquet. It 
siiould be tight enough to impede the fiow of lymph 
and blood in the superficial vessels, but not that of 
blood in the deeper ve.ssels. 

Following envenomation by elapids, constric- 
tion-bands or tourniquets are of questionable 
vahie. However, in cases of severe envenomation 
by cobras, kraits, mambas, tiger snakes, death 
adders or taipans, a tight tourniquet should be 
applied innnediately proximal to the bite and left 
in place until antivenin is given. It should be 

|■l•ll•a-^l■d Idr '.10 seconds evci-y JO nilnnlcs, and 
-liiinlcj mdI be'd for more liian S iioius. 


Capture the Snake and Kill It.— Most snakes will 
I'cniain in llic iinincdialf^ area f)f lh(^ accident 
an<l can lie funiMl without l<io iiin<-li dillicidty. 
If several jjersons are pirsent, send one or two in 
search of the snake while the others are admin- 
istering lii'st aid to I lie \iciini. lOxercise e.xtreme 
caution in hunting for the od'ending snake. A 
reptile thtit has hitfen once ii jtixf as likely to hite 
(igain as not. The snake can be killed by a sharp 
lilow on the neck. (An undamaged head is a 
great aid to identification). Do lyot handle the 
snake. If it cannot be positively identified at the 
scene of the accident, carry it on a stick or in a 
cloth bag to the command post or hospital. 


Lie Down.— Remain at rest until the offending 
snake has been identified (see Chapters VI, VII, 
and VIII). If the snake is nonvenomous, clean 
and dress the wound and proceed with your mis- 
sion. Report to a medical officer as soon as 

If the snake is identified as venomous, or if its 
identity cannot be determined, begin treatment as 
outlined below: 


Unidentified Snake.— Innnobilize the injured part 
(see below) then turn to page 16 for instructions. 

Identified Venomous Snake.— Immobilize the in- 
jured part. This can be done by splinting as for a 
l)roken arm oi' leg. The immobilized part should 
then be kept below the level of the heart, but not 
in a completely dependent position. If the wound 
is on the body, keep the victim in a sitting or 
lying position, depending on the location of the 
bite. The patient should always be kept warm. 
He should not be allowed to walk. He should 
not be given alcohol. He may, however, be given 
water, coffee, or tea. Any manifestations of fear 
or excitement should be alleviated by reassurance. 


Make Incision and Apply Suction.— Incision and suc- 
tion are of definite value when applied immedi- 


Firsf Aid 

ately following bites by vipers, particularly pit 
vipers of North Americii. Tiiey are of lesser 
value following bites by the South American 
vipers and Asiatic vipers, and probably of little 
value following envenomation by elapids and sea 
snakes (see discussion of first aid measures, p. 


In viper bites, excluding those by small Euro- 
pean vipers and small Xorth American cojiper- 
heads, make cross-shaped or longitudinal incisions 
Vs to y4 inches long through the fang marks 
(fig. 3), except in those cases where there is an 
abnormal amount of bleeding. The incisions 
should be made as deep as the fang jienetration. 
The direction of the animal's strike and the 
curvature of the fang should be borne in mind 
when determining the plane of incision. Suction 
should then be applied and contiiuied for the 
first hour following the bite. To be effective, 
suction nuist be apjdied within flie few 
minutes following the biting. It is of little value 
if delayed for 30 minutes or more. Oral suction 
should not be used if other means of suction are 
available. Multiple incisions over the involved 
extremity or in advance of progressive edema are 
pot advised. 

Figure ."5. — Iiici.sed fans marks of a viper. Note how 
.small the incisions throvigh the wounds need to be. 
Photo by Findlay E. Russell. 


Administer Antivenin.— It is reconunended that 
medical corpsmen, in the absence of a physician 

and after suitable training, be given permission 
to conduct sensitivity tests and to administer ap- 
propriate antivenin to victims of snake venom 
poisoning. This might be done in those cases 
where severe signs and symptoms develop early 
in the course of the illness, or where 4 hours or 
more following viper venom poisoning or 2 hours 
or more following elapid venom poisoning can be 
expected to elapse before professional care will 
be available. 

In such cases, following ajipropriate skin or 
eye tests (.see Sensitivity Tests, page 16), the 
antivenin should be given iiuiamuscularly at a 
site distant from the wound. Ajiflveiu'n fshoiiJd 
never he injected into ii fnger or toe. and it should 
be administered inl ia\enously only by qualified 
])ersonnel. As tiie amount of antivenin available 
in I lie field is limited, one unit (vial or ])ackage) 
will probably i)e all that is available for a corps- 
man to give. The earlier this is injected, the better 
liie res>dts. However, several units may be needed 
for full neutralization of the venom. 

XOTE : If the victim is in shock the antivenin 
will be absorbed slowly from an intranniscular 

No Antivenin Available.— If autixenin is not avail- 
able or if no qualilied person is present to ad- 
minister it, tiien proceed with STEP SEVEN. 


Transport Victim to Doctor, Aid Station or Hospital.— 
Tins should be done by litter, if at all possible; 
if not, try to provide some other means of trans- 
portation. Do not let the victim walk if this can 
be avoided. Keep the victim warm, and the bit- 
ten \n\Y\. ill a (lejifiidciit jiosition. 


Institute Supportive Measures.— Should any of the 
following sequelae to the bite develop during 
evacuation of the victim, consider these measures: 


1. Place victim in recumbent or shock position 
(lying down on his back, head slightly lower 
thai! his feet). 

2. Maintaiit an adequate airway. 

3. Keep victim comfortably warm. 

4. Control any severe pain. This can usually 
be done with salicvlates or codeine. Do not give 


Poiionoui Snakei of fho World 

iii<>r|iluiu< to ati iiiiftniM'ioiis viriim or oiic iii 
ii'spiiiitoi V (list ii'>s. 

.">. Allay aiipiflicnsion \>y it'assniiiit; wduls ami 

(■>. Kt"|i!ato ami niaiiitaiii atlt'nuatu hlood \ol- 
iiiiio willi saliiu', phiMiia, plasma oxpaiulors, or 
whole lilootl. ( IliMUS 0, 7, and S i\i(" rt'cominoml(Hl 
lor use hy meilii-il otlicers or paramedical per- 
-nmiel with appropriate (iiialilicjitions). 

7. (Jive vasojjressor drugs if condition war- 

S. (live) o.\ygen. 

Rexpirnfonj Dixtresn : 

1. Clear airway. 

•1. .Vpply artificial respiration. .\- lonj:' a> the 
patient's heart contiiuies to lieal, hi' lias a chance 
to i-ecover, and thi< may occur c\cii al'ici- many 
hours of artihcial revpii-ation. .Mouth lo-nmulh 
iireatliiuir in riiyihm is the method of choice in 
all cases of respiratory faihne. Ilowexer, wlicn 
it cannot he applied, the rhytlnuic pusji-pidl 
methods are fivnerally ellVciive. If a niechani<-al 
resu>cilator is a\ailaiile, il also may he used hy 
anyone (inaliiied in its operation. 

■''). Ivespirafory stiunilants are limited to use 
hy a medical officer. 

Vomiting : 

Vomit in<r frequently oc-curs following; certain 
types of snake venom i)oisonin<!:. Precautions 
should he taken to see that the patient does not 
aspirate vomitus. Place him in a prone position, 
head slightly lowered and turned to one side. 

Excessive SaUvafion : 

Place head in a position to permit adequate 
drainage of saliva as described under Vomiting, 
above. Keep airway clear. Atropine or para- 
sympatholytic drugs may be administered only by 
a medical officer. 

Convulsions : 

No treatment should ho given during the attack 
except that which will ])revent the patient from 
injuring himself. 


Disposition of Patient.— .Vt the aid station or hos- 
]>ital, inform the doctor of the identity of the 
snake involved (if known) ; or, turn the dead, 
unidentified snake over to the doctor. Give ap- 
proximate time between bite and arrival and 
point out any constriction -band or tourniquet left 

in place. (;i\e dclaiU on any anTuenin or drugs 
gixen the palicni. Ihqinrl all umi^nal signs and 


ICvery atlenqd should h(( made to ca])lurc and 
kill, or at leas! ident i fy, I he (jll'ending snake. As 
a lade, snakes remain in I lie \icinity of the ac- 
cident. .\ knowledge of the habits and habitats 
of thr Miakes peculiai- to I he area (see Chaptei's 
\'l. \'ll, and \'II1) will assist in locating and 
identifying the snake. //'//. when the hile occurs 
al night, capture of the smdie may not he pos- 
>ihle. and management and treatment of the vic- 
tim will depend upon the clinical signs ami 

First, have the victim- lie down and remain, at 
eoinplete rest. Immohilize the Intten pnvt and 
Irep it in a dependent position. In this position 
the onset of pain, if it occurs, will be more i'a]iid, 
thus assisting in an I'arly diagnosis, /'o nut 
apjihi II toll fiiiijacf or incise titr imiinil. These 
measures may pi'oduce etTects which could nndce 
diagnosis more dilticult. 

If no pain, swelling, edema, drowsiness, pares- 
thesia, weakness, or paresis of the muscles of 
the face and throat appear within 30 mimites, the 
bite was piohably inflicted bv a nonvenomous 
snake. Ilowexer, if at all ]iossil)le, the victim 
should remain at rest and be oliserved for an ad- 
ditional 2 hours. 

If syni])toms or signs of venom poisoning de- 
velop during the observation period, the measures 
jn-eviously described under General Considera- 
tions, al)ove, must be considered. The success of 
these measures will depend upon the time that 
has transpired between the bite, and their initia- 
tion. In those cases where the first aid measures 
have been deferred, the need for early admin- 
istration of antivenin becomes urgent. In such 
cases, greater consideration should be given to 
the intravenous use of antivenin, obviously fol- 
lowing the necessary sensitivity tests. 


A sensitivity test for serum must be car- 
i-ied out on all victims of snake venom poisoning 


First Aid 

before horse senun antiveiiin is administered. 
Directions for tliese tests will usually be found in 
tlie package containing the antivenin. In the 
absence of specific instructions follow tliese steps: 

1. Inject 0.10 ml. of a 1 : 10 dilution of the horse 
serum or antivenin intracutaneously on the inner 
surface of the forearm. T'se the specific hypo- 
dermic needle provided for the test. If one is 
not i)rovided, use a short '27-gauge needle. If the 
test is done correctly, a wheal will be raised at 
the site of the injection. The wheal is white at 
first but if the test is positive the area about the 
i:)oint of injection will become red within 10 to lo 
minutes. If any local or systemic allergic mani- 
festations develo|) within 20 minutes of the test, 
do not give anti\eiiin. Leave this decision to the 
medical officer. 

If the victim develojjs a severe reaction to the 
test (restlessness, flushing, sneezing, urticaria, 
swelling of the eyelids and lips, respiratory dis- 
tress or cyanosis), inject 0.;5 to 0.5 nd. of 1 : 1.000 
adrenalin subcutaneously, and observe the victim 
closely. Be piepared to ailministei- artificial 
respiration. A cardiac stimulant may be 
needed if shock develops. 

2. An alternative to the skin test is the eye 
test. One or two di-ops of a 1 : 10 solution of the 
horse serum or antivenin aiv placed on the con- 
junctiva of one eye. If the test is positive, red- 
ness of the conjunctiva will develop within a few 
minutes. If the reaction is \ery se\ere. it should 
be controlled by depositing a drop or two of 
1 : 1,000 adrenalin directly on the conjunctiva. 

.'5. If a serum sensitivity test is i)ositive. de- 
sensitization should be carried out before admin- 
istering antivenin. This should be done oi\ly by 
a doctor. Do not attempt to desensitize a victim 
unless the aiiiin)]>riate facilities and drugs are 


It is not a puri)ose of this manual to discuss 
or evaluate all of the first aid treatments that 
have been suggested or advised for snake venom 
poisoning. This has been done in the medical 
literature. The reader is referred to the refer- 
ences at the end of this chapter for a more thor- 
ough consideration of this subject. It should be 
noted here, however, that there is no single thera- 

peutic standard of procedure for all cases of 
snake venom jwisoning. Rest, immolnlization of 
the injured part, and reassurance are indicated in 
every case, and in themselves are valuable thera- 
peutic measures. l)ut beyond these, few measures 
can be reconnnended for all cases of snakebite. 
In the following sections some consideration will 
be given to several of the more connnonly em- 
ployed fii'st aid measures. 


Constriction-bands and tourniriuets have long 
been used in the tieatment of snakebite. The ra- 
tionale foi- their use is quite simple, that is. to re- 
tard the al)sori)tion and spread of the venom. 
."studies with North Ameiican rattlesnake venom 
labeled with radioactive iodine (I"') show that 
the spread of certain fractions of the venom can 
be letarded by pressure on the superficial lym- 
plinlic channels proximal to the deposition of 
the toxin. It ap|iears that the greater portion of 
rattlesnake venom is absorbed directly into lym- 
l)hatic structures. These studies support the 
clinical findings that in cases of Xorth American 
rattlesmxke bites, a constriction-band, apjilied 
eaily and efTectively. can retard the spread of the 
toxin and thus decrease the area of localized 
necrosis. There is also some evidence to indicate 
that the constriction-band retards the develop- 
uient of systemic signs and symptoms. 

The use of a constriction-band or a tourni(iuet 
in cases where deep envenomation has occurred 
would apjiear to be of limited or no value, and 
indeed some clinical reports support this conten- 
tion. On the other hand, the incorrect applica- 
tion of constriction-bands and tourniquets, par- 
ticularly in Southeast Asia, makes it difficult to 
evaluate these measures solely from clinical ex- 
])eriences. It might be concluded that a pi-operly 
;ipplied constriction-band is of definite value in 
poisoning by all Xorth American crotalids and 
many of the small \ipers from throughout the 
\v()rld. It is probably of lesser or no value follow- 
ing bites by the large vipers outside Xorth Amer- 
ica. In spite of these findings and opinions, it 
seems advisable, in view of no substantial contra- 
indication, to recommend the use of a constric- 
tion-band in all cases of vi])er venom poisoning 
(luring the period when suction is being carried 


Poijonouj Snakes of tho World 

riio viMioins of tlio oliipiWs uiv ((iiisiiUMahly <iif 
iViviit ill llifir ilu'inifiil sinictinv from tli<)s<> of 
llio viiuTS, mill llio si riirt Ill-ill vnriiitioiis williiii 
llu^ vOMonis of llio family Klapitlsio aro (h'linilply 
moro cnmplfx tliaii lliosi- williiii the families ("ro 
taliilai> ami VipiTidat". PivsiMit know IimIjji' indi- 
latps tiiat, in fiononil, olapid vt'iioms are absorhiMl 
in i^ivaliT (|iiantiti(>s throiiixli llu- l>loo(l vessels 
llian tliroufiii lymi)liati(: vessels. 

Both experimental and cliniral studies indicaie 
tliat a constriction l)aiid is of (|uest ioi\al)lc vahie 
following envenomat ion l>y an clapid. 'I'lie xaliic 
of a lijrlil toiinii(iiiet is not so easily decided. 
The rationale for using a tight tourniquet to oc- 
iludo l)oth .suijcrfk-ial and deep blood vessels is 
easily understood. However, it must be admitted 
that adequate supimrtive evidence is still lacking. 
N'evertheless, it seems best to advise placing a 
tight tourni(iuet proximal to wounds inflicted by 
large cobras, kraits, mambas, tiger snakes, death 
adders, and taipans. Tourniquets should be left in 
place only until antivenin is injected. Under no 
circumstances should they bo used for more than 
8 hours, and never without the usual i)recautions 
associated with the use of a tourniquet. 


Few problems in the first aid treatment of snake 
venom poisoning liave elicited as much contro- 
versy as incision and suction. Kecent experi- 
mental studies have shown that in the case of 
Ci'otahis envenomation, incision and suction at 
the fang puncture woiuuls instituted within sev- 
eral minutes of the bite, and suction continued 
for no less than ."0 minutes, can remove a meas- 
urable portion of the venom. The exudate ob- 
tained from such incised wounds has been found 
to produce the typical fall in systemic arterial 
blood pressure, the increase in systemic venous 
and cisternal pressures, the changes in cardiac 
and respiratory rates, and the alterations in the 
electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram ob- 
served following injection of crude venom. The 
exudate has also been found to be lethal to mice 
in doses appi-oaching that of the crude venom. 
Studies with I'-'^-labeled Crofahis venom indicate 
that the toxin can be removed from properly in- 
cised wounds by suction. These various experi- 
mental studies strongly support the clinical im- 

piessioiis of thos*', physicians wiio have treated a 
sullicient number of rattlesnake bites to \m in a 
position to evaluaie I his first aid measure crit- 

Contrary to some opinion, few if any blood 
vessels, leiulons, or other vital structures have 
been iiijui'e<l by propei'ly executed cuts Ihrough 
fang marks of Noith American i-attlesnakes. 
There is no foundation foi- the, cDndemnat ion of 
Ihis pi-oceduiHi on the basis thai vital siruclurcs 
have been damaged dui-ing the execution of cuts. 
There is also no support for the contention that 
such lri\ial incisions will piuduce neural and 
glandular activities which, in turn, increase the 
lethal ell'ect of tho venom. 

According to some clinicians, incision and suc- 
tion ihiough the fang wounds have not been 
found tr) be effective following the bites of vipers 
in Asia, Africa and parts of the Middle East. 
While they are advised and nsed by some physi- 
cians in these areas, others do not recommend 
iheir use. Adequately controlled studies on the 
depth (if fang penetration by the Old World 
\ipers have not been done, but clinical evidence 
would seem to indicate that these snakes bite 
deeper than their North American cousins. If this 
is ti'ue then incision and suction wo\ild be less 
etl'ective than in North American crotalid bites. 
AVhei'e intramuscular envenomation occurs, inci- 
sion and suction are of no value and are not 

The lime of instigation and the manner in 
which incisions have been made following bites 
by vipers in Asia and Africa have been so in- 
consistent that it is quite impossible to determine, 
solely on the basis of clinical reports, whether or 
not these measures are useful as first-aid measures 
in poisonings by the Old AVorld vipers. It seems 
best at this time to advise incision and suction in 
most cases of viper venom poisoning. In no case, 
however, should incisions be made deeper than 
the subcutaneous tissues, and in those cases where 
it is obvious that the fangs have penetrated 
muscle tissue, no incisions should be made. 

Incision and suction through the fang marks 
produced by the elapid snakes have not been 
found useful. This may be because elapid ven- 
oms are absorbed more directly into the blood 
stieam than into lymphatic channels. It is not 
])ossil)le from the clinical re]>orts on elapid bites 


First Aid 

to determine whctliei' or not the measures are use- 
ful, since the time of making the cuts and the 
duration of the suction are seklom recorded. Al- 
so, observations in Asia and Africa indicate that 
these procedures are seldom carried out in what 
one niiglit assume to be an effective manner. It 
would seem best to avoid using incision and suc- 
tion for elapid venom poisoning until current 
experimental work on this problem has been com- 
pleted, or until a critical evaluation of clinical 
cases has been made. 


Excision of the bite area is a rather heroic 
measure which might be of value in some en- 
venomations if it could be carried out within 2 
or 3 minutes following the bite. It is a procedure 
carrying considerable risk. It might be consid- 
ered in those cases where envenomation by a large 
krait, mamba, taipan, death adder, or tiger snake 
has occurred, and where the victim is alone aiul 
isolated, and likely to remain so for 6 or more 
hours. Under such conditions it might be wise 
to excise the wound or amputate the toe or finger. 
This has been done by some courageous persons. 


According to Russell and ScharfTenburg, some 
217 "cures" for snake venom poisoning have been 
described in the literature. Some of the suggested 
first aid measures are: injecting potassium per- 
manganate, anunonia, vinegai- or oil into the 
wound; wiapping tlie li\er of tiie oti'ending 
snake or of a freslily-killed cliickcn over the 
woinid; setting fire to the wound after applying 
gasoline; eating various plants oi' raw meat; 
applying nuul packs to the wound; soaking the 
injured part in excrement; washing the wound 
with plant juices; drinking whiskey; taking anti- 
histaminics, ef cefcrii. These and the other so- 
called cures are little more tlian historical curi- 
osities. Whatever the source, tliey are hazardous: 
first, because they often inxolve dangeious meth- 
ods; second, because they tlelay the use of effec- 
tive therapeutic ]irocedures. They should not 
be used. 

Snake venom poisoning is an accident highly 
variable in the gravity of its results. It is one in 
which the most fantastic remedy may gain its 
reputation among credulous people by having 

"cured" a bite that required no treatment what- 
ever. Avoid using any first aid measure that has 
not been evaluated; remember, most of the 
"cures"' you will hear about have been evaluated 
and found to be useless. 


BUCKLE^', E. and PORGES, X. 1956. Venoms. 
Amer. Assoc. Advancement Sci., Washington, 
B.C. W7 p. 

GEXNARO, J. F., Jr. 1!)C)3. Observations on 
the Treatment of Snakebite in North Amer- 
ica, p. iiT—i-iCt. In, II. L. Keegan and W. V. 
Macfarlane, Venomous and Poisonous Ani- 
mals and Noxious Plants of the Pacific 
Region. Pergamon, Oxford. 

KAISER, E. and MKTIL, U. 1958. Die Bio- 
chemie der Tierischen Gifte. F. Deuticke, 
Wien, '258 p. 

(editoi-s) lOfi;?). Venomous ami Poisonous 
Animals and Noxious Plants of the Pacific 
Region. Pergamon, Oxford. 45(> p. 

MERRIAM, T. W., Jr. 19G1. Current Concepts 
in the .Management of Snakebite. Mil. Med. 

19():'.. Iiueiini Statement on ."^luikebite 
Therapy. Toxicon 1:81-87. 

PI nS ALIX, ^r. 1922. Animaux Venimeux et 
\'enins. Masson, Paris, 2 vol. 

REID, n. A., THEAN, P. C, CHAN, D. E. and 
BAH ARAM, A. R. 1963. Clinical Effects 
of bites by Malayan viper (Aiwiftrodon rho- 
(loxtomii). Lancet 1:617-621. 

RTSSELL, F. E. 1902. Snake Venom Poisoning, 
vol n, p. 197-210. In, G. M. Picrsol, Cyclo- 
pedia of Medicine, Surgery and the Special- 
ties. F. A. Davis, Philadelpliia. 

S. 1964. Snake Venoms and Venomous 
Snakes. Bil)liographic Associates, West 
Co\ina, California. 220 p. 


Chapter V 



On arrivul al the aid station or iiospital, an 
iinnu'diati' evaluation nnist be made of tiie pa- 
tient's <renerixl condition. Snake venom poisoning 
is always a medical cnier<jency reqnirinjj immedi- 
ate attention. .\, delay in institutinji; medical 
treatment can lead to far more trafjic conse- 
(piences than one following an ordinary ti'anmatic 
injury. Tn most cases, aid measures will 
already have been instituted by the corpsman. 
The physician will need to evaluate these meas- 
ures before determinincr the course of subsequent 
ti'eatment. Xone of the first aid measures should 
be regarded as substitutes for antivenin, anti- 
biotic and antitetanus agents; nor should they he 
instituted at the possible e.xpense of delaying ad- 
ministration of the antivenin. Xeedless to say, 
the physician will have to establish in his own 
mind whether or not the patient has been poisoned 
and, if so, to determine which therapeutic meas- 
ures he can use most effectively. 

If the patient arrives at the medical installation 
one hour or more following the bite and no first 
aid measures have been initiated, the physician 
should put him to bed, inunobilize the affected 
part, clean the wounds thoroughly, and proceed 
with the measures outlined below. Incision and 
suction, excision, et cetera . are of no value after 
svu'h a delay and should not be attempted. 

Admission Procedures 

A routine history and physical examination 
should be done. The identity of the offending 
snake, its size, the time of the bite, and the details 
of all first aid measures employed, including the 
time lapse for each, should be recorded. Inquiry 

should be iiiiiiic i'((nrcni iiig previous biles, aller- 
gies, and \\ hcl hci- (ir iKil llicpalicnl has pri'X'iously 
been exposed to Ikm'sc serum. If a skin test has 
already bi'cii done this should be checked. Blood 
should be drawn for typing, cross-matching, 
blood clotliiig, and clot retraction studies. A com- 
plete blood count, hematocrit, and urine analysis 
are essential. Determinations of the sedimenta- 
tion rate, prothi-ombin time, carbon dioxide com- 
bining ))ower. urea nitrogen, sodium, potassium 
and chloi'ide are ad\ised, if within the limits of 
personnel, time, and ecpiipment. In severe poison- 
ings, an electrocardiogram and a blood platelet 
count should be done. Serum bilirubin, red cell 
fragility tests, and renal function tests should be 
done if the condition warrants. Studies of the 
Iieniatocrit, complete blood covmts, and hemoglo- 
bin concentration should be carried out several 
times a day. Urinalyses should be done with par- 
ticular attention being given to the presence or 
absence of red cells. This is especially important 
in all cases of viper venom poisoning. 

In all i)atients, regardless of the snake involved, 
pvdse, blood pressure, and respirations should be 
checked periodically. "When available, central 
venous pressure monitoring devices may be used 
in order to determine need for and to evaluate 
resi)onse to anti-shock therapy. Facilities and 
drugs for shock must l>e readily available, and 
a tracheostomy set and [)ositive pressure lu-eath- 
ing apparatus should be held in readiness. A 
measurement of the circumference of the affected 
part 4 inches above the bite, and at an additional 
point proximal to the wound, should be recorded. 

The course of snake venom poisoning is some- 
times unpredictable, and patients showing steady 
recovery may on occasions take a turn for the 
worse. Continued close observation by physi- 


Medical Treatment 

cians and nurses is essential (l\irinji- tlie entire 
hospitalization period. 



The early administration of antivenin, particu- 
larly followiufj a se^■ere envenomation, cannot be 
overemphasized. A few minutes may mean the 
difference between life and death. The choice of 
antivenin, the route of injection and the amount 
to be g'wen will depend upon a number of dif- 
ferent factors (see below). In most cases, the 
more species oi- <i'enus specific the antivenin, the 
more effective it will be. However, at the present 
time tlieie is a great deal of variation in the 
effectiveness of the commercially available anti- 
venins; some polyvalent types appear to be more 
u.sefiil than some which are genus specific. Un- 
fortunately, there is no standardized process for 
the production of antivenin, and indeed there is 
no conformity in testing methods. Thus, the 
physician will need to depend on the specific in- 
formation supplied witli (he antivenin, or ujjon 
more detailed data provided by a medical facility 
in the area. Ampoules of antivenin usually have 
an "expiration date" indicated, 'riiougli tiiis is 
the limit of the pro<lurer"s pei'ind of potency, tlic 
antivenin docs not suddenly become inell'ectixc 
on that (late. Some ])ro(lucers have indicated 
that the etl'ectiveness of the aiiti\cMin is not 
greatly impaired until it has become cloudy or 
milky in api)earanci'. A list of the a\'ailablc 
antivenins is provided on ])ages ITiD-lTO. 

Certain ])rinciples can, however, guide the 
physician in his choice of an antivenin. In 
general, the lyophilized preparation is to l)e pre- 
ferred to the nonlyophilized one; and antivenins 
prepared by fractionation with anunonium sul- 
fate, or some similar process f'oi' removing (he low 
antibody containing fractions, are usually super- 
ior to those in which the whole serum is packaged. 
Almost all andvenins cui-rendy available ai'e i)re- 
pared in hoi'ses, but widiin (he next few years 
some antivenins will be prepared from sera of 
other animals. 

The amount of antivenin re(piired to neutralize 
the effects of a venom will depend upon a number 
of different factors. However, some general in- 

structions can be given. Following appropriate 
skin or eye tests, in cases of minimal envenoma- 
tion, 1 or 2 units (vials, tubes or packages) will 
usually suffice. Some manufacturers, however, 
advise 3 or -1 units, even in relatively minor cases. 
In moderately severe cases, 3 to 5 units may be 
required; while in severe cases, 10 or more units 
may sometimes be needed. "NAHiile as many as 45 
units (450 ml. of antivenin) have been given to 
a single patient, this is never warranted, and in- 
deed is very dangerous. 

The choice of the route of administi'ation will 
dejiend, among the other factors previously noted, 
upon (he amount of (ime (hat has transpired be- 
tween (he bite and the adminis(i-a( ion of (he anti- 
venin. The longei' the delay (he more ni'gen( (he 
m>ed for in(ra\euous an( ivenin. IIoweNer. no( all 
])roduc(s can be given in( ravenously with (he same 
degree of safety. The physician should consult 
(he bi-ochure which accompanies the an(ivenin 
before injecting the serum. In(ravenous anti- 
venin is also indicated for those patients in shock. 

In most cases, a portion of the first unit should 
be injected subcutaneously jiroximal to the bi(e or 
surrounding the wound or in advance of the 
swelling. T'nder no ehTumxf(inee>i .ihoiild anti- 
rrn/n be injected info a fnger or toe. Avoid giv- 
ing large amounts of the antivenin into the in- 
jured ])ar(. for (his makes it difficult to determiiu' 
liow nuich swelling is due to the venom and how 
much is due to the i)resence of antivenin. .V 
second portion of the anti\enin should be in- 
jected iiuranuiscularly into a large muscle mass 
distaiu from the wound. The last portion of 
the first uui( should be given in( ravenously, if 
at all possible. It can 1h> added to a [)hysiol<)gic 
saline solution and given in a contintious dri]). 
Subseipient doses <-an then be ad<led to the saline 
solut ion. 

Antix'enin is of \alue in lU'ut ralizing certain 
effects of the venom, but perhaps not all. I( is 
difficuU to determine how long after envenoma- 
(ion an(ivenin can be given and still be effective. 
Certainly, it is of value if given within 4 hours 
of a bite; it is of lesser value if administration 
is delayed for 8 hours, and it is of questionable 
value after 10 hours, except j)erhaps in cases of 
poisoning by certain elapids. It seems advisable 
(o reconunend its use up to 12 hours following 
en\enoma(ion, unless (here is a definite contra- 


Poitonoui Snake% of iho VVor/c/ 

iiulit'ul ii>ii. l''(illi>\\ in;; liiU's liy tlit> Austniliiin 
t'liipuls it mi^jlil li»' of viiliio ('V(Mi wlioii fjivi'ii ln' 
yoiiil t'J hours foUowiii^j tlio hilo. 

Administnitioii of !iiiti\'i>iiiii is iiol a proccdtiic 
willioiit ilaii^M'. Ill sonsitivp iiorsoiis i(s injec- 
tion call 1)0 fatal. In pofsons witli a liistoiy <ir 
oxtiMisivo alliM^jies it must bo injected uitli cx- 
trenio caution. ovt>n in tlio pi'psonco of ;i lu-f^alivc 
skin test. .\.|)proxiinately SO pcrccnl of one l;ii;;c 
ujioup of Americans tested for horse serum sensi- 
livity follo\\in<r rattlesnake hites had nejrative or 
only slightly positive reactions. Twenty percent 
of this ijrovi]) were subse((uently Irealed for de 
laved sonim reactions; reactions were most 
marked in tliose patients receiviiif]: '■'> vials or more 
of antivenm. 

In patients sensitive to horse serum, desensitiza- 
tion slioidd he carried out as indicated in the hro- 
chure accompanyinir the antivenin, or according 
to standard medical proce(hires for desensitiza- 
tion. In liiose patients liavin^ a history of sensi- 
tivity and a strone;ly ])f)sitive skin or conjunctival 
test ('^ or 4+), antivenin should he withheld. 
However, the physician will need to weigh the 
risk of withholding the antivenin, against the 
risk of death, when poisoning has occurred by 
hirge mambas, kraits, cobras, or certain of the 
Australian elapids. (See p. 23 regarding use of 
corticosteroids.) .Vntivenin has lieen given to 
very sensitive patients in a slow drip of physio- 
logic saline, but oidy in a hospital where systemic 
arterial and venous pressures and respirations 
could be continuously monitored, and where an 
electrocardiogram conld be watched. 

Blood Transfusions and Parenteral Fluids 

All severe cases of snake venom poisoning give 
rise, early or late in the course of the disease, to 
a decrease in blood flow. The shock seen im- 
mediately following the severe bite by <i rattle- 
snake is due to the pooling of blood in the pul- 
monary circulation, and to a lesser extent in the 
larger vessels of the thorax. In such cases, the 
availability of blood to the heart and brain is 
markedly reduced, and unless circulating blood 
volume is restored, the patient may develop ir- 
reversible tis.sue changes. "Wlien shock develops 
late (12 to 72 hours) in the of the disease, 
it is usually due to blood loss through liemorrhage. 
The hemorrhage may be evident in the injured 

part, or it may 1h^ nuisked inl raperiloneally or 
let roperiloncidly, or it may ()c<iir into the gas- 
I roinleslinal, urinary, or ic^piraloiv tracts. 
Pooling of blond in some organs imiy also lake 
place and add l<i llie decI•eas(^ in circulating 
\olume. ( '(ini'uniil ani wilh llioe rhanges, the 
red blood cells may undergo lysis and fuilher 
embarrass the cii'culat if)n. Tf) comliat these. 
ell'ects, blood \oliinie and blood llnw must bo 
maini ained. 

Parenteial (luid should always be given follow- 
ing a se\ere envenomat ion. It may be necessary 
to add a vasopressor drug to the soint ion. .V void 
using corticosteroids, part icidarly if antivenin 
has or is being administered. While plasma or 
plasma expanders can be given, whole blood 
should be administered if it is available. In cases 
of crotalid and viperid venom poisoning, fresh 
Mood is preferred, as the patient may be unable to 
produce or circulate i)latelets. If. and when, 
bleeding begins, the hematocrit may fall rapidly 
necessitating a nund)er of transfusions. Ex- 
change transfusions should be considered when 
the clotting time is at infinity and the blood 
picture displays no evidence nl' inipid\enient. 
.Vs many as 25 pints of blood may need to be 
C'i\-en to tin' \ictim of a severe I'attlesnal'.'e bit(>. 


A broad-s])ectrum antibiotic should be given 
if the reaction to envenomation is severe. Since 
the nature of the injury predisposes to infection, 
and since pathogenic bacteria are likely to be 
introduced into the wound, the use of an anti- 
biotic seems justified. Should infection develop, 
cultures and organism sensitivity tests will guide 
subsequent antibiotic therapy. If there is exten- 
sive skin damage, large doses of an antibiotic may 
be needed. In such cases, repeated wound cul- 
tures and blood counts are advisable. 

Tetanus Prophylaxis 

Since the members of the armed services have 
been routinely immunized against tetanus, a 
"booster shot" of tetanus toxoid shotild be given 
upon admission. The use of gas gangrene anti- 
toxin is not warranted. 


Medical Treaiment 

Electrolyte Balance 

Because of the acute changes associated with 
the tissue damafre produced by tlie venom, and 
the loss of blood and intracellular fluid which 
may occur, changes in electrolj'te and fluid bal- 
ance should be treated immediately. 


Aspirin or codeine may be used to alleviate 
pain. Morphine may be used if the pain is 
severe, but should be avoided in near shock condi- 
tions or when there is a respiratoiy deficit. Local 
"blocks" with procaine and topically applied lo- 
tions or ointments are rai'ely etfective. The 
affected part should be kejit out of a completely 
dependent position so as not to accentuate pain. 

Respiratory Failure 

At the first sijjns of respiratory distress, o.wjjen 
should be given, and preparations made to apply 
intermittent positive pressui-e ai'tificial respira- 
tion. A tracheostomy may be indicated, particu- 
larly if trismus, laryngeal spasm, and excessive 
salivation are i)resent. "While drugs have been 
given to stimulate the respiratory centers, they 
have not proved of particular value. 

Renal Shutdown 

The routine emei'gency measures for the treat- 
ment of renal shutdown should be followed. 
Shock, fluid restriction, electrolytic balance, diet, 
and administration of digitalis nnist be con- 
sidered. Renal dialysis may be necessary. Peri- 
toneal dialysis is of little value. 


Mild sedation with i)henobarbital is definitely 
indicated in all severe bites, and where respiratoi-y 
failure is not a problem. Sedation will ustially 
reduce the amount of narcotic necessary to con- 
trol the pain. 

Care of the Wound 

The wound shoidd 1)0 cleansed and covered 
with a sterile dressing. The dressing should be 
changed frequently when large amounts of exu- 

date are present. Everj- attempt should be made 
to keep the wound and dressing dry. Avoid 
fasciotomy. Only when circulation is seriously 
threatened should a fasciotomy be done. 

Other Measures 

1. AntihiKfamineii are of no value during the 
acute stages of the poisoning. They can be used 
subsequently to control tlie lesser allergic mani- 
festations provoked by the venom or horse serum. 

•1. Afro//inr can be used as a parasympatho- 
lytic drug. 

3. Amnion!)/, injected info the wound, is con- 
traindicated. The injection of potassium per- 
manganate, formaldehyde, gold salts, ef cetera^ 
into the injured area, or elsewhere, is of no value 
and should not be attempted. 

4. C'ortieoKteroifh are probably of little value 
during the acute stages of viper venom poisoning, 
and indeed their use may be contraiiulicated when 
antivenin is being administered. They might be 
used as a single dose treatment for shock, if no 
other sj)ecific antishock drug is available. In 
elapid venom poisoning they appear to have 
found some widespread use, although the clinical 
evidence in sui)]iort of their administration in 
this type of ]ioisoning is not at i)resent convinc- 
ing. They might be used in elapid venom poison- 
ing, liut here again ca\itiou should be exercised if 
antivenin is to be given sinniltaneously. 

The corticosteroids are the drugs of choice in 
combating any late or severe manifestations of 
the allergic resjjonse provoked by the venom or 
horse serum. Tn most cases these manifestations 
do not appear until .'? to 5 days following admin- 
istration of antivenin. 

5. Cryofheropi/ should be avoided. Keeping 
the injured part cool (40-50° F.) for several days 
(and the patieiu warm) may be of some value, 
but freezing the extremity or keei)ing it immersed 
in ice water for days is iu)t ivconnnended. 

C). EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) 
lias been suggested as an agent for combating the 
tissue effects jiroduced by certain viper venom 
enzymes. Preliminary experimental studies have 
indicated that 0.025 to 0.05 molar EDTA in 
saline, when injected m the area of the injury, 
retards the development of necrosis and certain 
other tissue changes. There is no known contra- 


Poisonous Snakes of Iho WorUt 

iii(li<'i\tiiiii I'lii' In iisr in rniijiincdDii uilh :inli 

7. //i//>frh(ir!r iiyi/f/tn 1ms lu'cii sii;rj;<'stt'(l us a 
thiMiiiMHitii' nuMismt', but 1ms not lni'ii (■\;iliia(c(l 
siiHii-'uMitly to ivcomnu'nd its use al liiis tiiuc 

8. I solution- fhrfiisioii dl' an I'xlivmity "illi 
anlix'tMiin lias not hci-n cvahialci! snirK'icnIiy (o 
ivronmitMul its nso at tliis time. 

Follow-up Care 

()t'li'n iu';rlt'ctci| liiit (if llir ulinost ini|)<)rtanci'. 

is till' rnllnw u|i can". ( 'onl lachircs and ainputii- 
( ions can l)c rt'dntcd l»y iniliatiii^j coi reel ivo 
iiiciisnrcs and exercises followinj; llin aciilc sdiges 
of I lie |>(iisonin<^. '^ll(^ vesicles an<l necrosis 
slionld lie Ireated in a manlier similar lo llial ad- 
vised i'di- viciims III' severe liiirns. AV'itliin one 
week t'i)ll<i\\ iiiL: I lie injury, or t liereahoilts, phys- 
ical therapy should lie iiisl il iiled. Ortliopedio 
consultation should l>e sought and a rehahililation 
prcieiain aira iij^'ed lor the patient. 


IMCKLKV, PORGES, N. (editors) 1956. 
\'en<inis. Anier. Assoc. Advancement Sci., 
Wa-hiiiiiton, D.C. KiT p. 

CAMPHKLL. ('. II. I'.HU. Venomous Snake Bite 
in Papiia and Its Treat nieiit with Tracheot- 
oiiiy, .Vrtiticial Respiration and Antivenin. 
Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Ilyji- 5!) : :>fi?,-27:5. 

(TIRISTENSEN, P. A. 1055. South African 
Snake Venoms and Antivenoms. South 
African Institute Medical Research, Johan- 
nesburg. 142 p. 

EFRATI, P. and REIF, L. 1953. Clinical and 
I'atholooical Observations on Si.xty-five Cases 
of Vijier Bite in Israel. Amer. J. Trop. 
Med. IIy<r. 2: 1085-1108. 

GEXXARO. J. F., Jr. 195.3. Observations on the 
Treatment of Snakebite in Xorth America, 
p. 427-146. In, H. E. Keegan and AV. V. 
Macfarlane, Venomous and Poisonous Ani- 
mals and Xoxious Plants of the Pacific 
Region. Pergamon, Oxford. 

KAISER, E. and MICHL, M. 1958. Die Bio- 
chemie der Tierischen Gifts. F. Deuticke, 
Wien. 25S p. 


(editors) 1!)(>3. Venomous and Poisonous 
Animals and Xoxious Plants of the Pacific 
Region. Perganion, Oxford. 456 p. 

1963. Interim Statement on Snakebite Ther- 
apy. Toxicon 1 : 81-87. 

PHISALIX, M. 1922. Aiiimaux Veninieux et 
Venins. Masson, Paris, 2 vol. 

REID, H. A. 1964. Cobra-Bites. I'.rit. Med. J. 
2 : 540-545. 

REID, H. A., THEAX^, P. C, CHAN, K. E. and 
BAIIARAM, A. R. 1963. Clinical Effects 
of Bites by Malayan Viper {Avchtrodon 
rhodosfoma). Lancet 1:617-621. 

RUSSELL, F. E. 1961. Use of Crotulm Mono- 
valent Antivenin from Rabbit Serum. Curr. 
Therap. Res. 3 : 438-140. 

RI^SSELL, F. E. 1962. Snake Venom Poison- 
ing, vol II, p. 197-210. In, G. M. Piersol, 
Cyclopedia of Medicine, Surgery and the 
Specialties. F. A. Davis, Philadelphia. 


Chapter VI 




Introduction 25 

General Procedures in Identification 25 

Distinguishing Features in Identification 26 

Venom Aj)j)aiatus 26 

Head Shields 27 

Eye Cliaracteristics 27 

Dorsal Scale Characteristics 28 

Ventral Scutes 28 

Tail Characteristics 28 

Sex 28 

Color and Pattern 29 

Key to Families of Snakes 30 

Disposition of Unidentified Snakes 32 

Mfthod of Pivsi'i-xation 32 


This chapter is desi{i;ned primarily for identifi- 
cation of freshly killed snakes, not live snakes 
seen in the field, nor long preserved and faded 
museum specimens. Identification of live snakes 
in the field requires i)ractice and experience, and 
the <;uidelines do not lend themselves to brief 
verbal descriptions, as a rule. It is to be hoped 
that the snakes submitted for identification will 
have their heads on and not be too badlv smashed. 
Identification is considerably more complicated 
if the head is badly nnitilated, and a decapitated 
bodv mav be unidentifiable. 


It is assumed that the user of this manual will 
have some knowledge of where the specimen he 
is trying to identify came from. For example, 
if a suspected coral snake is brought in for identi- 
fication, there will be no reason to differentiate it 
from the 4(1 or so species of coral snakes found 
from Mexico southward if it is known that it was 
collected in Xortli Carolina. Knowledge of the 
area of habitat narrows the field considerably. 
Identifying snakes from tropical areas often 
l)oses a problem in that tropical snake faunas are 


Poisonous Snakes of tho World 

imi<l> I'iclicr ill llic iuiiiiIhts of spccii-s, niid tlm 
<list I'iliiil ii)i) (if soiiH- III' tlu'Sf is poorly kiiowii. 
Ni<vcrtlu'U>ss, if tliis maiuiul is used c'i)i-n'rtl\ , miiiI 
if flit'iv is an !itl(M|iiali- s|«'rinicii lo woik willi, 
it siioiilil 1h> iiossililc (() (list iiifjiiisli tirsi Ix'twccii 
|>(iisoMoiis aiiil iiiin|i<iis(iii(>us siuikes, tiicii, if poi 
soiKHis, lo asccilaiii till' coiii'cl (jjciicric idciil itica- 
lioii ill alioiit '.•0 percent of tiie cases, and liiuilly 
to urri\(' at the coirect species in about .'5 out of 4 

P'irst, if tiiere is any doulit that I lie animal /■••■ a 
siiiike and a poisonous one, oi- if I he family of the 
snake is unknown, tlieii Key to the Families of 
Snakes. pa<re -W lids chapter, shouKl he con- 
sulted. If the snake is known to he a poisonous 
land snake, then refer to the coriect geographic 
section of Cluipter VII and thence to the descrip- 
tions of the common species of the area; if a 
poisonous marine snake, refei- to Chapter VIII. 

If i)ractical)le every medical unit that enters 
an area where snakebite is a hazard should build 
up an identified collection of local poisonous and 
nonpoi.sonous snakes (see p. 32 for directions). 
Small individuals or just the heads of large 
snakes should be sufficient. Such collections are 
often essential foi' i-apid identification of danger- 
ous species. 

If the specimen cannot be identified readily, it 
may be : 

1. An aberrant individual or one from an 
atypical population; 

2. An uncommon species listed in the regional 
table but not described in detail ; 

3. An unknown species or one not previously 
known from that geograi)hic region; 

4. A harmless species incorrectly identified as 
poisonous. (To confirm the family, recheck char- 

FiGURE 4. — Drawing of head of pit vijier. showing the 
po.sition and appearance of the loreal pit. Tliis heat- 
sensitive structure is characteristic of the famil.v 

acteristics using Key to the I-'amilies, this 

In examiiimg an iiiiiilenrilieil ^iiakc look first 
at the head. In all pit \ipers (family ('rotali- 
dae) tlier(( is a deep hollow between the eye. and 
nostril and slightly below a line connecting the 
two (.see figiiri^ 4). The impression is one of an 
e.xti'a nosti-il. (A large pit \\\wv, Both ropx atrox, 
is know II in .Mexico as fimlro tun'ices or four no.s- 
trils.) 'I'hese pits are actually sensiti\e heat 
receptors. They absolutely identify a snake as a 
pit viper, since they are not seen in any other 
type of snake. IIowe\er, some ])ythons and boas 
do ha\(' pits on the upper lip. The ])its may be 
ditlicnli to recognize for they are often camou- 
flaged by the head mai'kings so that they are not 
visible except by close inspection; this ofl'crs an- 
other reason for bringing the intact snake in for 
ident ilication. 


Venom Apparatus 

Fangs and venom glands are the only anatomic 
features that set poisonous snakes apart from non- 
poisonous ones. Caution is demanded in examin- 
ing the mouth of a freshly killed snake ; the biting 
reflex may persist in a severed head for as long 
as 45 minutes. The long, moveable fangs of 
vipers, normally sheathed in whitish membrane 
and rotated parallel to the roof of the mouth, can 
be readily demonstrated and recognized. Fangs 
of elapid snakes (cobras, kraits, mambas, and 
related species) are smaller in size, located 
toward the front of the mouth, and fixed 
to the jaw (see fig. 5). In cobras, mambas, 
and some other species they are large enough to 
be readily recognized, but in coral snakes and 
some other small elapids this is not the case. En- 
larged anterior teeth are seen also in some nonpoi- 
sonous snakes and can be confusing. Sea snake 
fangs are small and hard to distinguish. Rear 
fangs in colnbrid snakes are rather difficult to see 
and extremely difficult to diii'erentiate from non- 
srooved enlarged teeth found at the back of 
the jaw in many nonpoisonous snakes. Fortu- 
nately only a few rear-fanged snakes in Africa 
are sufficiently dangerous that their identification 


Recognition of Poisonous Snakes 

is important, and the fangs in tliese kinds are 
quite long. 

Head Shields 

The size and arrangement of sliields on the top 
and sides of the head are most helpful in snake 
identification. In the great majority of snakes 

the top of the head is covered by large symmetri- 
cal shields, typically 9 in number (see fig. 6). 
Moi-e or less division of these shields into small 
scales is seen in many kinds of vipers, many boas 
and pythons, and in a few other kinds of snakes. 
Reduction of the number through fusion of 
shields is seen mostlv in small burrowing snakes. 








Figure 6. — Head of typical colubrid snake. ilhistratiiiK 
arraiiKeraeiit of scales from dorsal and lateral views. 
Any of these scales may be modified in shape or ab- 
sent in v.arioiis };nmi)s of poisonous snakes. 

Figure .'j. — Skulls representative of vario\is families of 
poisonous snakes, showing lengths of maxillary bones 
(shaded) and positions and lengths of fangs. A. 
Cobra (Elapidae). showing short fang in front part 
of maxillary bone: B. Pit viper (Crotalidae). 
.showing long fang on short maxillary bone; C. Rear- 
fanged snake (Cohibridae), showing short fang on 
rear part of long maxillary bone (Other parts of 
skull diagrammatic only). 

If there are lypiial large shields on the crown 
and no pit between the eye and nostril, look at 
the side of the head in front of the eye. The 
loreal siiield (see fig. (>) is absent in nearly all 
])oisonous snakes of the Elapidae as well as the 
.\frican mole vipers ( Yii)eridae). This shield is 
also lacking in a good many n()ni)oisonous snakes, 
but many of these are small burrowers or strictly 
aquatic snakes which may be eliminated on other 
grounds. 'l"lie size of the eye may be important 
(see GLOSS A PvY). 

Eye Characteristics 

The shape of the pupil of the eye should be 
noted in live or freshly killed snakes. Most 
snakes have round pupils, some have vertically 
elliptical pupils, and a few have hoi'izontally 
elliptical pupils. Vertically elliptical pupils are 


Poisonous Snalces o^ the World 

fhiiriii'h'risi u' of iiiosl vipoi's Itiil somo iioiipoisoii- 
mis sniiki's also liiivo tliis typo. Most vt'iionioiis 
clnpiils Imvo roiiml pupils. 

Dorsal Scale Characteristics 

'riio mmilii'i- ot" (loisai scalp rows is somctinips 
important in siiako iiUMititicatioii. 'rii(> iiicthod of 
countiiifj is shown in lii;nn' 7. A\'liili' ii is i|uilt' 
|i()ssil)lt> to niako this count on a snako "in the 
louml" so to si)t'ak, the incxpeficnccd individual 
may obtain better fesidts by skinninir out a sec- 
tion of the body and flal(cnin<i; the skin. It is 
seldom possible to take a satisfactory scale count 
of a live snake. It is often desirable to note if 

FiGtRK 7. — Method of fouiiting dorsal scale rows. Fig- 
ure drawn as though skin has been slit down belly 
and spread flat (V = ventral plates). 

the dorsal scales have a loiie^itudinal raised ridge, 
kee/ed. or if they lack such ridges, funooth (see 
fig. 8). 

form of I lie tail is often impoitanl in idcnliflca- 
I ion \irlually (li;io-|i(isl ic in sea snakes and 
ral I ji'siiakes. 'riic. suln-anija I miiIcs are ii anally in 
a (ioiii)ie row (paired) ; liowe\er, in som(^ species, 
all or most may bt^ in a siiigh^ row (see ligur<i 10). 
A couhl of iIk^ subcaudals is I'oul inc. 


Sex of a snake can sometimes b(^ dclermined 
readily by oiiserving eggs or (le\-eloping young in 
liu' oviducts. Pressure by lingers oi' iiijeclion of 
liquid at liie bas(^ of the tail will usually evert, 
the copulatory organs or hemipenes of a male 
snake. The morphology of these organs is im- 
portant in snake taxonomy. T'sually they are 

Ventral Scutes 

In the vast majority of snakes, large transverse 
scutes extend the full width of the belly. These 
are considerably reduced in size in boas and 
pythons, some freshwater and burrowing snakes, 
and in many sea snakes (see figure 9). They are 
completely absent in the burrowing blind snakes, 
aird iir some sea snakes. A complete count of 
the ventrals is routine procedure in systematic 
herpetology. It is easily done, but rather tedious, 
and is not required for most of the species identi- 
fications in this manual. 


The tail of a snake begins at the anal plate 
which covers the opening of the cloaca. The 


Figure 8. — Figures of dorsal scales showing major 
types of scale ornamentation : A. smooth scales. B. 
keeled scales. 


Recognition of Poisonous Snakes 




Figure !). — Appparauce of ventral plates in various groups of snakes. A. I'^xlending full width of belly (most snakes) : 
H. Moderately rediu-ed (boas, pythons, some aquatic snakes): C. MarUtnlly reduced (many sea snakes). 

ratliof lat-ofo flesliy stfUPttires bpariiij; spiiips or 
oilier ornamentation, l)ut tliev may he quite 
smootli, small, and slender. 

tern and (^oloi'.s of yonn<r snakes may he totally 
dill'erent from those of the adult. Sex differences 
in color and pattern are also seen. 

Color and Pattern 

Color and iiatlcrn are the most widely used 
but, iinfortiinntely, are the most deceptive ci-iteria 
for snake identilication. Color and ])atterns in 
snakes have evolved piimaiily f<ir ]iiitpose of 
concealment and, as a result, totally luirclated 
snakes may a])])ear very much alike. Afany tree 
snakes, for cxampli\ are o-i-pon with a. litrht line 
on the flank, and many snakes that li\c in the 
crevices of roc^k or under hark have dark heads 
with a liirht collar at the nape. IJeal or apparent 
mimicrA' of venomous snakes by harmless sjiecies 
is very widespread and may involve similarities 
in behavior as well as ajipearance. Color and 
pattern vary pivatly even within a species. Ii\ 
snakes of semiarid lands, it has been observed for 
centuries that there is often correspondence of 
general body color with the color of the soil. 
Abnormal increases of dark pigment (melanism) 
or its complete absence (albinism) can in rare 
cases give rise to black coral snakes or white 
rattlesnakes. Pattern is generally more constant 
than color, but several kinds of snakes may show 
both ringed and striped types of pattern. Pat- 

Fic.uRE 10. — Undersides of tails of representative snakes. 
Snake with ENTIRE anal plate and a SINGLE row 
of subcandal scutes: snake with DIVIDED anal plate 
and PAIRED rows of subcaudal scutes (V = ventral 


Poisonouj Snakes of ihe World 


The kt\vs j;i\i'ii in ('hiijiliT \'I1 disl iiifj^uisli tlic 
\;iii<)us kiiuls of poisonous land snakes from one 
uiiotluM-; (Miai)tt>r VIII distinpuislics llio poison- 
ous sen snaki's. Often, liowever, tliere are hasic 
([luvstions as to whellier of not a sinike Av poison- 
ous, and to what family it i)elon<fs. Sonictinics 
a family allocation will act as a doiihle ciiccjc on 
a lentafivo identilication and also, occasionally, a 
family desiiriiation will Ke all tlial is possililc l)i' 
cause of the I'ondition of tlie snake. 

Tlu' i'lijlnwin:;- key has heen (U^sii;-ne(l losort oiil 
many kinds of nonpoisonous snakes and snake- 
liko animals hefore linally distinguishinji helweon 
typical harndess snakes and poisonous ones liy the 
only positive means of identification of a poison- 
ous kind — the presence of fanjjs in the upper jaw. 

To identify an animal l>y use of this key, the 
I'cader nuisl he^jin with the lirsl couplet (pair of 
•statements), decide whicji ()n(^ liescriiic-, llm ani- 
mal al hand, ami llirn prori'i'd lo llin cuuplel 
indicated at liie end of the proper desci'ipt i\(i 
phfase. This |)i()cedure is fr)llo\\(Ml with the ne.xt 
couplet and so oti. Thus, :in :dlciiiat i\ c decision 
is oll'ei'ed with each <'ouplcl until Ihe i'ea<ler 
linally deleiinines the proper calefToiv for the 
animal, 'i'lic an una I nnisl |K)SSess i/// (d' I he cha r- 
acterislics mentioned in Ihe projjer line of coup- 
lets- -not just the linal chaiaclerisi i<\ Theicfoi'e, 
it is always necessary to start al the liciriinnn<x 
of the key. 

The following key sliould always he used if 
there is any (|uestion as to whether or iK)t Ihe 
animal at hand is a i)oisonous snake: 


1. A. Body elonojate, but legs or fins present on NOT A 

front and/oi- rear parts of body SNAKE 

B. Body elonjiate, no leps or fins 2 

2. A. Skin slim}-, with or without bony (fish- NOT A 

like) scales "_ SNAKE 

B. Skin dry, with thin horny scales 3 

3. A. Skin formed into distinct broad rinjis that NOT A 

extend around body SNAKE 

B. Skin formed into small overlapping or 
juxtaposed scales (not in rings), at 
least on back 4 

Eye with a movable lid NOT A SNAKE 

No movable lid 5 

Tail round in cross-section; not oar-shaped 7 

Tail compressed into an oar-like blade 6 

Head covered with small granular scales; 
no large shields on crown; watersnakes 
of Southeast Asia COLUBRIDAE 

B. Some crown shields present; see fig. fi; 

seasnakes, Chapter YIII -— HYDROPHIDxVE 

7. A. A row of enlarged, transverse scutes (ven- 

trals) down the belly 11 

B. Body scales uniform above and below 8 









Recognition of Poisonous Snakes 

8. A. Tail with an enlarged and ornamented 

scute or with several spiny scales near 
tip (SE Asia only) ; Indian rough- 
scaled snakes "___ ITROPELTIDAE 

B. Xo such specialized tail, a single spine or 

none on tip 9 

9. A. Eye inider a distinct round scale; most of 

head covered with small granular 

scales 16 

B. Eye under irregularly-shaped head plate; 

head covered with enlarged scutes 10 

10. A. Scute containing nostril forms l)order of 

lip, 14 rows of scales around body; 

slender blindsnakes ..LEPTOTYPHLOPIDAE 

B. Scute containing nostril separated from 
lip by surrounding scales: more than 
14 scale rows: typical lilindsnakes TYPHLOPIDAE 

11. A. Ventral scutes extend full width of belly 15 

B. Ventral scutes narrow, not extending 

width of belly 12 

12. A. Ventrals scarcely twice size of dorsals, or 

less 13 

B. Ventrals distinctly enlarged, more than 3 
times width of dorsals; boas and 
pythons BOIDAE 

13. A. Head mainly t'ovcrcd witii small scales 16 

B. Head covered witii large scutes, though 

not in "typical" pattern (see fig. 6) 14 

14. A. A large median shield behind frontal: 15 

scale rows (SE Asia oniv); sunbeam 


B. No large median scute behind frontal: 17 
scale rows or more (SE Asia and north- 
ern South America). Pipe snakes ANILIDAE 

15. A. A spur-like hook on either side of vent 

(often hidden in small depressions) 12 

B. No indication of spurs 16 

IC. A. One or two large fangs near front of 

upper jaw on each side 17 

B. No sign of fangs at front of upper jaw. 
Typical harmless snakes; about 2,000 
species, only 2 in C. and S. Africa 
are dangerous COLUBRIDAE 

17. A. Ijong fangs on short maxillary bone which 
can rotate to ei'cct them; no other teeth 
on maxillary 18 


Poisonous Snakes of (he World 

1>. Shoil r:iii;;;s on \i>\\>i iiiiixilliiiv Im)1ii' wliicli 

iMiiniil i'(>(:itf: iisiuilly Icclli on iii:i.\il 

larv liniu' Im'IuihI I'liiii,^: ioIu'ms mihI 

ivli'.livi-s KF,,\1MI).\I-, 4^ 

IS, A. A IoumI |iil, si>i' lifT. 4; (SE Eiiropo, Asia, 

ami Aincricans only) ; pil vipcrH ( IM )'!' A M I ) A 1% ^fi^ 

W. No lorcal |iii ( Muropf. Asia, and Africa . 

only); OKI World vipers VIPEIUDAE ^^ 

^^^ zz ramUifs iif ilahuiM'niisty imlsoiioiis spoclcs. 


Snakos llial cannot Ixi identified shonld bo pre- 
served in the nuumer jiiven in the next panijiiapli 
and submitted to the nearest T^.S. Xaviil Preven- 
tive ifedicine Unit. Such units will p^«)vi(l(^ 
identilication service. Tf delivery to such a unit 
is not practicable, tlien contact tlie nearest natural 
history nmseum or other institution which niijihl 
have a statV herpetoloiiist and retjuest helj) in iden- 

The two best preservatives to prepare a speci- 
men for shipment or delivery to a herpetologist 
are : 

1. Connnercial foimaldehyde diluted with .j to 
n parts of water; 

•2. (irain alcohol diluted to 75 percent. 

However, animals as large as most snakes will 
decay if placed in a preservative without some 
prior prei)aration. An ideal specimen and one 
which will remain in a state of minimum decay 
may be prepared by thoroughly injecting the body 
cavity and base of the tail witli the preservative. 
A large syringe is the best means to inject the 
lluid, but if one is not a\'ailable, multiple slits 
should be cut into the belly and the base of the tail 
and this will enable the preservative to reach the 

deep tissues. Then put a wad of cotton or gauze 
into its mouth to hold it oi)en. The specimen 
shordd then be neatly coiled, belly side up, in a 
container sulliciently large to coxcr the snake with 
the pri"ser\at i\e. Do not ci'owd seveial speci- 
mens in a single conlainei'. 

Tiarge snakes of ."> feet or more in length 
should be eviscerated or skinned out leaving 
only th(> head and tail intact before placing 
tliem in a container of preser\-ative. An intact 
head will be sufficient to ditlVrent ial(> bet w(>en 
poisonous and nonpoisonous species. 

After the specimen has hardened (5 to 7 days 
is usually required), it may be removed from the 
liquid, wrapped in damp rags, put in a plastic 
bag and shipped to the herpetologist for identifi- 
cation. A tag should always be included which 
gives the location where the specimen was col- 
lected in enough detail so that it can be located 
on a map in an oi-dinary atlas. If the name of a 
small native village is used then the name of the 
district, department, county or other political sub- 
division nnist be added. Other information to 
put on the tag which will greatly increase the scl- 
ent itic value of a specimen includes date of col- 
lect ion of specimen, a]ii)roximate altitude, habitat, 
and the name and address of the collector. TTse 
w aterproof iid< or a }>encil in filling out the tag. 


Chapter VII 



To facilitate tlie idenl ilictt ion of some HfiO spe- 
cies of poisonous land snakes of tlie world, the 
land areas have lieen divided into 10 refjions (see 
^fap 1). This (•ha])ter has heen divided into 10 
seiiions (o rorr('s])()nd. In each section has been 
inchi<lc(l a delinilion of the rcirion, a list of poi- 
sonous species which occuf in it and their dis- 
tril)utiou within the area and, importantly, a Key 
to the (uMiera of poisonous snakes inhabiting the 
reofion. Tlu^ main body of the text of each sec- 
tion is se])arated into genei'ic divisions (based 
upon I he Key to Genera) and each divisioi; is 
headed by a descri|)tion of the j^-enus. Follow- 
in<r thereafter are individual descriptions of the 
poisonous species which are responsible for the 
largest numbei's of liites within the ai-ea, or are 
believed to be of serious danger to any adult 
human inhabiting or entering the region. 

Exce2)t in a few cases which are specifically in- 

dicated, the list of poisonous snakes of the world 
by Klennner (1063) has been used as the basis 
for the nomenclature used in this chajiter and 
elsewhere in the manual. The list of references 
appended to the end of each section is not in- 
tended to be comprehensive, but indicates the 
main sources of information utilized in prej)aring 
the accounts and may serve as an intioduction to 
the literature on the poisonous snakes of the 
region. This same kind of information is given 
on sea snakes (Hydrophidae) in a separate chap- 
ter (Chapter VlJl). 

Figures have been inchuled for all of the dan- 
gerously poisonous species if photographs or 
drawings were available at the time of juiblica- 
tion. ^lissing photograi)hs, or likely sources of 
such photographs, should be forwarded to the 
Pieventive ^[edicine Division (Code T'2), Bureau 
of .Medicine and Surgery, Xavy Department, 
"Washington, D.C. for inclusion in future editions 
of this maninil. 


Poisonous Snakes of ihe World 







Section 1 

Definition of the Region: 

Confinento/ United Sfafes 

and Canada 


Distribution Chart 3G 

Introduction 37 

Key to Genera o7 


M/cruioides 38 

Micnirus 38 


^4 (jkifitrodon 38 

Rattlesnakes 39 

Crotahis 40 

. Sisfrurus 43 

References 45 


Poisonout Snakes of the World 


































ji 6 


'^ n 

o . 

- .9 












Mloruroides euryxnutlius. 

Micniriis fulvius 














Agkistrodou contortrix 

A ijiscivorus 





in Ind. 



Iowa ; 









C horridus 











Iowa ; 






C- niitcbellii 


C niolossus 


C ruber 


C scutulatus 






C. tigris 

C. viridis _ _ 








C. willardi 

Sistruriis catenatus 

S. miliarius 









Tenn. ) 










Iowa ; 



Certain groups of adjoining states are here treated as units. Ttie syni 
witliin the unit. Restriction of a species to a part of a unit is indicated 

bol X indicates distribution of the species is widespread 
iippropriately (SW = Southwest, etc.). 


North Amen'co 


Xorth America has a comj)aratively small but 
■well-known poisonous snake fauna. It includes 
2 species of coral snakes, the closely related cop- 
perhead and cottonmouth, and 15 species of rat- 
tlesnakes. Most of tliese have been further di- 
vided into subspecies so that some 39 named forms 
are recognized. 

Poisonous snakes liave been reported from all 
mainland states except Alaska, although they 
have been exterminated in Maine. Only the cop- 
perhead and 3 species of rattlesnakes have really 
extensive ranges. Poisonous snakes in Canada 
are restricted to comparatively small sections of 
southern British Columbia. Alberta, Saskatche- 
wan, and Ontario. 

Rattlesnakes ai'e known from elevations u)) to 
11,000 feet in the southern Sierra Xevada of 
California, to about 8,000 feet on dry, rocky 
slopes in IVIontana, and to the tops of the highest 
mountains in the southern Appalachians. In 
spite of this, poisonous snakes are rare in high 
mountains, in northern evergreen forests, and in 
heavily farmed or urban industrial areas. 

Some species survive miexpectedly well in sub- 
urban areas, especially in the southern United 
States. Areas with unusually large populations 
of poisonous .snakes include parts of the Great 
Plains (rattlesnakes), the lower Mississippi 

Valley and Gulf Coast (rattlesnakes and cotton- 
mouths), and the southern Appalachians (rattle- 
snakes and copperheads). 

Snakebite is by no means rare in the southern 
and western United States. Incidence is highest 
in children in the 5 to 15 year age group, and 
most bites are sustained close to home whether 
in rural or suburban areas. Many bites result 
from deliberate handling of venomous snakes. 
Since 1950, there have been no more than 10 to 25 
deaths annuallv in the United States. 

Arctic Oe t a n 

Map 2. — Section 1, North America. 


1. A. Loreal pit absent (see lig. G) 2 

B. Loreal pit present (see fig. 4) 5 

2. A. Eed, black and yellow or white rings encircle the body 3 

B. Ring markings not as above NP* 

3. A. Red and yellow or Mhite body rings in contact; end of 

snout black 4 

B. Red and black rings in contact ; end of snout red, white, 

yellow or black XP 

4. A. Yellow headband followed by black ring Micnirus 

B. Yellow headband followed by red ring Micnwoides 

5. A. Tail ends in rattle _" 6 

B. Xo rattle on tail AgUstrodon 

6. A. Xine large shields on crown Si-'itrunt.s 

B. Crown shields small or fragmented into scales Ci'otalus 

♦ NP = Nonpolsonous 


Poisonous Snakts of tho Wot Id 


ELAPIDAE: Genui Micruroides Schmidt, 1928. 
Ari/.oim ronil siiiiko. 

A silicic s|H'<it's. .1/. iiirysiiiilhiin ( Kciiiilcott ). Is rec- 
ociilzod. It is round III thi> soiitliwcstcrii I'liitod States 
iiiul uortliwcstiTii Mexico. It is ii small stiakc but is 
I'uiisidcrt'd daiiKtTous (sec p. r>2). 

Definition: Mead small, not disliiKl finm nccU ; snout 
rounded, no distinct caiitlius. Hody slender and elong- 
ate, not tapered; tail short. 

Kyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual !' on the crown. Lati'rally, 
nasal in contact with single preocular. Venlrally, men- 
tal .separated from anterior chin shields hy first infrala- 

Hody s<ales : Dorsal sinoodi. in l.""! nonohliqup rows 
throughout body. Ventrals -O^'lVl; anal plate divided; 
siilicaudals paired, H)-.'?2. 

Maxillary teeth : Two relatively large tubular fangs 
followed, after an interspace, by 1-2 small teeth. 

licmarks : Differs from nonpoisonous snakes as Mi- 
crurus does; differs from Micrurus in the solid black 
head color which ends in a straight line across the 
parietals, and in the teeth behind the fangs. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Micrurus Wagler, 1824. 
Amefican coriil snakes. 

About 40 species are currently recognized. They 
range from North Carolina to Texas, and from Coahuila 
and Sonora, Mexico, southward through Central and 
South America to Bolivia and Argentina. Most are 
small species but some attain lengths in excess of 4 feet. 
All are dangerous. 

Definition: Head small, not distinct from neck; snout 
rounded, no distinct canthus. Body elongate, slender, 
not tapered ; tail short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
nasal in contact with single preocular. Ventrally, men- 
tal separated from anterior chin shields by first in- 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 1.5 nonoblique rows 
throughout body. Ventrals 177-412 ; anal plate divided 
or entire; subcaudals 16-62, usually paired but more 
than 50 percent single in some species. 

Maxillary teeth : Two relatively large tubular fangs 
with indistinct grooves ; no other teeth on bone. 

Remarks : Nearly all coral snakes have color patterns 
made up of complete rings of yellow (or white), black, 
and usually red. 

Eastern Coral Snake, Micrurus fulviui (Linna- 

Identification : Head small ; body slender with little 
taper ; tail short ; scales smooth with high gloss. 

End of snout black followed by broad yellow band 

across base ut head iiikI wide, black, neck ring. Hody 
completely encircled hy black, yellow, and red rings — 
the red and yrllow rinn-i tourhinf/. If the red and 
black rings touch each oilier, if the end of tin? snout l.s 
red, whitish, or speckle<l, and if the colors fall lo en- 
circle the br)(ly, llie snake Is not a North American coral 
snake (see plate II. lig. .">). These rulen arc not neecn- 
mrily true in tmiiieal America. In the small Arizona 
coral snake ( Micniriiidcn eiirysantliiin) the yellow head 
band is followed hy a wide red neck ring (see flg. 25). 

.\verage length '_'.'{ to .'{2 inches; maximum 47 inches. 

DiKlritiution : Soudiern Cnited States from coastal 
North Carolina to west Texas and into northeastern 
Mexico at low elevations. Inhabits grassland and dry 
open woods; soiiieliines found along streams; occasion- 
ally in suburban areas. 

Ilemarkx: Very secretive but sometimes found in 
the open during early or midmorning. Rather quiik in 
its movements. When res( rained il elevates the tail 
with the tip slightly curled and freijuently tries to bite. 

Venom of (his coral snake is very toxic but small in 
(luantity. .Many biles seem to he ineffective. In a 
recently reported .series of 20 cases, 10 showed little 
or no evidence of poi.soning. However, of 6 that showed 
definite signs of systemic envenomation, 4 died. A species 
specific antivenin soon will be available from Wyeth 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Agfeisfrodon Beaovois, 1799. 

Moccasins and Asian pit vipers. 

Twelve species are recognized. Three of these are in 
North and Central America ; the others are in Asia, 
with one species, A. halys (Pallas) ranging westward 
to southeastern Europe. The American copperhead (A. 
eontortrix) and the Eurasian niamushi and its relatives 
(A. halys) seldom inflict a serious bite but A. acutus 
and A. rhodostoina of southeastern Asia, as well as the 
cottonmouth {A. piscivorus) of the southeastern United 
States, are dangerous species. 

Definition : Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck; a sharply-distinguished canthus. Body 
cylindrical or dei)ressed, tapered, moderately stout to 
.stout ; tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown in most 
species ; internasals and prefrontals broken up Into 
small scales in some Asian forms ; a pointed nasal ap- 
pendage in some. Laterally, loreal pit separated from 
labials or its anterior border formed by second supra- 
labial. Loreal scale present or absent. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth (in A. rhodostoma 
only) or keeled, with apical pits, in 17-27 nonoblique 
rows. Ventrals 12.5-174 ; subcaudals single anteriorly 
or paired throughout, 21-68. 

American Copperhead, Aqlc'istrodon eontortrix 

Identification: Head triangular; body moderately 
stout ; facial pit present ; pupil elliptical ; most of sub- 
caudals undivided. 


Norfh America 

Pinkish-buff, russet, or orange brown with dark brown 
to reddisli trossbands ; belly pinkish white with large 
dark spots or mottling ; top of head yellowish to cop- 
pery-red ; sides paler ; end of tail yellow in young, 
black to dark greenish or brown in adult. The cross- 
bands are narrow in the center of the back and wide 
on the sides in eastern specimens, only slightly nar- 
rowed in western ones (see plate I, fig. 5; plate III. 
fig. 6; plate IV. fig. 1). 

Average length 2 to 3 feet ; maximum slightly over 4 
feet ; males larger than females. 

Distribution: The eastern United States (Mas.sachu- 
setts to Kansas and southward exclusive of peninsular 
Florida), westward into trans-Pecos, Texas. Frequents 
wooded, hilly country in the north and west ; lowlands 
in the south ; sometimes plentiful in well populated 

Remarks : Nocturnal in warm weather, diurnal in 
cool. In rocky coiuitry frequently hibernates in ledges 
with rattlesnakes and various nonpoisonous species. 
Usually remains coiled and quiet unless closely ap- 
proached or touched ; vibrates tail when angry ; often 
seems reluctant to strike, but some individuals are very 

Copperheads account for the great majority of snake 
bites seen in the eastern United Slates, exclusive of 
Florida and the Mississippi delta. Fatalities are almost 

Cottonmoufh, Af/l-isfrodou pmcivorii^ (Lace- 
peile ) . 

Idcntifiration : A pit viper related to the copperhead 
but very widely confused with nonpoisonous semiaquatic 
snakes of the genus Natrix. For Identification of dead 
specimens, note i)resence of facial pit, elliptical pupil, 
undivided suhcaudals — all features lacking in non- 
poisonous snakes within the range of the cottonniouth. 
For field identification, head of cottonmo\ith is decidedly 
heavier and eyes less prominent than in the harmless 
water snakes. Behavior further distinguishes it (see 
Remarks ) . 

Olive or brown with wide blackish crosstKinds often 

FiGUKE 11. — Cottonmouth. Af/kistrnilon piscivoriis. 
Photo by Isabelle Hunt Conant. (See also plate I. 
fig. 6; plate III, fig. •">) 

enclosing lighter centers ; belly is yellow and heavily 
marbled with black or dark gray; dark stripes behind 
eye ; end of tail black. Large snakes, especially in the 
western part of the range, may he almost uniformly 
black above. Young have a more vivid patter.n and a 
yellowish tail. 

Average length 30 to 4.5 inches: maximum about C 

Distribution : Southeastern Virginia through south- 
ern lowlands and up Mississippi valley to southern Il- 
linois : west to central Texas, the southern third of 
Missouri, and extreme southeastern Kansas. Inhabits 
swamps, shallow lakes, and sluggish streams : usually 
absent from swift, deep, cool water. 

Remarks : Often seen basking by day on logs, stones, 
or branches near water; also active at night in warm 
weather. Frequently it is a belligerent snake that does 
not try to escape but throws hack its head with mouth 
widely open showing the white interior and at the same 
time twitching or vibrating the tail. Nonpoisonous 
water snakes almost always swim or crawl away rapidly 
when alarmed. 

Bites by cottonmouths are fairly frecpient in the lower 
Mississippi Valley and along the Oulf Coast. Fatalities 
are rare, but the venom has strong proteolytic activity. 
Tissue destruction may be severe. There is no species 
specific antivenin for the cottonniouth and copperhead. 
Polyvalent Crolalid .Vntivenin (Wyeth Inc.. Philadel- 
jihia » should he u.^^tHl. 


Rattlesnakes are distinctively American ser- 
pents that can be almost always identified by 
the jointed rattle at the tip of the tail. The 
rattle is vestijrial in a single rare species found 
on an island oti' the Mexican coast. It is too 
small to be a good field identification characteris- 
tic in the pigmy rattlesnakes (Shfnints mUiar- 
ius) and in young of some other small rattle- 
snakes. Although most of the rattle can easily 
be pulled or broken off, the base or matrix usually 
remains. Rarely the entire tail tij) includiitg the 
rattle matrix may be missing as a result of in- 
jury. Xino large crown shields are seen in rattle- 
snakes of the genus Sistrurus. In the genus 
Crotalus the crown shields are more or less ex- 
tensively fragmented. The facial pit is present 
in all rattlesnakes (see fig. 4 !>. -KS). Scales are 
keeled and sul)caudals undivided. 

Species identification among rattlesnakes may 
be diiRcult, !)ut it is often important. The 
venoms show significant differences that can in- 
fluence treatment and prognosis. Polyvalent 
Crotalid Antivenin ("Wyeth, Inc., Philadelphia) 


Poisonoui Snak»t of the World 

IS N|i««cilic I'tir ll(i> MMioiiis of tlio I'lislern ami 
wi'sU'i'ii (liumoinllmfks {('rotiihis (ulamnntcHi^ and 
('. iifroj-). It is I'llVctive to sniiu' il('<;i'iH' uf^ainst 
all lattlosnako vcnoins. 

'riu> larjit-r sin'cii-s of rattlosuaki's fcfd piin 
cipally ii|iui) small iiiainiiiais; llio smaller species 
mostly upon lizards. All iiittli-snidios uro livc- 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Crofalus Linnaeus, 1758. 

Genus Crotalus Linnaeus, 1758. Rattlesnakes. 

Alioiit 2r> siwcics uf riittlfsiiiiki's ari' riini'iilly recog- 
iii/.i-d. .Most spt'i-ios arc in tlu> .soiitli western I'liited 
States ami nurtlu'i'ii Mexico. One si)eii,-s (C. duriasus) 
rnnses soutliwanl into soutliern South America, two are 
found east of tlie Mississippi River, and two as far 
nortli as Canada. .V few of the very snuill species, and 
small individuals of larKe species (less than 2 feet) 
may otTcr little daniicr. but most species do; some are 
hifilily dangerous. 

Di/inilioii : Head liioad, very distinct from narrow 
neclc, canthus distinct to absent. Body cylindrical, de- 
pressed, or slightly compressed, moderately .slender to 
stout; tail short with a horny segmented rattle. 

Eyes small: pupils vertically elliptical. 

Figure 12. — Head of Eastern Diamoiidback Kattlesn.ike, 
CrotaliiK fiflanimitrii.i, showing absence of many crown 
scutes. Drawing by Lloyd Sandford. 

Head scales : Supraoculars present, a pair of iiiterna- 
sals often distinct, occasionally a pair of prefrontals; 
enlarged canthal scales often present ; other parts of 
crown covered with small scales. Laterally, eye sepa- 
rated from supralabials by 1-5 rows of small scales. 

Bod.v scales : Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, in 
19-.3.3 nonoblique rows at midbody. Ventrals 1.32-206; 
subcaudals 13— t."i. all single or with some terminal ones 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, ('ailiihis mlu- 
iiiiin/riis Hcau\()i>. 

lilinliflratiiiit : Within its niiigc the only large rattle- 
snake with distinct, diagonal, whitish strljies on sldo of 
bead; tall more or lesH Indistinctly ringed. 

Olive green to dark brown with central .series of 
darker diamond shaped blolches each with a soniewliat 
lighter center and a distinct cream oi- ycllnw edge; belly 
cream heavily clouded with gray. 

Average Icnutli .3'j to .">'/• feet; mMxinmiii s feet. 

Figure 13. — Eastern Diamondba<k Rattlesnake, CrotahiH 
adainoitcH.i. Photo by Isabelle Hunt Conant. 

Dislrihiilioii : t'oastal lowlands from North Carolina 
through Florida to extreme eastern Louisiana. Found 
in dry pine woods, palmetto thickets, old fields. How- 
ever, may enter w;iter. either fresh or salt. 

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, CrofaJus atrox 
Baird tind Girard. 

Idrntifiratioii : Two light, diagonal stripes on side of 
head, posterior one extending to angle of mouth; tail 
distinctly ringed with black and gray or white, tlie black 
rings as wide as or wider than the pale ones ; scales 

Figure 14. — Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Cro- 
talus atrox. Photo courtesy Scientific American. 
(See also plate III, fig. 2). 


Norih America 

between supraoculars small ; two scales between nasals 
and in contact with rostral. 

General coloration buff, gray, brown, or reddish with 
diamonds that are less clear-cut, often appearing dusty 
with indistinct light edges ; belly cream to pinkish buff 
sometimes clouded with gray. 

Average length 3 to 5i/i> feet ; maximum 7 feet. 

Distrihiition: Central Arkansas to southeastern Cali- 
fornia southward through most of Texas into Mexico 
to northern Veracruz and southern Sonora with an 
isolated population in Oaxaca. Inhabits many types of 
terrain from dry, sjjarsely wooded rocky hills to flat 
de.sert and coastal .sand dunes. Often found in agri- 
cultural land and near towns. Generally avoids dense 
forest, swamps, and elevations above 5000 feet in the 
United States but may be found up to 8,000 feet in 

Red Diamond Rattlesnake, C'rofulns nihcr ('()i>e. 

Ideiitiflcatioti : Separated from the western diamond- 
back only by its more reddish color and minor details 
of scalation (usually 29 rather than 2.'i scale rows at 
midbody ; first lower labial usually divided in nili< r. un- 
divided in alrox). 

Average length 40 to 50 inches: maximum about ."> feet. 







Figure 15. — Red Diamond Halllesnake, Cralaliis nihir. 
Photo by Isabelle Hiuit Conant. 

lUslriliKtioii : Baja ('aUt(U'nia and .southwestern Cali- 
fornia ; this species and C. atrnx meet only in a narrow 
zone in extreme northeastern Baja California and ad- 
jacent California. Red diamond rattlesnakes are largely 
confined to rocky hillsides with scrubby vegetation but 
at no great elevation. 

Remarks: These 3 large rattlesnakes, the red dia- 
mond, eastern diamondback, and western diamondback. 
are quite similar in aiipearance but differ somewhat in 
behavior. The red diamond rattler is the most diurnal 
of the group, although all may be active by day during 
cooler times of the year. Western diamondbacks in the 
northern part of tlieir range aggregate in large num- 
bers to hibernate — a trait seen in some other species of 
rattlesnakes as well. 

Temperament in tlie group shows much individual 
variation. Generally the red diamond rattler is the 
mildest mannered, the western diamondback the most 
irritable. All may defend themselves with great vigor. 
They sometimes raise the head and a loop <if the neck 

well above their coils to gain elevation in striking. All 
may occasionally strike without rattling. The red dia- 
mond rattler often hisses loudly. 

These snakes have long fangs and copious venom ; the 
bite of an adult of any of the 3 is a serious matter. 
The eastern and western diamondbacks cause most 
of the snakebite fatalities in the I'nited States. Venom 
of the red diamond ratlesnake is definitely less toxic and 
fatalities from its bite are rare. 

Mojove Rattlesnake, Ciotdhis xoitfiihifit-s (Kenni- 
col 1 ) . 

Idcntificutioii : Very similar to the western diamond- 
back and prairie rattlesnakes in pattern and general 
aiipearance. Scales on top of head between and anterior 
to eyes large, resembling shields of most snakes: dark 
rings on tail much narrower than light spaces between 
them; general color often greenish or olive. 

Average length 30 to 40 inches : maximum about 4 

FiGUBE IC. — Mojave Rattlesnake. Cnitahift m-idtihitiis. 
Photo bv Isabelle Hunt Conant. 

DistrihKtiiiii : West Texas norlbwesi ward to the Mo- 
jave Desert of California and southeastward on the 
Mexican highland. Occurs very largely in desert and 
prairie-desert transition zone. Decidedly a lowland 
snake in the northern part of its range: frerpients arid 
mountain country in Mexico. 

RciiKirkti: Habits much like those of the western 
diamondback li\U not generally so bad lemjiered. 

It is important to recognize the Mojave rattlesnake, 
for its venom is more toxic and has a more marked 
effect on respiration than that of any other North 
American rattlesnake. Bites by this species oftentimes 
show little local reaction and may not be considered 
serious until severe resi)iratory difliculty supervenes. 

Rattlesnakes of the Crotahi^ rirhli-i complex 
are widespread and sometimes difficult to differ- 
entiate. However, over a largje part of their 
range they are the only rattlesnakes present. 
The following characteristics are helpful in iden- 
tification : 

1. Light diagonal stripes on side of head, if 
present, extend to behind angle of mouth; 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 

'2. Tiiil niiiy Ihi uImhiI Imlf diirk dt riiif^t-il. II' 
riii;;»Ml, llio ll^jlit color is lliiit of tlio liody; 

•">. I'liltiTM nsiiiilly of ('rossl)!iiiils or spots ral licf 
iliiiii (liitiiioiuls; 

4. I'suiilly 4 scnies iK'twi-cii nasals ainl in con 
tact Willi rostral. 

Prairie Rattlesnake, ( rofn/its v. v'uidis (Kadncs- 

KuuiRE 17. I'l-Mii'ii' KmI llcsiKiUc. Ciiildliis V. riridi.f. 
l'huti> l.y I,. .M. (Set- also jilalf III. tif?. 3.) 

Ideiilificatinii : I-if;lit diagonal si ripe bcliiiul eye nar- 
row ; Imdy lilolclies rectangular, usually with narrow 
lisht eilges : fiiinincl eolor often greenish-gray or olive- 

Average length 3 to 4 feet; niaxiniuni a little under 
."> feet : males larger than females. 

Distribiitinti : South Dakota, Xeliraska. and Kansas 
west to about the Continental Divide; north into .south- 
ern Canada, .south into extreme northern Mexico. Oc- 
curs in dry grassland and rocky hills: on open rocky 
mountain slopes to at least 0,000 feet. 

Great Basin Rattlesnake, C r<if((hts r. hiloxus Klatl- 


Iili iili/lrdtiiiii : l.lglil stripe heliind eyes wider; pal- 
lern of croHsbunds usually wilhout Hgbl cilgeH : ginund 
color bulT rir drab yellow. 

.\venige lenglh 'Jl l<> 3.'i Inches; nja\ljiinjji .'>() iricheH. 

Ili.iliiliiitiiiii : Weslcrn llah, soulhcra Idaho, Nevada, 
soulbcaslein (ircgon. ['"reipienls arid (o seminrld rocky 

Pacific Rattlesnake, ('rohiliix r. (ircf/dims TTol- 

Iiliiiti/icdtiiin: I.igbl stripe behind eye wide, often 
indistiiHi; |iatlcrn of dianxinds or hexagonal blotches; 
ground inliir dark gray, olive (Pi' brown, ('riitfiliin r, 
li<llrri. a southern subspecies, differs from iir(!/iiiiiin only 
ia minor iletails. 

Average length ;'. to I feet; m;i\iniiiiii a lilllc over fi 

DistriliiiliDii : Soutbci-ii Hrjtish Coliinibia, western 
Washington, most of Oregon and the northern two- 
thirds of California, southern California niostl.v west of 


PiGUKE 10. — Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalii.s viri- 
(lis htlhri. Photo by Findlay E. Russell. 


FiGUKE 18. — Great ISasin Rattlesmike. Cruldhia riridin 
liitosus. Photo by New York Zoological Society. 

the coast range, the northern half of Baja California. 
(Composite range for v. uniiin^iix and r. lullcfi ) . Ab- 
sent from the humid Pacitic Northwest and largely 
confined to seniiarid regions in Washington and Oregon. 
Common over much of California from sea level to 
11,000 feet but avoids extreme desert conditions. May 
be plentiful in agricultural districts and suburbs. 

Roiiarks : Rattlesnakes of the CrotaUis viriiUx group 
are largely diurnal, although they avoid intense light 
and heat. In the northern part of their range they 
assemble in great numbers to hibernate. 

In disposition these snakes are. on the average, less 
irritable than diamondbacks and less likely to make a 
determined defense. A characteristic defensive gesture 
is to protrude the tongue as far as possible and wave 
it slowly up aiul down. 

Bites from rattlesnakes of the riridis group are rela- 
tively common. There is evidence that venom of the 
Pacific subspecies orcganus and hrJJvri is more toxic 
than that of eastern subspecies. Numbness and prick- 


Norfh America 

ling sensations about tlio moutli are rather common; 
local symptiims may not be proportionately severe. 
Bites of the small Great Basin and Colorado Plateau 
subspecies rarely are dangerous. 

Sidewinder, C'rofuh/s cerastes Hallowell. 

Idciiliftratioii : Presence of an elevated hornlike scale 
above the eye identities this rattlesnake. 

Cream, tan, gray, light l)ro\vn or piid;ish with rows of 
darker spots; tail ringed. 

Average length 18 to 25 inches; maximum about 30 
inches ; females .slightly larger than males. 

Diatrihution: Deserts of southea.stern California and 
■southern Nevada .southward through western Arizona 
into adjacent Sonora and Baja California. Most com- 
mon in sandy flats and dunes with sparse vegetation ; 
sometimes on arid rocky hillsides. 

HciiKiiku: Sidewinders often rest during the day 
with part of their body buried under sand and are 
active at night. 'I'lie sidewinding type of motion, diffi- 
cult to describe b\il imnnslakable when .seen, is char- 
acteristic of this snake and some heavy-bodied sand 
vipers of Africa and Asia. It is used occasionally by 
some other desert snakes including a few other species 
of rattlesnakes. The name sidewinder is also applied 
incorrectly to other kinds of small rattlesnakes in the 
southwestern fnilcd States. 

more or less suffused with dark gray. Specimens from 
U[)land areas of the eastern United States are sometimes 
almost uniforndy black above. 

Average length 3 to 4 feet; maximum a little over 
G feet. 

FloiRF. 21. — Timlicr Halllesnake. Crntnlus lioiridu.f. 
Photo by New V<irk Zoidogical Society. (See also 
plate III, lig. 4.1 

^^ •<*** .^9 Tj: "^ '•"? .■ 

Figure 20. — Sidewinder. CrntuJiis n-nixli: 
New' York Zoological Society. 



The disposition of the sidewinder is abo\it the same 
as that of the viriilis group of rattlesnakes. Bites, 
formerly quite unusual, have become more frequent with 
the growing use of desert ai'eas for residential and 
recreational purposes. Fatalities from biles are few 
because the (|u;uitily of venom is small. 

Timber Rattlesnake, (' ratal iik horrid iis I^innaeus. 

Identiflcaiio)! : Tlie only rattlesnake of the eastern 
United States showing the combination of small scales 
between the eyes, no pronnnent light stripes on the side 
of the bead and. in adult snakes, a black tail. 

Yellow, gray, buff, or pale brown with sooty black 
crossbands or chevrons narrowly edged with pale yellow 
or white; often an amber, pinkish or rusty stripe down 
the middle of the back ; belly cream t<i pinkish white 

DislrihiiliDii : New England to the Florida panhandle, 
west to central Tex.-is. north in the Mississippi Valley to 
southeastern .Minnesota. Found in wooded rocky hills 
in llie northern part of tlic range, swamps and lowland 
fcM'est in the south. 

Ht marks: Tindier rattlesnakes congregate in num- 
bers to bask and hibernate in rocky liluffs and ledges — 
n habit whleli lias greatly facilitated their extermination 
in populous areas. They are secretive aiul partly noc- 
turnal during hot weather. 

Ralber mild tempered, they often do a good deal of 
jirelindnary rattling and feinting before striking. This 
rattlesnake and I be cojiperhead are used in rituals by 
the snake-bandling cults of the southern mountains. 
Bites among the cullists are fairly frequent, and no 
medical care is given as a rule. At least 20 fatalities 
have ociurrcd among these snake handlers. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Sistrurus Gorman, 1883. 
I'ioiiiy Rattlesnakes. 

Three species are recoginzed ; two are in the eastern 
and central UuIIimI Slates. Hie other in the southern 
part of the Mexican plateau. None is considered espe- 
cially dangerous, although S. cutciiiitiis is reported to 
sometimes cause death in children. 

Drfiititioii : Head broad, very dislimt from narrow- 
neck ; canthus obtuse to acute. Body cylindrical, ta- 
pered, slender to moderately stout ; tail short, ternunat- 
ing in a relativel.v small horn.v, segmented rattle. 

Eyes small to moderate in size; pupils vertically ellip- 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 

lloitil si'iili's : Tin- II lyiilriil sciilt's on llii- <t(i\vii. 
I.att'riilly, iiasiit In <-iiii(a<'C willi ii|>|iim' |ii'<Mii'iiliir or scpa- 
ralt'«l from It liy lort-al sralo; i-yo st'paialril (v>n\ siipni- 
lablal.i liy 1 :t rows of siiiall scali's. 

Kiia KK L'"_'. Iloail of .MassasaUfja. Sislriini.'< ciiliiiiUus. 
sliowins; aiip»'araiu(> of large crown scutes cliaracter- 
istic of this genus. Drawing by Lloyd Sandford. 

Body scales : Dorsals strongly keeled, with apical 
pits, in ll)-27 nonol>li(iiie rows at midbody. fewer an- 
teriorly and posteriorly. Ventrals 122-lGO ; subcaudals 
1!>-.S!). all entire or a few posterior ones paired. 

l{imarkii: Brattstroni (1004) suggested that tbo 
genus SiKtniriis was not recognizable, and that the 3 
included si)ecies should be placed with the other rattle- 
snakes in the genus Cnitahis. 

Pigmy Rattlesnake, Sl.sf/-iinis miliariua (Lin- 

Idcntifiratioii : This species and the Massasauga (S. 
ratcnatus) are the only United States rattlesnakes with 
the crown covered by large .shields. In this species the 
tail is relatively long and slender, terminating in a tiny 
rattle that may be ditficult to see under field conditions. 

Ground color light gray, tan, reddish-orange or dark 
gray often with an orange or rusty midline stripe ; 5 
rows of sooty spots or short dark crossbars ; belly white 
heavily clouded and spotted with black ; tail barred. 

Average length 1.") to 22 inches ; maximum 31 inches. 

from .Vorlli Carolina lo ciisl Texas an<l iiorlh lo Houlh- 
ern Missouri. KriMpniil s pirjc woniN mid innr- 
slies In llie .soulhern pail of llic niiigc; low rocky 
wooded hills In northwest. 

Uimarhs : The rattle of these snakes Is anilililc oidy 
at very close range They are rather alert and had 
tempered. 'I'lic' liilc ran he followed by severe pain 
and eMensivr swelling even when tlic snake is a small 
ni\{- only (I 1(1 '.I incbes long. .No well docuiiicnled fatal 
ca'^c is nil i-cci)i-(l, lioucvcr. 

Massasauga Rattlesnake, S/s//'in'iifi rnlcnuhis 

{ Ivaliiu'S(|iic). 

Iili nlijiniliiiii : The large shields of the crown dis- 
tinguish this species from all other I'nited States rattle- 
snakes excejit the jiigmy rattlesnake. It is best differ- 
entiated from that species by the shorter tail and well 
developed rattle. Ranges of the two overlap only in 
small areas of Texas and Oklahoma. 

Ground color gray, tan. buff or yellowish with rows 
of dark gray, brown or black spots often with narrow 
light edges: belly marbled with dark gray, black and 
white; tail barred. Specimens from the northeastern 
part of the range sometimes are uniformly black when 

Average length IS to 28 inches: maximum 37 inches; 
males larger than females. 


Figure 23. — Pigmy Rattlesnake. Sistninif: nuliariiix. 
Photo liy Xew York Zoological Society. 

Disfrihiifinn : The southern lowlands and iiiedmont 

PiGUUE 24. — Massasauga, Sistnini.-i cutcnutun. Photo by 
New York Zoological Society. (See also plate I. fig. 

DistrihiilioH : The Great Lakes region southwestward 
to extreme southeastern Arizona and southern Texas ; 
presumably in adjacent northern Mexico. Inhabits bogs 
and marshes in the northeast, prairie in the west and 

Remarks : Highly secretive snakes usually remaining 
quiet or seeking to escape when encountered but biting 
readily when angered. The venom is highly toxic for 
experimental animals, and there have been recent well 
authenticated cases of fatal bites in man. 


North America 


CONANT, Roger 1958. A Field Guide to Rep- 
tiles and Amphibians of the United States 
and Canada East of the 100th Meridian. 
Houghton Mifflin : Boston, xiii + 836 pp., pis. 
1-10 (some color), figs. 1-62, Maps 1-248. 

FITCH, Henry S. 1960. Autecology of the 
Copperhead. I'liiv. Kansas Publ. Mus. Xat. 
Hist., vol. 13, pp. 85-288, pis. 13-20. figs. 
1-26, tables 1-26. 

KLAUBER, LAURENCE M. 1956. Rattle- 
snakes: Their Habits, Life Histories, and In- 
fluence on Mankind. Univ. of California 

Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles. Vol. I, 
xxix + 1-708 pp., figs., tables, maps, frontis. 
(color). Vol. II, xvii + 709-1476 pp., figs., 
tables, frontis., (color). 

STEBBIXS, Robert C. 1954. Amphibians and 
Reptiles of Western Xorth America. Mc- 
Graw-Hill : Xew York, xxii -I- 1-528 pp., pis. 

WRIGHT. Albert II. and Anna A. AVRIGHT 
1957. Handbook of Snakes of the L'nited 
States and Canada. Comstock : Ithaca, X.Y., 
2 vols., 1105 pp., 305 figs., 70 maps. 



Poisonous Snakas of iho Work/ 


Section 2 

Definition of the Region: 
All of Mexico. British Hotuluras. Guatemala. El Salvador, Honduras. Costa 
Rica, and Pantima. The ishinds just offshore, but not the islands of the West 
Indies, are included. 



Map of the region 49 

introduction 49 

Distribution Chart 48, 50 

Key to Genera 51 


Micruroides 52 

Micrurus 52 


A(/ki-sfrodon 53 

Bothrops 54 

Crofalus 55 

Lachesis 56 

Slstrurus 57 

References 57 


Poisonous Snakts of th» World 


i X w i 

1 1 — 1 — T — T ; ; ' " 1 ; ; 1 ' ; ; 


>^ i i 

y \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \yx \ \ \ y \ \ \yyy \yyy 


\x \ \ 

i i 1 i i i i i i i >< K i i i y y \ \ \x y \ \x =■■ y^ 


i^iiii|iiii«^iKi X!^iiiXklii>^X(^ 

jopuAic^ 13 

1 i i 1 1 i i i 1 i i X i i i yy \ \ \yy \ \'- -y 


] \ \ \y, \a \ \y, \ \ \ \w [ai \ \ \ y, y, \x \y^ i^ \ \y, y, >i 

SEJnpuoH fl 

\x \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \x \ \ \ X X j 1 '^^ =- 1 1 1 i X 


^ 1 \^ y. H ^W^H^^cc MM y^ y,^w x X m ojHm^ 


Micruroides euryxanthus 

Micrurus alleni 

M. ancoralis 

M. bernadi 

M. clarki 

M. diastema 

M. dissoleucus 

M. distans 

M. elegans 

M. epliippifer 

M. fitzingeri 

M. fulvius 

M. laticollaris 

M. latifasciatus 

M. mipartitus 

M. nigrocinctus 

M. uuchalis 

M. ruatanus 

M. Stewart! 


Agkistrodon bllineatus 

Bothrops atrox 

B. barbouri 

B. bicolor 

B. duuni 

B. gddmanni 

B. lausbergii 

B. lateralis 

B. melanurus 

B. nasutus 

B. nigroviridis 

B. nummifer 


Mexico and Central America 


The poisonous snakes of northern Mexico and 
of tlie Mexican plateau southward to ^fexico City 
are very similar to those of the United States. 
Tliese liinfh and arid rep;ions are inhabited mainly 
(speaking in teiins of poisonous snakes) by vari- 
ous species of rattlesnakes. However, the Ari- 
zona coral snake (MJcniroides eurj/.rrnifhiix) also 
is found along the northern border of the western 
states of Chihuiduui, Sinaloa, and Sonera, and the 
coral snake, Micriiriix ffzingeri. is found in the 

As one descends from the plateau to the coastal 
plain, however, even as far north as Tamaulii)as 
and Xayarit, a strange tropical snake fauiux is 
found. Included in this are many kinds of coral 
snakes, the cascabel (tro])ical rattlesnake), Crotn- 
Juft dur/s.siis. ami various members of the Ameri- 
can lanceheads, the genus Bothropx. 

The coral snakes are a negligible source of 
danger although they are highly venomous and 
the case fatality rate is high (approaching 50 per- 
cent). Because they are such secretive animals, 
however, they are seldom encountered. Almost 
every coral snake bite is inflicted on a person that 
is attempting to catch or kill the reptile. If jieo- 
ple would but leave the bright -coloi-ed snakes 
with red, black, and yellow (or whitish) rings 
alone, this group would otl'er little danger. It is 
the absence of a broad head and vertically ellipti- 
cal pupils (characteristic of pit vipers) that 
causes the unknowledgeable man to mistake a 
coral snake for a nonvenomous species. 

The other poisonous species are all pit vipers 
and are easily identified by the loreal pit, the 
broad head, eyes with vertical pupils, and the 
rough-scaled body. Most of the species of rattle- 
snakes are northern and western in distribution. 
Those along the Mexican-United States border 
are the same as those which occur in the United 

However, the cascabel {Crofahis durissus) 
ranges through the grasslands and other dry and 
open areas of the tropical lowlands throughout 
the region as far north as southern Tamaulipas. 
It attains a length of 6 feet and has a large store 
of a vei-y toxic venom. Apj)arently, too, its 
venom does not cause the formation of antibodies 
in horses to the extent that most venoms do ; and, 

therefore, the antivenin is only weakly etfective. 
This makes it one of the most dangei"ous snakes 
of the region and one of the most dangerous 
snakes on earth. 

Most of the bites through the tropical areas of 
Central America are inflicted by members of the 
American lanceheads {Bothi'ops). Many of the 
bites are by bush and tree vipei's such as the eye- 
lash vij^er {Botlifops schhgelU). These often 
cause serious injury to the affected part but sel- 
dom cause death. The major killer of man 
throughout the region is tlie barba amarilla, 
Bothrops afrox (often miscalled fer-de-lance). 
This 5 to 8 foot snake has an unpredictable 
temperament; it is easily irritated to strike and 
carries a large supply of powerful venom. It 
causes a large inimber of deaths each year. 

The huge bushmaster {Laches/s mufufi), on the 
other hand, which grows to a length of 9 to 12 
feet, is seldom encountered due to its purely noc- 
turnal haliits. It causes relatively few bites, and 
these appear to be no more serious than those of 
the barba amarilla. 

""" "'"" -V-- — :^^-n^ ■ 

Oy-l. , 


Map 3. — Section 2, Me.xico and Central America. 


Poiionout Snakes of the World 

































t'lUl.*UUJ J X '^ 

ui^ B)t(r) 



jopcA]es H 


scjnpuoH "g 















^ ^ 2 M z 

s 5 i 

H 5 i: SI 

s = ; 2 .5 ^ ^ 

a^ m =■ = 

7 t- 

si M 

cc m s 
0; -IJ c3 

s- Q 

z M 

I i s s i ;f - J = ' -S ™ .; So ■; -c -^ ■= -y- 2 2 

c ^• 

s; :s K p; ^ o cj 

0. .-H -i 

^ ^ "x 

at w 

O 01 

09 O 

So g 


I II £ 

sC- o 

■etc i 

«) •- . i- 

y o — c 

— ■ -3 0^ 


a; « 5 -M 


Mexico and Cenfral America 

and there is no distinctive pit on the side of the 


KEY TO GENERA In general coral snakes have rings of red, black, 

and yellow, but in some species the yellow may be 

The poisonous snakes of this region belong to almost white, in others the red is aljsent except 

two families, the I^lapidae, which is represented on tlie head and tail and one is black and red only 

by two genera of coral snakes, and the Crotalidae, (brown and white in preservative). In the tri- 

represented by five genera. The latter are easy color species tJie black rings may occur singly, 

euougli to distinguisji by the presence of the loreal separated from one another l)y rings of yellow 

pit on the side of the face (fig. 4), a broad and red. or in groups of three (triads), each triad 

head which is distinct from a narrow neck, and se])ai'ated by broader rings of red. The harmless 

tlie eye with a vertically elliptical pupil. How- mimics of tliese coraTsnakes, such as the tropical 

ever, there are several kinds of nonpoisonous forms of tiie milksnake (Lampropeltk trkingu- 

snakes that look veiy much like the coral snakes him) and tlie members of such ti'opical genera as 

and the latter have few easily visible features that Fliocercii\ tend to luive the black rings of their 

absolutely distinguish tliom. Coral snakes have patterns jxiired. They also tend to liave longer 

a relatively narrow, though often flattened, head tails than the short-tailed coral snakes. However, 

that is not distinctly set o\\ from the slender and any l)rightly-ringed snake should be treated with 

cylindrical body. The eye is small and has a respect until its identity as a harmless species is 

round puj)!! (as do most nonpoisonous snakes) confirmed. 

1. A. Dorsal scales at midbody distinctly keeled 7 

B. Dorsal scales at midbody smooth 2 

2. A. Pupil of eye vertically elliptical XP* 

B. Pupil of eye round 3 

3. A. A loreal scale present (3 scales between nostril and eye) NP 

B. No loreal scale 4 

4. A. Color pattern of body made up of alternating rings of 

red, yellow, and black (red and black in one species) 5 

B. Color pattern not in rings XP 

5. A. Black rings altei'uating with yellow; OR single, sepa- 

rated by broad bands of red and yellow; OR in 

triads separated by broad bands of red 6 

B. Black rings in pairs XP 

6. A. Entire snout and main part of head black; first band 

after yellow neck ring red Micruroides 

B. Usually some light color anterior to eyes; first band 

after red or yellow neck band black Micrunis 

T. A. A loreal pit present 8 

B. Xo loreal pit XP 

8. A. End of tail with a jointed rattle 11 

B. No rattle 9 

9. A. Crown of head with nine regular plates Agkistrodon 

B. Crown of head with small scales or irregular plates 10 

10. A. Subcaudals near tip of tail divided and elongated to 

form spiny burr (Fig. 32) Lachesis 

B. Scales near tip of tail not greatly dift'erent from those 

nearer base BotJirops 

11. A. Crown of head with nine regular plates Sisfiniru-s 

B. Crown of head with small scales or a few irregular plates Crotalus 

• NP = Nonpoisonous 


Poisonous Snakes of ihe World 


ELAPIDAE: Genus Micruroides Schmidt, 1928. 
Ari/.onii conil siiako. 

A hIiikIc siH'cUvs. .1/. iKii/xiiiilliim ( Kciiiiii cii | i , Is ri'r- 
oKiilztMl. It is t'outiil ill tli(> soiitliwcsli-ni I'liilcd Slates 
iiiiil mirlliwi'stfi'ii Mfxicd. It Is ii siimll sinikt- but Is 
coiisidcrfd tlilliKi'i'ous. 

Hrflniliiiii : Ilfiul .siiiiUI. iiol illsliiicl I'liira iit'ck : snout 
rouiuleil, no distinct cniitlius. Itmly slciidci- and I'lunj;- 
ate. not tnperod ; tail short. 

Kyes small : luipils round. 

Ht-ad .scalos: The usual on tlio crown. I.,atprall.v. 
nasal in contact with single prcncular. X'cntrally, men- 
tal separated from anterior cliin shields liv lirst infraln- 

Body scales: Dorsals snicmili, in l."i mmohlique rows 
throusrhout body. Ventrais UtMi L'ti;; anal piate divided: 
suhcaudals paired. l!»-32. 

.Maxillary teeth: Two relatively larKc tubular fangs 
folliiwed. after an interspace, by 1-2 small teeth. 

Rvmark.i: Differs from iionixiisonous snakes as Mi- 
eriirun does: differs from Micninis in the solid black 
head color wliiili ends in a slraight line across the 
parietals. and in the teeth behind the fangs. 

Arizona Coral Snake, Mlrritroifles euryxanfhiis 

Jiloitificdtiiin : The eloiifjate body, unmoditied rostral, 
and black snout distinguish this species from the simi- 
larly-colored nonpoisonous saiul snakes (Cliilomciiiscus) 
and shovel-nosed snakes [Oiinnucti.s) that inhabit the 
same region. The yellow- or white-bordered red rings 
distingiiish it from the king snakes (Lamproprllis) 
which have black-bordered red bands. Adults average 
12 to 16 inches in length ; occasional individuals attain 
a length of 20 inches. 

Snout and anterior part of head black, ending in a 
straight line across posterior tips of parietals. A light 

I yellow or wbllislip band on iicrk. followed by a red 
ring: remainrler of hnily with allermillrig rings of bliu'k 
ami red, eaih separah'd by light rings. 'I'Mil luinds al- 
lernallng black and light. 

l>istril)UlU»i : Semldesert areas from western Texas 
and western Chlhiinbua througli sonlliern New Mexleo, 
Arlxona, SurioiM. .-nid Slnaloa ; on Tiliurnn Island. 
Found at alliludes up to .".(K)0 feel (I'ortal. .Arizona I. 

I\vtiiiiil;s : This small and secretive snake Is inoffen- 
sive and very few biles have been reporled. However, 
il a highly toxic venom and should not be 
Incited c.'irelessly, 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Micrurus Wagler, 1824. 
.\iiicric;m loral snakes. 

.\lio\it JO species are currently recognized. They 
range from North Carolina to Texas, and from Mexico 
southward through Central and South America tf) 

Figure 26. — Fitzinger's Coral Snake. Mirninm fitzinf/eri 
(Jan). An unusual red, yellow, and black coral 
snake that ranges well onto the .southern part of the 
Mexican plateau. Photo by (Charles M. Bogert. 

FiorRE 2.'i. — Arizona Coral Snake. Mirnimidrs riinjxan- 
til IIS. The straight line across the ends of the parie- 
tals and the red color of the first body ring are dis- 
tinctive. Photo by Charles M. Bogert. 

Bolivia and Argentina. Most are small species but 
some attain lengths in excess of 4 feet. All are dan- 

Definition: Head small, not distinct from neck: 
snout rounded, no distinct canthus. Body elongate, 
slender, not tapered : tail short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
nasal in contact with single preocular. Ventrally, men- 
tal separated from anterior chin shields by first infrala- 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 1.5 nonoblique rows 
throughout body. Ventrais 177-412 ; anal plate divided 
or entire: suhcaudals l(>-<i2, usually paired but more 
than ~)0 percent single in some species. 

Maxillary teeth : Two relatively large tubular fangs 
with indistinct grooves ; no other teeth on bone. 


Mexico and Central America 

Remarks : Nearly all coral snakes have color pat- 
terns made up of comi)lete rings of yellow (or white), 
black, and usually red. They differ from their non- 
poisonous "mimics" in that the red color, when present, 
is usually bordered by the yellow or white ; in the non- 
poisonous kinds it is usually bordered in black. 

Atlantic Coral Snake, Micrurus diastema (Dume- 
ril, Bihroii, and Diiincril). 

Identification : A coral snake with numerous narrow 
black rings, which alternate with yellow and red rings. 
Black rings not narrowed laterally, usually complete 
below. Adults average 2 to 3 feet in length. 

Black rings narrowly edged with yellow, which is 
.sometimes absent ; red rings of approximately the same 
width ; red scales tipped with black. Black rings not 
in triads, varying from 10 in Yucatan to as many as 60 
on the body in the highlands of Guatemala. 

Ventrals 192-229 ; subcaudals S2-')~ : no supra-anal 

Distribution : Eastern Mexico southward through 
Guatemala and British Honduras to Honduras. 

RcmarliS: This remarkably variable coral snake is 
fairly constant in any one region and can usually be 
distinguished by the irregular lilack spots in the red 

Broad-banded Coral Snake, M'wnirus distans 

Identification : A coral snake with broad red bands 
and single narrow black bands. The head is mainly 
black and the lips are yellow. Adults average 2 to .•? 
feet in length; maximum length 42 1/4 inches. 

The body color is mainly red. the red scales not black- 
tipped. There are 11-17 black rings on tlie body, the 
rings on the sides may be slightly narrower, and .3-0 
black rings on the tail. The crown of the head is black 
back to the level of the eyes, but the lips are yellow 
(or white) and there are spots of the light color on the 

Ventrals 208-233 ; subcaudals 3S-.")2. 

Distribution : Western Mexico from Sonora to Guer- 

Remarks: This c(U-al snake has a remarkable harm- 
less mimic which inhabits the same region. The neo- 
tropical milksnake, Lanipmpettis triangiiliim nelsoni 
Blanchard, has the same broad red bands and narrow 
black bands. However, as in most coral snake mimics, 
the black bands occur in pairs — an occurrence never 
found in coral snakes. 

Black-ringed Coral Snake, Mtrnirus iniparfifus 
(Diinieril, Bibroit, and Dumeril). 

Identification : A coral snake with broad black rings 
and numerous narrow white, yellow, or red (in Central 
America ) rings between. Adults average about 24 In- 
ches in length : occasional individuals may exceed 3 

Snout black, a broad red baud passing just behind 
eye and covering posterior part of head. Body with 
34-81 black rings separated by narrow, (usually) yellow 
rings ; tail with 3-."» black rings and 2-."> red rings. 

Ventrals 197-310: subcaudals 26-34. 

Distrihutiiin: Rain forest areas from Nicaragua to 
northern Venezuela and Peru. 

Remarks: The unusual coloration of this coral snake, 
a red ring on the head and 2-5 others on the tail, is 

Black-banded Coral Snake, Micrurus nigrocinctus 

Identification : A coral snake with a black snout and 
broad red bands alternating with single uniform black 
rings, each separated from the other with relatively 
narrow yellow or whitish rings. Adults average 2 to 3 
feet in length ; occasional individuals may attain lengths 
of over 4 feet. 

One of the coral snakes with 12-20 single black rings 
on the body (3-7 on tail) which are narrowly edged 
with yellow or whitish. Alternating red rings usually 
nuich broader than black, but relative amounts of black, 
yellow and red vary geographically. Snout black with 
darker color extending back over frontal area in a 
l)oint. A broad yellow band over posterior part of head 
and a black ring on neck. Scales of red area often 
tipped with black. 

Ventrals 188-240; subcaudals 31-00. Males have su- 
I)ra-anal tubercles. 

Distribution: Lowland rain forest areas (up to an 
altitude of about 4.000 feet) from southern Mexico 
I Guerrero) southward through Central America to 
northwestern Colombia. This is one of the most com- 
mon species of coral snakes in the region. 

Remarks : Two fatal bites referrable to this species 
are known from Costa Rica (S. A. Jlinton). No anti- 
venin is produced for this species. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Agic/sfrodon Beauvois, 1799. 
Mofcasiii-s and Asian Pit vipefs. 

Twelve species are recognized. Three of are in 
North and Central America; the others are in Asia, 
with one species, A. halys (Pallas) ranging westward 
to southeastern Europe. The American copperhead (.4. 
cotttortrix) and the Eurasian nianuishi and its relatives 
(.1. Iialjis) seldom inflict a serious bite but A. acutus 
and .4. rliodostoma of .southeastern Asia, as well as the 
cottonmouth (.4. piscirorus) of the southeastern United 
States, are dangerous species. 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck; .a shari)ly-distinguished canthus. Body 
cylindrical or depressed, tapered, moderately stout to 
stout ; tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown in most 
species ; interuasals and prefrontals broken up into small 
scales in some Asian forms ; a pointed nasal appendage 
in some. Laterally, loreal pit separated from labials or 
its anterior border formed by second supralabial. Lo- 
real scale present or absent. 

Bodv scales: Dorsals smooth (in A. rliodostoma 


Poiionoui Snakoi of (he World 

■ iiily ) or koili'il. with uiilral pits. In 17 "JT iii>iicilill(|iic 
rows. Vfiilriils l-T. 171: suln-iiiuliils sliiulo unli'rldrly 
iir imirt'il thnniKliixit. 21 -tis. 

Cantil, Aijk-istioiloii hilliii'iifus fiiiutlicr. 

Iiltntiflriiliiin : A rliocoliitf-lirowii ti> black pll vIimt 
Nvltli (yplriil lii'ailphili's iiiiil oiii' Ihlii liulil lirii' iiloiiu IIk' 
I'linlliiis, cDiitluuiim lifliliul till' cyt', aiicilhcr alimi; tln' 
ii|iper part of tlu' suprulnbials to tlu> coriu-r of the 
iiiduth. Adults avfi-nne 2 1/2 to 3 fct't ; occasininil in- 
ilividiials excood 4 fct't. 

.luvciiilf individiinls liavp broad liKlit-('d>;cd crossliaiids 
nil a liublcr tia(k;;iouii(l ; tbesi- disappear in adults ex- 
cept for traces of the while cdKiuK whicli persist as 
luirrow irregular crossbars of while cducd scales. Ven- 
tral color dark brown with lilaik-cdi;cd while luarkincs. 


, -w -, ' L 

FlGfRE 27.- -Cantil, A(;lcittni(lnn hilhicatu.s. Photo by 
New Vork Zoological Society. (See also plate I, tig. 4.) 

Dorsals heavily keeled, in 23-25 row.s at midbody, 
fewer posteriorly. Ventrals 129-144 ; subcaudals 59-68, 
the anterior 20 or so single, the posterior ones paired. 

Distrihiition : In swampy areas and along stream 
banks on both coasts of Mexico and Central America 
from Xiievo Leon and Sonora southward to the west 
coast of Guatemala and the east coast of Nicaragua. 

Remarks: This is the only snake within its range 
with the brown color and twin light stripes on the sides 
of the head. It is aquatic and is often found swimming. 
It is presumed to be a dangerous snake ; it is reported 
to cause serious local lesions but seldom death. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Bothrops Wagler, 1823. 
American lance-lieaded vipers. 

Between 40 and 50 species are currently recognized ; 
all are found in tropical America and southern South 
America. There are three general groups : 1. Large, 
long-tailed terrestrial species, usually \Yith paired sub- 
caudals ; 2. Small, short-tailed terrestrial species with 
single subcaudals ; and 3. Small to moderate-sized ar- 
boreal species with prehensile tail, most of which have 
at least the anterior subcaudals single. The large ter- 
restrial .species are very dangerous, the others less so. 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck; a sharply-distinguished canthus. Body 

cyllndrlcnl or nio<|cnilcly i ipressed. moderately ^^Icndcr 

lo stout : tail short to nio<leralely long. 

Kyes siiinll Ui nKMlcnilc in >l/c; pupils vci'liially el 

Ili-ad scales: Supraoculars generally present, liiter- 
luisals often dlsllnct, .sometimes separated by small 
scales; remainder of crown covered with small Imbricate 
scales: cidargcd canthals sometimes i)reseiit. Laterally, 
second supralabial may make up anterior border of 
loreal pit or may be separaled frnm ii. I.mciil scales 
present or absent. 

Body scales: Dorsals keeled, in 1!> .'{5 noiioblicpie 
rows at midbody. \'entrals 121-2."):{; subcaudals single 
or paired, 22-83. 

Barba Amarilla, liothrops iifrox (Linnaeus). 

liUntifiniliiin : An olive-green, gray, or brownish 
snake with a pattern of lateral darker (usually) black- 
edged triangles whose apices meet, or nearly meet, at 
the vertebral line. Adults average 4 to 6 feet ; record 
lengths exceed 8 feet. 

Ground color brownish, olive, or tan, with a narrow 
dark postorbital stripe and a series of about 20-30 
paired lateral triangles. Each marking is lighter in 
the center and often has a light edging to the dark- 
bordered triangle. Ventral surface light cream to yellow 
with dark blotches becoming more numerous posteriorly. 
Ventrals 180-220; subcaudals 46-73, all paired. 

Dixtrihiition: Forest areas from southern Tamauli- 
pas and southern Sonora, in Mexico, through all of 
Central America, and in South America southward to 
Peru and northern Brazil. A very widespread species 
that is common in banana, coffee, and cocoa plantations 
as well as in undisturbed forest regions ; often found 
along streams. 

Figure 28.— Barba Amarilla, Bothrops atrox (an indi- 
vidual from Trinidad). Photo by New York Zoo- 
logical Society. 

Remarks : This snake has long fangs and a highly 
toxic venom. It is probably responsible for more deaths 
in the Americas than any other snake. It will usually 
retreat if given the opportunity, but becomes aggressive 
if disturbed and will strike repeatedly. 

Polyvalent antivenins for the bite of this snake are 
produced by Laboratorio Behrens ( Venezuela ) , Institute 
Butantan (Brazil), and Wyeth, Inc., Philadelphia. 


Mexico and Cenfral America 

Lansberg's Hognose Viper, /lofhro/is lunsberg'd 

Identificatiiiii : A small brownish ground viper with 
upturned snout and a series of angular blotches down 
the back, separated into pairs by a light vertebral line. 
Body short and moderatel.v stout ; head broad. Adults 
average 18 to 24 inches in length. 

Ground color light brown, tan. or gray with a dorsal 
series of paired dark brown blotches separated from 
one another by a thin light line; broadly separated from 
low lateral .series of spots. 

Canthus raised and sharp, snout raised and pointed. 
Eye separated from supralabials by 2-3 rows of small 
scales. Dor.sals 25-27, heavily keeled. Ventrals 152- 
l.")9 : subcaudals 29-35. all single. 

Distriliiitioii : In semiarid forest and brushy areas 
from Southern Mexico and (Juateniala through Central 
America to Colombia and northern Venezuela. 

Rcniuihs : This is one of several hognose vii)ers that 
inhabit the dryer areas of Central and northern South 
America. The similar B. nasiitiis Bocourt is found from 
Mexico over much the same regioji but generall.v in more 
moist situations. 

Jumping Viper, liothropa numinifer (Kiippell ). 

hh'iitificutiiin : A short, thick-bodied viper with dark 
.saddle-shaped blotches on a tan or gray background. 
Adults average 18 to 24 inches in length. 

Ground color tan, light brown or gray with ahoul 20 
dark brown or black rhomboid blotches (hnvn the back, 
tliese often connected with lateral sjiots to fr>rm narrow 
crosshands. Top of head dark with obliipie postorbital 
band forming uiiper limit of light color on sides of head. 
\'entral color whitish, sometimes blotched with dark 
brown. ' Snout rotiniled, cantlms sharp. Rod.v exceed- 
ingly stout ; tail short. 

Figure 29. — Jumping \'ipcr. Botliioiix iiiiiinnifcr. With 
its coarse scales and diamond-shaped markings, this 
snake is sometimes mistaken for a young bushmaster 
(.Lacliesis iiii(tii.s). The uoiispecialized tail tip (see 
fig. 32) distinguishes it. I'hoto by New York Zoo- 
logical Society. 

Dorsals strongly keeled, tiilici'cular in large indi- 
vidnals, in 2.3-27 rows at midliody fewer (10) jiosteri- 

orly. Ventrals 121-1.S5 ; subcaudals 2G-36. all or mostly 
single. Eye separated from labials by 3-4 rows of small 

Distiihiitiitii : Low hilly rain forest and plantations 
from southern Mexico to Panama. 

licmarks: This is the of the smaller terres- 
trial tropical vipers. With Its stout body it can strike 
for a dl.stance greater than its own body length. How- 
ever, it has relatively short fangs and its venom is 
not highly toxic. 

Eyelash Viper, Bothiops Kchlegeli! (Berthold). 

IdentificatitDi : A green, tan, or yellow tree viper 
with raised and pointed scales above the eye. Body 
moderately stmit, with a prehensile tail : head broad and 
distinct. Adults average IG to 24 inches in length. 

Ground color green, olive-green, tan or yellow with 
scattered black dots which may form irregular cross- 
bands. Green and tan individuals commoidy have nar- 
row reddish and brown crosshands or a reticulated pat- 
tern of red. Belly green or .vellow, spotted with black. 

FloiHE .30. — Eyelash Aiper. lifilhinpx .irlilrfirlii. IMmli 
by New York Zniil,ja;ical Societ.r. 

Canthus sharp; a row of small s<ales above eye. 2-3 
of them raised and pointed. Dorsals 19-25. moderately 
keeled. Ventrals 1.3.8~](i2; subcatulals 47-0.2. all single. 

Dixliihiilioii : In trees ami l>ushes through rain forest 
areas aiul cacao iilantations from southern Mexico 
southward through Central America to Ecuador and 

Kcniaihs : There are several green "palm vii)ers" but 
/?. sclirgclii is the most <-ommouly seen and is the only 
one with the raised scales above the eye. None apjtears 
to be highly dangercuis aiul no specific antivenin is jiro- 
duced for this group of lance-headed vijiers. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Croto/us Linnaeus, 1758. 


About 25 species of rattlesnakes are currently recog- 
nized. Most specie.s are in the southwestern United 
States and northern Jlexico. One species ( C (UtriKsiis) 
ranges southward into southern South America, two are 
found east of the Mississippi River, and two as far 
north as Canada. A few of the very small species, and 
small individuals of large species (less than 2 feet) may 


Poisonous Snakoi of tho World 

otXvr III I If ilan;:rr. lull iiinst s|ii'i'l('s i|i>; siiiiii> iil't' IiIkIiI.V 
ilaiiKi'ii'Us. SfVi-nil spfclcH i-atii;<> liiti> tills region (mc(> 
p. .-.0). 

HvJIiiitiiiii : lli'iiil l>ii>ii(l. M'ly ili^lliicl ri'imi iiairnw 
lUfk. i-ailtliiis (llstiiiit III iiliM'Ml. Itddy r.vlliKll'Irill, ili'- 
prossiMl. i>r sliKlitly (•i'iii|in'ss»Ml, iiiudcralt'ly sIimkIit hi 
stout; tail short with a tioniy scuini'iitcd raltlf. 

Kycs small; pupils vcrlli iiUy ("llipllciil. 

Head scales: Siipninriiliirs preseiil. ji pair of iiiler- 
iiasals ofleii dlstiiu-t. oicasloiially a paii' of preriontals ; 
eiilarjced raiitlial scales often present ; other parts of 
iTowu covered with small scales. Laterally, eye sepa- 
rated from siiprnlabials liy 1 ." rows of small scales. 

Hody scales: Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, in I'.i 
."V? noiiolilii|iie rows at midbody. Ventrals i;J2 2(Ki ; siili- 
caudals i:? 4.'i, all single or with some termiiinl ones 

Mexican West-coast Rattlesnake, Crolnhis husiliscHs 


Iiloitipnition ■ The only rattlesnake within its range 
with diamond-shaiied dorsal niarkiims. Body moder- 
ately stout and rather triaiiKiilar in cross section. 
Adults average 4 to ."> feet: niaxinium length 6 feet, 
9 3/4 inches I Klauher, lir.tJ). 

Head uniform grayish brown or olive green except 
for dark postorbital bar and lighter labials; no distinct 
markings on crown or neck. Body brown or grayish 
olive with 2G-41 dark light-edged, rhomb-shaped (dia- 
mond) blotches. Tail gray, darker-banded or almost 
uuicolor without distinct markings. White or cream- 
<-olored below. 

Dorsals strongly keeled, in 25-29 rows at midbody, 
fewer posteriorly. Ventrals 174-200 ; subcaudals 1.S-3G. 

DixtrihKtiiDi : The coastal i)lain and mountain slopes 
of western Mexico from southern Sonora to central 
Oaxaca. Mainly an inhabitant of thorn forest, but 
ranges upward into tropical rain forest in the south. 

Rctiiaik.1 : Little has been renorted on the effect of 


the bite of this species. However, It produces large 
iiiiioiints of a highly toxic venom. A large Individual 
is iiiiqiiesl lonably a dangerous snake. 

I'olyvalciit antlvcniii Is produced by the Instltuto 
.Nacional de Iligiene, .Mexico. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Lochesis Daudin, 1803. 

-V single species, h. iiiiiliix, is fmniil in li'iipiial .Vnier- 
Ica. It attains a Iciiglli of !» to 12 led and is considered 

Di/iKitioii : Head broad, very ilistinci from narrow 
neck ; snout broadly I'ouiided, no caiithus. Body cylin- 
drical, tapered, moderately stout; tail short. 

Eyes small : pupils vertically ellijitical. 

Head s<ales: A pair of small inlernasals separated 
from one another by small scales; a pair of narrow 
supraoculars; other parts of crown covered with very 
small scales. I,aterally, second supralabial forms an- 
terior border of loreal pit, third very large; eye sepa- 
rated from supralabials by 4-.") rows of small scales. 


Figure 31. — Mexican West-coast Rattlesnake, Crotahis 
hasilisciin. Photo by San Diego Zoo. 

Figure 32. — Inderside of Tail Tips of a Lancehead 
(Bothrops), above, and the Bushmaster {Lachesis), 
below. The spiny "burr" formed of divided sub- 
caudals is distinctive of the bushmaster. Drawings 
by Lloyd Sandford. 

Body scales; Dorsals heavily keeled with bulbous 
tubercles, feebly imbricate, in 31-37 nonoblique rows 
at midbod.y, fewer posteriorly. Venti'als 200-2.30; sub- 
caudals mainly paired, 32-50, followed by 13-17 rows of 
small spines and a terminal spine. 

Bushmaster, Lachesis m%(ti(S (Linnaeus), 
Identification: This large tan or brown snake with 
black or dark brown rhombs is easily recognized. The 
peculiar burr of pointed spines near the end of the 
tail is distinctive. Adults average 5 to 7 feet In length ; 
occasional individuals attain a length of 9 feet ; a maxi- 
mum of 12 feet has been reported. 

Ground color tan or pinkish with 23-37 black or 
brown rhombs on body. Markings with light centers ; 
tail dark with light crossbands. A dark postorbital 


stripe which continues onto tlie iieclc. White or light 
yellowish below. 

Distribution: Rain forest and tropifal deciduous 
forest regions from southern Nicaragua to the coastal 

Mexico and Central America 

Mexican Pigmy Rattlesnake, Sistrurus ravus 

Identification: A small brownish rattlesnake with the 
9 usual i)lates on the crown ; the only such rattle- 
snake within its range. Body moderately stout ; head 
oval. Adults average about 20 inches in length ; a 
large individual is 24 inches. 

Ground color brown or gray witli 2.j-3."i small ir- 
regular blotches down the back, small lateral spots 
may fuse with the dorsal row to form irregular cross- 
liands; 6-8 dark bands on tail. Head unicolor brown 
or with an arrow-shaped median dark marking. 
Ventral surface yellowish, blotched with brown. 

Dor.sals moderately keeled, in 21-23 rows at midbody, 
fewer posteriorly. Ventrals 1.3H-1.")2; subcaudals 20-30. 

Distril/iitinn: Tin- southern part of tlie Mexiian pla- 

Il(inuil:s: This is a small species and is not con- 
sidered dangerous. 

Figure 33. — Bushmaster, Lavhesis niiitKs. I'lioto by 
Isabelle Hunt Conaiit. 

Inwhuuls of Ecuador and the Amazon basin of I'eru, 
H<iliviM, Brazil, and Paraguay. 

Reuiarl;'<: This is potentially a very dangerous 
snake with long fangs and large amounts of rather 
to.xic venom. However, its strictly nocturnal habits 
keep it from coming into contact with humans ex'cept 
rarely and few bites have been recorded. 

Specific antivenin is produced by the Instituto Bu- 
taiitau (Brazil). 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Sistrurus Gorman, 1883. 
I'io'iiiy Rattlesiiukes, 

Three species are recognized: two are in the eastern 
and central I'nited States, the other in the southern part 
of the Mexican plateau. None is considered especially 
dangerous, although N. catcnutiiii is reported to some- 
times cause death in children. 

Definition: Head broad, very distinct from narrow 
neck : canthus obtuse to acute. Body cylindrical, ta- 
pered, slender to moderately stout ; tail short, terminat- 
ing in a relatively small horny, segmented rattle. 

Eyes small to moderate in size; pupils vertically el- 

Head scales : The 9 typical scales on the crown. 
Laterally, nasal in contact with upjier preocular or seiia- 
rated from it by loreal scale; eye separated from 
supralabials by 1-3 rows of small scales. 

Body scales: Dor.sals strongly keeled, with apical 
pits, In 19-27 nonoblicjue rows at midbody, fewer an- 
teriorly and posteriorly. Ventrals 122-lGO ; subcaudals 
llt-39, all entire or a few posterior ones paired. 

Iiiinnrls: Brattstrom (19G4) suggested that the 
genus Kistnirns was not recognizable, and that the 
three iiKluded species should be placed with the other 
ratlesnakes in the genus Crotaliis. 

FiGURK .34. — Mexican I'igmy Ualllesiiake, Sislrurii.i ra- 
ms. Photo by Isabelle Hunt Conant. 

(See a/so General h'eferences) 

WXWXV.'A del TOKO, Mi«riie] 1060. Los rep- 
tiles (le Chiapas. Inst. Zool. Estado, Tuxtla 
(iiitieiiez, Chiapas. ATexico. 7-20-t p., illus- 

IM'KCEU, AV. Leslie l!».-)() A Preliminary Study 
dl' the Jiiiiipiiio; A'iper, Uothvupx numin'ifer. 
Bnll. Chicago Acad. Sci., 9 (3) : 59-67, 1 pi. 

CLAKK. Herbert C. 1042 Venomous Snakes. 
Some Outral .Vmerican Records. Incidence 
of Snake-bite Accidents. Anier. Jour. Trop- 
ical Med., 22 (1) : 37^9. 

MERTEXS, Robert. 1052. Die Amphibien und 
Reptilien von El Salvador, aiif Griind der 
Reisen von R. Mertens und A. Zilch. Abh. 
Senckenbergischen Ges., 487: 1-120, 16 pis. 


Poiionoui Snaiios of fhe World 

REFERENCES (continued) 

I'll'AliO, ('. 1'.>:'.I. Scr|)ii'iili's vfiii'iiosas (If Cos- S( I I.M 1 1 ) 1 . KmiI I'. I'.i;.."., Coial SniiUi-s ol' tlic 

til Ivini. Iiu|ir)Mitii Alsiiui, Sim Jose, Costa (ii'iins Micninis in ( 'nldiuliia. FicMiaiia- 

Kira: •_'!'.) p., f.S tij^s.,, .'.l (:!l) : '.V.\~W:>\), li^s. (Jn-W). 

SCHMIDT, Karl V. IS).!.;. I'lvliii.iiiaiy Ac.-omil SMll II, iluliait >[., mid K. If. TAYI/)I{. 1915. 

of tlic Coral Sniikt's of (Viil fill AnuM-icii iind .\ii .ViiimiI.iIccI ( 'liccklist ami Key to tlic 

>ri>xico. Zool. Scr. I'irM Mus. \al. Hist., Siiuki-s of .Mcx'mo. I'-iill. I'. S. Natl. Mus. 

'JO: J!MO. (IS?) : I SW p. 

SCHMIDT, Karl P. VXM'k Notes on (Viitral S Tl A Kl. L. C.litC.;!. .\ CluM-klisI oftlic IIci pc- 

Anu'rican and Mi'.xicaii Coral Snakes. Zool. inlanna of (iiiatcniala. Misc. Pub. ,Mus. 

Ser. Field ^Ins. Nat. Hist., 20 (20) : 205-21(1, Zool. I i.iv. .Miciiijran (122) : 1-150, 1 pi., 1 

Hjrs. 24-27. map. 

SCHMIDT, Kail P. IDll. The Aiupliil.ians and TAYLOli, Kdward II. I'.t.M. A Hiief Ueview of 

lu'pliles of Hiitish Honduras. Zool. Ser. I lie Snakes of Costa Kica. T'niv. Kansas Sci. 

Field Mus. Nat., vol. 22, no. 8, pp. Bull., .'U (part 1, no. 1): 3-88, figs. 1-7, pis. 

475-510. 1-23. 



Section 3 


Definition of the Region: 
AH of South America, inchuUnc/ Colombia. Venezuela. Britinh Guiana. Suri- 
nam, French Guiana, Brazil. Bolivia. Paraguay. Argentina, Uruguay. Chile, 
Peru, /iruador. a-iid the ixhind of Aruha vljf Venezuela, in addition to those 
few islaiuh of the Went hulies inhabited by poisonous sjjaA'es: Martinique. 
Santa Lucia. Tobago, and T rinidad. 



Mop of the region 63 

Introduction 62 

Distribution Chart 60, 61 

Key to Genera 62 


Lcptomicrurus 63 

Micrui'us 63 


Uothrops 65 

Crotalus 67 

Lachesis 69 

References 69 


Poisonous Snakes of iho World 


! ! ! ! 1 ! 1 ! ! 1 1 ! ! i ! ! ! i 1 1 ! ! ! ! 1 ! ! 1 1 1 1 ! 
1 1 1 I 1 I 1 ! !H 1 ! ! 1 1 ! I 1 1 ! ;k) ! 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ! | 


■pni luiis 



!b \X>i 1 i ^ >^ j 1 1 1 j B i (Kj 1 1 \y,y,^y i t^ i 1 i i M | k! M kl | 


\>< \ \y \ \ I \ \ \ ' \ >f^ \>< ' '< \ f^y^y. '< y,y, '' y, '< >< \yy, i 
1 1 1 1 : 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 -^1 i i 1 i 1 


1 ' ' ' ' 1 1 1 ' ' i 1 ' 1 1 ' ' 1 ' I 1 ' 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 ' 1 ! 1 1 1 


i j i i i i i 1 1 i 1 i ! i i >^ 1 1 1 i i j i 1 1 i i 1 1 i i i j 1 \y 


; i i 1 i i i i i i ^ 1 i 1 i ^ i 1 i i 1 i i i i i i i i t^ i i 1 !z; 


i 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 i i 1 i i k! 1 i 1 1 i i i i 1 i i 1 i ; \y 


\>< \ \y \fii \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \y \ \ \ \ \y \ \ \ \ \ \ \y,y \><y, \ \ 


\^a \ \ l^l \ \ \ma \ \z 02^ \^ \ o o \ \ \ \ \ \ \ ly \y \ jw 

EUEinQ -jj 

' 1 1 1 1 1 1 { 1 1 1 1 1 [ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 , 1 { 1 1 < 1 ' 

EUEinj) -jg 

>^iiiiiiiijji|i|>^!iixi||>^iii^i>^i i| 


Mi|ii><ii|ilii|ii;^]i|ki|iMil('^i|i II 


y \ \ \ \ \ \ \yy, \ \y \ \ \y \ \z \y \'z \ \ \y \ \y \yv2 l 


\y, \y \ i i^z;^^ i 1 \yyvi i^z \yyy t^| j \y \ \yy !:» i 1 


Leptomicruriis collai'is 

Micrunis albieinctus 

JI. ancoralis 

M. annellatus 

JI. averyi 

M. balzani 

M. bocourti 

M. cariiiicauda 

M. circinnlis 

M. eorallinus 

M. decoratus 

JI. dissoleucus 

JI. duinerilii 

JI. flliforniis 

JI. frontalis 

JI. heniprieliii 

M. hoUaiidi* 

M. ibiboboca 

M. isozonus 

JI. lemniscatus 

JI. merteiisi 

JI. mipartitus 

JI. ornatissinms 

JI. peruvianus 

JI. psyches 

JI. putumayensis 

JI. pyrrhocryptus 

JI. spixii 

JI. spurelli 

JI. suriiiamensis 

JI. tscbudii 


Bothrops albocarinatus 

B. alteruatus 


South America and ihe Wesi Indies 

1 i 1 >< i j i i i i 1 i i i i i i i 1 i 1 1 i i i i 1 i i i i i 1 i i 

i X 

i >< i i i i i 1 i i 1 1 i i i i i 1 i i i i i i 1 1 i 1 1 i i 1 i 1 

i 1 i i X i ! i j i 1 i i i i i i i i 1 1 i i 1 i i 1 1 1 I i ; 1 i 

1 i i i 1 j i 1 i 1 i i 1 i i K 1 i 1 j i i i 1 i i i i i i i i i i i 


i ^ 


i X 

i 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 i i 1 ; ! I I I i 1 ! ; ; ! >< 

>^ i 1 2^g 1 i U i i i^ 



1 X 

1 1 \ Z \ O l2;t»HM^HWMtci» 1 1 1 1 ] 1 \ y X 1 ; |h ,' 1 | | ] \^ 

1 ^ 


i X 

i K — i i i i i i i i i 1 i i 1 i i i 1 1 ! 1 1 i 1 ! X 

i ^ 


' X 

1 i X i w i 1 1 1 ] 1 ; 1 1 i^X 1 X i 1 X 1 i i 2: i i i \X>< ixgxx 


i X 

CROTALIDAE (continued) 

B. alticola 

B. ammodytoides 

B. andianus 

B. atrox 

B. ijarnetti 

B. bilinoatus 

B. caribbaeus **_ 

B. eastclnaudi 

B. cotiura 

B. erytliromelas 

B. fonspfai 

B. liyoprorus 

B. iglesiasi . _ . 

B. iiisularis 

B. itapetiningae 

r>. jajaraca 

B. jararacussu - . 

B. lanceolatus ** 

B. lidu'iiosus 

B. lojaiius 

B. medusa 

B. micropbthalinus . 

B. nasutiis 

I{. neglect iis- 

B. neuwiedi 

B. peruvianus 

B. piclus 

15. pirajai 

B. pulclier 

B. punctatus 

B. sclilegelii 

B. veiiezuelae * 

B. xantliogrammus 

(^retains durissus 

( V vpiT.'i mils;*** 

1 m 

u « 

=3 0* 
O C. 



















A ra 









II ^"T 

'O X. 

'' ^ s 


a = 

> — ^ 


~£ J- 





Poisonous Snakes of tho World 


Tho poisonous smikes of South Anii-ricii lu-loii^j 
to fi\»> jii'iuM'ii, only ouo of which (/.t/>f(>iiiiiTiirii>:) 
is ivstrirtt'il to this i-ontiuiMit. All hul the rattii' 
siuike jjeiuis Crotalns. however, ;ue restricted to 
tho American tropics and IciiiiuM'ate Snutli 

Although the hushmaster [Lachesis mtttiis) is 
the hiiirest poisonous snake of the region, it is 
one of the niiiioi- hazards to iiunian life since it is 
iiKiiiily of noctuiMiai liul)it and is sluggisli or 
secret i\o during the ilay. Tlie tropical rattle- 
snake {CrotaJus (hi rixsus) and the large lance- 
headeil vipers such as Bothrops atrox and related 
species account for most of tlie deaths in tlie 

Coral snakes (Mtcniriis and Leptomicninii) 
are relatively common in tropical regions. Ahout 

.'](> species ai-e found iicrc 'I'liey are secretive 
dui'ing tli(^ day and can^c relatively few cases of 
sind<el)ile. Ilowexcr, they secrete venom of a 
highly poisonous, neuroto.xic variety which is re- 
sponsihlo for a very high percentage (almost 50 
percent) of deaths in victims of their hites. 

The islands of the Carilihean wiili ii lew ex- 
co])tions ai-e free of poisonous snakes. .VII of the 
(ireatei' Antilles (Cuha, Jamaica, IIis|)aniola, 
and Puerto Kico) arc fi-ce of poisonous kinds. 
Oidy Martinique and Santa Lucia, among tlie 
Lesser Antilles, have poisonous snakes, as do tlic 
continental islands of Margarita, Trinidad, and 
Tobago, and tiie offshore island of .Vruha. 

On the mainland, oidy the highest of the Andes 
are free of poisonous snakes. At least one kind 
of poisonous snake ranges soutlnvai'd onto the 
pampas of southei'u Argentina, leaving only the 
southernmost tij) of South America and the arid 
[ilains of Chile five of venomous snakes. 





























. Dorsal scales at midhody distinctly keeled 7 

. Dorsal scales at midbody smooth 2 

. Pupil of eye distinctly vertically elliptical NP* 

. Pupil of eye round 3 

. A loreal scale present (3 scales between nostril and eye) NP 

. No loreal scale 4 

. Color pattern of body made up of alternating rings of 
red, yellow, and black (red restricted to head and 

tail in some) 5 

. Color pattern not in rings 6 

. Black rings alternating witli yellow; OR single, sepa- 
rated by broad bands of red and yellow ; OR in 

triads separated by broad bands of red Mienm/s 

. Black rings in pairs or single, separated by broad rings 

of redl NP 

. A yellow band across back part of head; body black 
above, with numerous crossbands of red or yellow- 
below which extend u]) sides as triangles Lepfomicrurus 

. Pattei'n not as described above NP 

. With a loreal pit (fig. 4) 8 

. No loreal pit NP 

. With a segmented rattle at the end of the tail Crotalus 

. No rattle 9 

Terminal subcaudals divided into short spines, forming 

a "burr" (fig. 32) Laehesls 

. No such burr Bothrops 

NP = Nonpoisonous 


Soufh America and the West Indies 


ELAPIDAE: Genus Lepfomicrurus Schmidt, 1937. 
Slender coral snakes. 

Two species are recognized* ; both are found in north- 
ern South America. These extremely elongate and 
slender snakes approach 3 feet in length. There are no 
reiKjrted bites but they are considered potentially dan- 

Dcfliiilidii: Head small, not distinct from neck: snout 
rounded, no distinct canthus. Body extremely slender 
and elongate, not tapered ; tail .short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
nasal iu contact with single preocular. Ventrally. men- 
tal In contact with anterior chin .shields. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 15 nonohlique rows 
throughout body. Ventrals 212-410: anal plate divided: 
sul)caudals paired, 17-3."). 

Maxillary teeth: Two relatively large tubular fangs; 
MO other teeth on bone. 

Rriniirkx: These snakes differ from Micrunm and 
^ticl•llr(lillr.■< in that the yellow crossbands are incom- 
plete dorsally ; they are best defined on the ventral 
surface and appear as triangles on the sides. The 
contact of mental and anterior chin shields also is 









,V; '?"' 

>' / "■-I 

^^ A:--\„„„. 

Map 4. — Section 3, South America and the West Indie^ 

* A third has been described recently. 

Amazon Slender Coral Snake, Leptomicrurus nar- 
ducci (Jan). 

Identification: A very elongate black coral snake 
with a broad yellow band on the back of the head. 
Adults average 24 to .30 inches : occasional individuals 
approach 3 feet. 

Belly pattern of red ( or yellow ) and black cross- 
bands, some of the red bands extending onto the sides 
as triangular blotches. Dorsal part of body solid black. 

Ventrals 240-410 ; subcaudals 17-3.'>. 

Distribution: The upper Amazon region, including 
northwestern Brazil, eastern Ecuador, Peru, and Bo- 

Rcniarkf:: The snakes of this genus are the only 
coral snakes in which the light rings are incomplete 
dorsally. The other species. L. collaris (Schlegel), dif- 
fers in having fewer ventrals (212-230). 

Almost nothing is known of rare snakes. How- 
ever, they attain a size that makes them a dangerous 
animal to pick up. No antivenin is i)roduced for the 
snakes of this genus. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Micrurus Wagler, 1824. 
American cortil snakes. 

About 40 si>ecies are currently recognized. They 
range from North Carolina to Texas, and from Coa- 
huila and Sonora. Mexico, southward through Central 
and South America to Bolivia and Argentina. Most are 
small species but some attain lengths in excess of 4 
feet. All are dangerous. 

Definition: Head small, not distinct from neck; 
snout rounded, no distinct canthus. Body elongate, 
slender, not tapered : tail short. 

Eyes small ; jnipils round. 

Head scales: The usual !> lui the crown. Laterally, 
nasal in contact with single preocular. Ventrally, men- 
tal .separated from anterior chin shields by first infrala- 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in l.'i nonobliiiue rows 
throughout body. Ventrals 177—112: anal plate divided 
or entire: subcaudals Ki ()2, usually paired but more 
than ."lO percent single in some species. 

Maxillary teeth: Two relatively large tubular fangs 
with indistinct grooves: no other teeth on bone. 

Remarks: Nearly all coral snakes have color patterns 
made up of complete rings of yellow (or white), black, 
and usually red. 

Annellated Coral Snake, Micr\irus annelJatus 

Identification: A usually black and yellow coral 
snake with a narrow yellow band across the parietal 
scutes. This is a small species, the largest specimen 
is a little less than .30 inches. 

Body with narrow yellow bands. Broad bands which 
are distinctly red in young become so darkened as to be 
black in most adults. This forms a pattern of alternat- 
ing broad black (originally red) rings with narrower 


Poisonous Snakos ol ihe World 

hliirk rliiKs. Tiiliil iliiik iliiKs rtiiiKi's frnm .'17 .tT oii 
Imily, .". !> oil tiiil. Till- ml Is uficii vlsllilr on llu- liclly. 

Ni'iili'iiU I'.K! J'.'.'i ; anal plalc illvlcli'il; siilicaiiilals 'Jll 

lH»tribiitinii: KImt valleys of llu- iiii>uiilalii riTioiis 
ti( I'l'i'ii. Itollvlii, anil Kriiailnr. 

I>'iiiiiiik/i: Tills iiii'MiilaiM s|K"(i('s lives al alliludi's 
iif l.'ilH* I" (t.tHM) fci't. Ni> rt'iKirls (.f llic clTcrls of Us 
l>lic arc kiioxvii. 

Southern Coral Snake, Mlcruriis frinitdlif (Dii- 
moril, liiliron, aiiil I)uiii('ri!). 

liliiilifivaliiin: A coral siiako with Iriads of lilack 
riiijjs anil broad red intcrspact's : head IiUk U with {m1;;cs 
of iilales red. Adults aviTa^i- .'{ lo I reel; cmciiI innal 
indiviiliials t-xcccd ."(1 Indu's. 

Crown Matk ti> tlii" posterior end of Hit- parietals, 
labials and temporals spotted with yellow, crown scutes 
edswl witli red or yellow. Hody with 0-l."> .sets of MmcU 
triads, separated with broad bands of red. 

above, Hody with .' 10 triads of bru:id IpImcU rliiKS 
separated by narrow red rlnus. 

Ventrals l.'ili I'.il ; pl:ilc ciiliic; MiliiMudals li.'l- 

Ilinlriliiitiiiii : Ujiii of ilic .\iiiaziiri liiisin : imrl licaslern 
Itra/.il, the Cuiaiias. I'olondiia. Mciiador. and rerii. 

Ill iiiiirhi: 'i'liis is Ibe oidy species r)f coral snake that 
nornially has an entire anal [ilate. This and the Iriads 
of broad black rln«s make it a distinctive snake. 

Amazonian Coral Snake, .U/niiriis \///.ri/ A\'ai;lcr. 

Iili iilificiitiiiii : .\ coral snake uiih lria<ls of black 
iin;;s which are all about c(|ual in width and narrower 
than the yellow and red liims. Adults average .3 to 4 
feet: occasional individuals attain ;i length of .1 feet. 

Crown of head mainly black, often with shields edged 
and spotted with yellow; sides of bead mostly light, 
often a black collar followed by a yellow rinj;. Body 
with 1-0 complete triads of narrow and eipial black ring.s by somewhat wider bands of yellow and red. 

\'entrals 203-27.J : anal plalc divided; subcaudals 16- 

FlGURE S-). — Southern C<iral Snake. MiiTiiniii fnnilajia. 
The "triads" of three black and two yellow rings are 
characteristic of many South American coral snakes. 
Note that the red zones are bordered by hlack in these 
coral snakes. I'hoto by New York Zoological Society. 

Ventrals; 97-230; anal plate divided; subcaudals 15- 

Dixirihiitioii: Southwestern P.razil. northern Argen- 
tina. Uruguay. I'araguay. and Bolivia. 

Rcmark.i: This is one of the larger species of coral 
snakes and is responsible for a number of deaths. An 
antivenin is prepared by the Instituto Butantan (Bra- 
zil i for this species and .V. ruralJiniiH. 

Hemprich's Coral Snake, .Vicrui'u-s henipricMl 

IiIcntiUcatiiDi: A coral snake with narrow yellow and 
red rings, and broad black triads. Adults average 24 to 
30 inches In length. 

Snoiit and tip of chin black, with this color extending 
back over crown as a "cap." A red collar, narrowed 

Dinlrihiilidn: The Ania/.on region; Brazil. Colombia, 
Venezuela. Ecpiador, Peru, and Bolivia. 

h'cmarlcn: This is one of the largest iif the coral 
snakes, and it has been responsible for several deaths. 
.\ polyvalent coral snake antivenin is produced by the 
Instituto Butantan (Brazil). 

Surinatn Coral Snake, M/cninis siirinaniensls 

Idi'iitificdtiiiii: A coral snake with a red head and 
triads of black rings, of which the middle one is dis- 
tinctly broader than the lateral ones. Adults average 
about 3 feet in length ; occasional individuals attain a 
length of about 4 feet. 

Crown of head red. with each of the plates outlined 
in black. Body with ."-^ complete triads, each made 


Figure 36. — Surinam Coral Snake. Micninis siiriiia- 
iHciisis. The red head and triad pattern are distinc- 
tive. Photo by Charles M. Bogert. 


South America and the West Indies 

up of a broad middle black band, \yith narrow bands 
laterally. Yellow rings narrowed dorsallj*. Dorsals 17- 
19 anteriorly, 15 at midbody and posteriorly. 

Ventrals 162-206; anal plate divided (occasionally 
entire) ; subcaudals 30-40. 

Distribution: Apparently a .semiaquatic snake (one 
specimen had eaten an eel) that inhabits the rim of 
the Amazon region : the Guianas. Rrazil, \'enezuela. 
Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. 

Rriiiarks: This is another of the large coral snakes. 
Its red head and the broad median band of the triad 
ni.'ikcs it distinctive. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Bothrops Wagler, 1824. 

large number of bites each year. Ordinarily the bite is 
not lethal, but it causes .severe local effects. 

Aiiu'rii-m lance-lieaded vipers. 

Between 40 and ."0 species are currently recognized; 
all are found in tropical America and southern South 
.\mcrica. There are three general groups: 1. Large, 
long-tailed terrestrial species, usmtlly wilh paired sub- 
caud.ils: 2. Small, short-tailed Icrrcsi ri:il siiecies witli 
single subcaudals; and 3. Small to moderate-sized ar- 
boreal species with prehensile tail, most of which have 
at least the anterior subcaudals single. The large ter- 
restrial species are very dangerous, the others less so. 

Drfiiiitidii: Head broad. Ilatteued. very distinct from 
narrow neck; a sharpl.v-dislinguished canthus. Body 
cylindrical or moderately compressed, modoralely slender 
(o stout ; tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes small lo moderate in size; pu|iils vertically el- 

Head scales: Suiu'Hoculars geucrall.v present, inter- 
nasals often distinct, sometimes seiiaratcd by small 
scales; reniaiiuler of crown covered with small imbricate 
scales; enlarged canthals sometimes present. Laterally, 
second supralabial ma.v make up anteriiu- border of 
loreal pit or may be separated from it. Loreal scales 
present or absent. 

Body scales; Dorsals keeled, in 10 ,'?."i nonobliiiue 
rows at midbody. Ventrals rJl-J.-iS : subc'iudals single 
or paired, 22-S3. 

Urutu, Botliropx altenyitiix ( Dtunei-il, liihfoii, 
and Dninei'il). 

Iilciitificdiidii: A brown laiicehead wilh rounded 
blotches which are narrowly edged with yellow. AdtUts 
average 3 to 4 feet ; occasional individuals exceed 5 feet. 

Head brown with a distinctive marking on the crown. 
About 20 pairs of rounded lateral luMikings shaped like 

a French telephone ^^^^^^^^B whose 


nearly meet on the dorsal midline. (Iround cohu- brown, 
slightly lighter than blotches which have lighter centers. 
Belly white, spotted with brown or black. 

Dorsals strongly keeled, in 29-3.5 rows at midliody. 
Ventrals 167-lSl ; subcaudals paired. 34-.">l. 

Distrilnitidii : Along watercourses through .southern 
Brazil, T'ruguay, Paraguay, and n(U-tliern Argentina. 

Ifcinarks: Thi.s is a dangerous snake and it causes a 

FiGtRE 37. — Irutu. liiithnips (illmiatKs. Photo by New 
York Zoological Society. (See also plate IL fig. 2.) 

A polyvalent antlvenin "Anlibolropico" is produced 
by the Instituto Butantan. and by the Instituto Pinliieros 
I Brazil ». 

Amazonian Tree Viper, h'othra/>s h/'/hirdftis 

Iilciilifirnlioii: A green tree vli)er with a yellow 
lateral stripe. Adults average 24 to 30 inches; maxi- 
mum length alxuit 3 feet. 

filiform bright green above, speckled with black in 
some individuals : a narrow yellow stripe or series of 
yellow spots on row of dorsal.s. Tip of tail usually 
red or red-brown. Belly white, without markings. 

Snout rounded: canthus rostralis slmrp and slightly 
raised. Internasals large and in contact with one 
another: canthals large: ."i-S rows of .scales between 
large supraoculars. Dorsals strongly keeled, in 27-3.J 
nonoblic|ue rows at midbody, fewer posteriorly. Ven- 
trals 1!)8-218: subcaudals ."0-71, all or nearly all paired. 

Di-ttritxition: The Amazonian regions of Brazil, Brit- 
ish Guinea. Colomliia, Bolivia. Peru. Ecuador, and 

Rcmarlcit: This is one of the most widely distril>uted 
of the prehensile-tailed tree vipers of Sotith America. 
However, it does not appear to be a serious hazard any- 
where and no specific antivenin is produced for the 
treatment of its liite. 

St. Lucia Serpent, Bothvops canbhaeus Garman. 

Ideiitifiriiliiiii: A pale gray or yellowish gray pit 
viper; the only venomous smike on the West Indian 
island of St. Lucia. Adults average 3 to 4 feet in 
length: occasional individuals are recorded at about 7 

Head dark gray witli a piist(U-bital band that extends 
across the upper edge of the supralabials. Body 
blotches obscure, little darker than the ground color 
which is light gray, often with nist-red suffusion. Chin 
white or cream, bell.v yellowish with a few gray mark- 


Poisonous Snak»s of Iho World 

l>i>r!<aU slroiiKly ki-rlol. In 'J.'i JD rows Ml iiiIiIIiimI.v, 
ffwer ( 1!M iM)stfr|c«rly. \'i>iilriils 1!I7 I'll!; .siiliraiiilals 
palivd. M TO. 

Diatriliiiliiin: Kniiiul In riiriio iinil coiiiMiinl iihinni- 
tlonx aiul (liiiiip fim-st ; only i<\\ llir i-,lMiicl ni' Si. I.ui iii 

Fioi-RB 3H. — St. Liu-iii Serpent, liothmpa mrihlnicux. 
Photo by New York Zoological Society. 

Rcmarkx: This is a dangerous snake wliose bite 
causes severe local tissue daniaf^e. 

For many years it was confused with the liarba ania- 
rilla (B. atrox) of the niainlaiul and tlie fer-de-lance 
(H. lauccolatiis) of Martini(iue. 

It is reported to have caused the death of several 
persons on the island. No specific antivenin is available 
fur this si)ecies. 

Jararaca, /lofhfo/ix jajdntcd (AVied). 

IdenUfiration: An olive-green, brown-blotched pit vi- 
per with a rather long, but short-snouted head. Adults 
average 3 to 4 feet ; occasional individuals approach 
6 feet in length. 

Crown of head dark olive, usually with some dark 
brown irregular markings which may be light-edged. A 

welldi'lliird dink brown poslnrbllal slrlpii prcNcnt ; re- 
niiiindiT of side nl' hciid llghl. .Vboiit '_'.'• pairs of lateral 
brown hlotclirs on the body; Ibey are well-dellne<l 
InliTal lilMiik'b'S iinli'ilorly but become rounder Inward 
iiiidbiMly anil i|iiili' li'i'c'^ubir In >.li;i|ii' iinsleriorly. 
Cmund icliir olive, yrayi^li or Itelly yellow- 
ish, lilotchcil with gray, (iflcn cnllrely gray posteriorly. 

Prefrontals small, longer than broad, se|>araled front 
one another b.v I "i rows of small scales. Dorsals 
weakly keeled, keels extending enlire length of .scales, 
in 20-27 rows at inidbody. Venlrals ]7."-21(5; sub- 
caudals ."2 T<i. .ill or nearl.v all paired. 

Distrihiiliiiii : (irasslands and open coiniliy lliroiigh 
southern Urazil. noil lieaslern Paraguay and northern 

I'lnidihn: This snake is easily confused with /{. 
iilni.r on the one hand and with /{. juraracunHH on the 
Ml her. The color patterns and scales of the snout re- 
gion appear to distinguish them. I!, jiijiinicii is one 
of the most common venomou.s snakes thr(nigliout its 
range. Probably for that reason, rather than because 
of its venom fpiantify and toxicity, it is second only to 
the cascabel ifratalKfi (fiiriK.iii.i) as a source of deaths 
from snakebite in the region. 

Jararacussu, /lof/iro/»i jiii'divcii.s.sii Lacerdti. 
tdciifificatioii: A dull-colored black and yellowish pit 

Fku're .30. — .lararaca, Jiotliroijx jujarucu. Photo by 
New York Zoological Society. 

Figure 40. — Jararacussu. Bothropii jararacussu. Photo 
by New York Zoological Society. 

viper with a broad, lance-shaped head. Adults average 
3 to 4 feet; maximum length about 5Vi feet (Amaral, 

Crown of head unicolor black and dark brown with 
dark-yellowish lines over the temporal regions which 
separate the black postorbital stripe from the dark 
color of the crown ; side of head mostly yellowish. 
About 15 pairs of lateral upside-down U-shaped black 
body blotches may alternate with one another or oppose 
and connect across the back. Often much of back 
covered with irregular patches of dark pigment., leaving 
lateral blotches irregularly outlined with dark yellow. 
Belly yellow, irregularly blotihed with dark brown or 

Prefrontals (canthals) broader than long, separated 
from one another by 1-2 rows of small scales. Dorsals 


Soufh America and ihe Wesi Indies 

strongly keeled, keels tending to be tubertulate along 
back, in 23-27 rows at midbody, fewer posteriorly. Ven- 
trals 170-186 ; subcaudals 44-GG, all or nearly all paired. 

Distribution: Xear rivers and lakes in soutbern Bra- 
zil, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and nortbern Argentina. 

Remarks: Tbis is an amphibious species and may be 
found in the water. It is not a very common snake, 
but produces a very toxic venom in large amounts 
(averaging more than 100 mg. in a milking) ; it is one 
of four species of snakes which cause most fatalities 
from snakebite in Brazil. A common early symptom of 
its bite is blindness. 

Antivenins (polyvalent) using the venom of li. jarara- 
ciissii are produced by Behringwerke of Germany, In- 
stituto Butantan and Instituto Pinheiros of Brazil, and 
the Instituto Nacional de Microbiologia of Argentina. 

Fer-de-Lance, Bofhrop.s lanceolatus (Lacepede). 

Idoitificntidii: A lancehead recognized by its dark 
truncated lateral blotches and high numbers of dorsals 
and ventrals: the only venomous snake on Martinique. 
Adults average 4 to 5 feet ; occasional individuals at- 
tain lengths of about 7 feet. 

Head brow-n with a sharply defined darker postorbital 
band that extends down to the corner of the mouth. 
Body gray, olive, or l)rown with an obscure series of 
22-27 hour-glass-shaped blotches down the back. Ven- 
tral surface white or cream with a few grayish or brown 
stipple marks anteriorl.v, more posteriorly. 

Dorsals strongly keeled, in 31- .SS rows at midbody, 
fewer (29) anteriorly and posteriorly (21-23). Ven- 
trals 215-230 ; subcaudals paired, .'56-67. 

Jararaca pintado, Bothrops neuiriedi Wagler. 

IdcntificatiDii: A distinctly-patterned tan or grayish 
pit viper with a distinctive pattern on the crown. 
Adults average 2 to 3 feet in length. 

Crown of head light tan or brown with a series of 
distinct spots; often a U-shaped mark on the rear part of 
the head, the two arms of the "U" sometimes connected 
with the bod.v i)attern. Pattern geographically variable 
but basically a paired series of small triangular or 
rbomboidal black or dark brown dorsal blotches that 
alternate or fuse across the back to form small X-shaped 
markings. Rounded dark spots may fall between the 
main series on the miclline and a lateral series of small 
si)ots alternates with the dorsal blotches. All of the 

Figure 41. — Fer-de-Lance, Ilothr<)i).i liiHccolatiis. The 
snake to which the name, Fer-de-Lance, rightfully be- 
longs is found only on the i.sland of JIartinique. 
Photo by New York Zoological Society. 

Distrihiitinii: Found only on the West Indian island 
of Martinique ; originally over the entire island but now 
restricted to the less inhabited forests. 

Figure 42. — .Jararaca pintada, liothrops iicuiriedi. The 
"V" mark on the rear of the bead is distinctive. 
Photo by Isabelle Hunt Conant. 

markings may be outlined with bright yellow. Ground 
color tan or light gray. Belly yellowish, some ventrals 
edged with gray. 

Dorsals strongly keeled, in 21-27 rows at midbody. 
Ventrals 16.3-1S7 ; subcaudals 40-53, all paired. 

Distribution: Grasslands and oi)en country on the 
plateau of southern Brazil, eastern Bolivia. Paraguay, 
and northern Argentina. 

Remarks: This is a rather small snake but it ranges 
over a large area of southern South America. It is one 
of the major sources of snakebite in Argentina. 

Polyvalent antivenins are produced by Behringwerke 
of Germany, and the Instituto Nacional de Microbiologia, 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Crotalus Linnaeus, 1758. 


About 25 species of rattlesnakes are currently recog- 
nized. Most species are in the southwestern United 


Pouonout Snakes o^ iho World 

Stall's ami iioillirni Mi'\ini; oiii" spcclt'S If. iliirininin) 
raiitfcH .toiilliHaril liilo .siiiithi-rn Simtli Aiiu-rlia, Iwo iirr 
fiimid rast i>r IIh" Mississippi ItlvtT, and Iwii as I'm- 
ninth as Caiiatla. A (vw nf llii- very small spcrli-s and 
small liullvldiials nf lurKi' spt'cleii (Ions tliati L' ft-t't ) may 
iiffiT lltlli' daiiKt'i'. t'lil most sptM'Ics dn; some arc Id^ldy 

Hiflnitiiiii: Head brnad, very distinct ffom narriiw 
neck; i-anlliiis dlsllnit to absi-nt. Hudy cylindrical, de- 
pressed, or sIlKldly I'omprcsscd. inddiMalcly slender Id 
stout ; tall short with a horny scKmeiilcd rattle. 

Eyes small; pupils vertiially elliptlial. 

Head scales: Supraoculars present, n \tn\v of inlcr- 
na.sals often dlsttiict, occasionally a pair nf pnfrontals : 
eidnr;;ed canthal scales often present ; other parts of 
crown covered with small scales. Laterally, eye sepa- 
rated from siipralahials by !-."> rows of small scales. 

Hody scales: Dorsals keeled, with apical jiits. in 'lO- 
;{.'{ noiiobliipic rows at inidbody. Ventrals 132-^200; suh- 
cainlals 1.'5- l."i. all siiijile or with some terminal ones 

Cascabel, Civfii/ns dur'lssun Liiiiiiieus. 

Iihiili/iratioii: The only true rattlesnake in most of 
its raiifie I except in .Mexico). The series of large rhom- 
bic blotches (diamonds) down the back, stripes on the 
neck, and the large rattle are distinctive. Body stout 
and slightly compressed, especially anteriorly. Adults 
average 4 to ."> feel ; maximum length about (! feet. 

Body brown or olive with ],S-.S."i darker, light-edged 
rhomb-shaped markings down the back. Those on neck 
sometimes elongate into stripes. Tail usuall.v unicolor 
dark brown or black. White or cream colored below. 

FiGtTRE 43. — Cascabel. Crotahis flidisfiiis. Photo cour- 
tesy Scimtiflc Antoicaii. (See also jilate I. fig. 3.) 

Dintribution: Dry areas, grasslands, and thorny 
scrub, from coastal eastern and southern Mexico south- 
ward through Central America, and through eastern 
South America from northern Colombia to northern 

Ii'iiiiiirl.s: This Is one of the most dangeronM of the 
ralllesiiakes, and Is one of the most dangeroUK snakes 
III llie Americas. The loxlilly of the venom varies 
lliroiigh I he range: In llra/,11. where the cascabel is 
the main cause of ilcalli from snakebite, It Is extremely 
toxic. The venom of ihls rattlesnake has minor local 
elTecl bill very grave systemic syiiiptoms. These in- 
clude blindness, paralysis of the neck miis<'les, cessa- 
tion of brcalliing and heartbeat, and llnally death. 

This venom does not appear to form adeipiate anti- 
bndics in horses, so that enornunis amounts of ariti- 
vcniii are needed to counteract the effects of llic bile 
of a siiiiUc of average dimensions. Ten ampules (100 
ml. I would In be an average initial dose, and 
20 or more may be used. 

.Vnlivenins ar<' produced by llic Insliliilo Itutantan and 
liistilulo l'iiilicir<is. liiazil, and Wyclh, Inc., I'hila- 

Aruba Rattlesnake, Cfo/nhis iinicoh/r Lidfli de 

liliiili/icdtiijii : \ gray or gray-brown rattlesnake 
which is unicolor, (jr wilh a faint pattern of rhomb- 

FiGUUE 44. — Aruba Rattlesnake, ('rottilns uiiicohir. This 
faded relative of the cascabel occurs only on the 
island of Aruba. Photo by New York Zoological 


shaped blotches (diamonds) down the back; the only 
venomous snake on Aruba Island. Body stout and 
somewhat depressed. Adults average 2 to 3 feet ; maxi- 
mum length a little less than 3S inches (O.'iO mm.; Klau- 
ber, 19.j6), 

Body gray or light gray-brown with lS-28 faintly 
darker rhomb-shaped blotches down the back; blotches 
sometimes almost indistinguishable. A lateral series 
of ob.solete blotches that alternate with or oppose the 
dorsal series. I'sually a distinct pair of parallel stripes 
on the rear part of the head ; these may continue as 
stripes on the neck. White or cream-colored below. 

Dorsals strongly keeled, in 25-27 rows at midbody, 


South America and the West Indies 

fewer posteriorly. Ventrals 15r)-169 ; subcaiulals 22-31. 

Diatrihiitioii: FouucI only on the island of Aruba, in 
the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. 

Remarks: This is a dwarfed and li>;ht-colored rela- 
tive of the cascabel iCrotaliis duriKsiis) . It is not 
aggressive but ready to defend itself. Nothing is known 
of its venom but the close relationship with the cascabel 
.suggests that it is capable of a dangerous bite in spite 
of its small size. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Lachesis Daudin, 1803. 

A single species, />. iindiix. is found in tropical Amer- 
ica. It attains a length of 9 to 12 feet and is considered 
dangerous ( see pp. ."(>-."i7 ) . 

Definition: Head bmad. ver.v distinct from narrow 
neck; snout broadly rounded, no canthus, Hody cylin- 
drical, tapered, moderately stout ; tail short. 

Eyes snuill : pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales: A pair of small intcnuisals separated 
from one another liy small scales; a pair of narrow 
supraoculars; other parts of crown covered with very 
small scales. Laterally, second supralabial forms an- 
terior border of loreal pit, third very large ; eye sei)a- 
rated liom supralabials by 4— ."> rows of small scales. 

Body scales: Dorsals heavil.v keeled with bidbous 
tubercles, feebly imbricate, in 31-37 nonobliipte rows 
at niidbody, fewer posteriorly. Ventrals 200-2.30; sub- 
caudals mainly i)aired. 32-."0. followed by 13-17 rows of 
small spines and a Iciiiiiiial spine dig. .32). 


(See aI><o (ioicral A'efcrences) 

A.MAIJAL, Afiaiiio do. 11)25. A General Con- 
sideration of Snake Poisoninfj and Oliserva- 
tions on Neotro[)ica1 Pit-Vi))ers. Contr. Har- 
vard Inst. Tropical Biol. Med., 2 : CA p., 
16 pis. 

AMARAL, Afranio do. l'.):]0. Lista renii.ssiva 

dos ophidios da regiao neotropica. Mem. 

Inst. Butantan, 4: 127-271. 
DUNN, Emmett E. 1944. Los genereos de an- 

fibios y reptiles de Colombia, III. Tercera 

Pai-te: Reptiles; orden de las serpientes. 

Caldasia, 3 (12) : 155-224. 
FOXSECA, Flavio da. 1949. Animais pecon- 

hentos. Publ. Inst. Butantan, Sao Paulo. 

376 p., 129 figs., 13 color pis. 
1 1( )( ! K. Alplionse R. 1965. Prelimintiry Account 

on Xe()lroi)ical Crottilinae (Serpentes, Vi- 

l>eridae). Mem. Inst. Butantan 32:109-184, 

pis. 1-20, maps 1-10. 
E.VZELL. James I)., Jr. 1964. The Les.ser An- 

tilleaii Kepresentatives of /iof/iro/>s and 

Con.strictor. \^\\\\. Mils. Comp. Zool., l.")2 

(:'>) : 24."')-27:',. ligs. 1-.^. 
.MOF.K. i;. 11. I'.iL'l. Tlie Trinidad Snakes. 

I'roc. Zool. Soc. London: 235-278, pis. 1-10. 
I'K TERS, James A. 196(1. The Snakes of Ecua- 
dor: .\ Clieck List and Key. Bull. Mus. 

Comp. Zool., 122 (9) : 491-541. 
ROZE, Janis A. 1955. Revision de las corales 

(Serpentes: Elapidae) de Venezuela. Acta 

Biol. Venezuelica, 1 (art. 17) : 453-500, 4 figs. 

(2 color). 
ROZE, Janis .V. 196(i. La Tti.xonomia y Zoogeo- 

grafiii de los ofidios de Venezuela. Lniversi- 

dad Central de Venezuela, Caracas. 362 ])p. 

79 tigs., SO majis. 
SAXDXER MOXTILLA, F. 1965. Manual de las 

serpientes ponzonosas de Venezuela. (Pub. 

by author) Caracas. 108 p. 69 figs., 9 col. pis. 
SAXTOS, Eurico. 1955. Anfibios e repteis do 

Brasil (vida e costumes). 2nd ed. F. Bri- 

guiet & Cia., Rio de Janeiro. 262 p., 65 figs., 

10 color pis. 



Poiionouj Snok«j of the World 


Section 4 

Definition of the Region: 
Entire continent of Europe. European Russia {liussian Soviet Federated 
Socialist Republic) and the Mediterranean islands, the Vkranian SSR and the 
Autonomous Soviet Republics north of the Caucasus and west of the 
Volga River. 



Map of the region '3 

Introduction '3 

Distribution Chart >" 

Key to Genera '" 


Vipera '* 


Agkisfrodo7i '^ 

References '" 


Poisonous Snakas of (/)• Wor/d 


















■)an)| uiMloing 

-r ■ ; 

CO 1 >^ ^ 1 CO CO CO a 


y. ! ^ i ] i t^' i i 

.UHJnx uB3«lojnj V riji!»|nq 

t^ \ ^ \ \ \ y^ it 

(snjd.<3 i» jopiii3X3) sjMjg 


1 1 1 1 II 1 

(pUC|U!l!(V) 0M3J9 

^ i i i i i 

1 1 1 1 II 1 
i 1 1 1 ] 1 1 ] 

Eiurqiv V ri vcjsoSn^ 

y y y \ \ \ y, \ \ 


g y y, \ \\ y \ 

IcStUJOj -v "I'^dg 

^ M ^ 


^ y \ \ \ ^ \ 


\ 1 >< 1 ! 1 ^ i i 

pueijazii.tts ?ff EiJlsny 

ill >< ^ Ms 


1 i ^ i 1 i ■"■ i i 

tuniSpg 'spuEijaqjaM ■iuemisQ 


' i ^ i i i ' i i 

pUE|UtJ ^ C|AEUepUE3S 

X i 

(puEpJl jd3:)X3) S3|SI qsilijg 

1 111! 1 

Vipera ammodytes 

Vipera aspis 

Vipera berus 

Vipera kaznakovi 

Vipera latasti 

Vipera lebetina 

Vipera iirsiiiii 

Vipera xanthina 

Agkistrodon lialys 

a I' 

- '^■ 



t4 *- 


a o 




Europe has comparatively few species of native 
snakes. This reflects the generally cool, present- 
day climate, tlie scarcity of suital)le habitats for 
snakes, and the geologic history of glaciation that 
eliminated all reptiles from mucli of the continent 
some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Poisonous 
snakes in Europe tend to be quite local and spotty 
in distribution, especially toward the north. The 
hai'dwood and evergi'een forests that originally 
covered much of the continent were never good 
liabitats for snakes. Centuries of intensive agri- 
culture and more recent industrialization have 
furtlier reduced the suitable habitats. In spite 
of tliis, i)oisonous snakes may be locally plentiful. 
In Scandinavia and Finland, the European viper 
ranges sliglitly above the Arctic Circle — farther 
north than any other known species of snake. In 
Finland during the sunnner of lOfi], Ifi.'? snake- 
lutes were re[)orted. One physician in Corn- 
wall, England, saw 18 cases of adder bite be- 
I ween 1952 and ll)r)0. The eastern Mediterranean 
region has the greatest number of venomous 
snakes and the dangerous species. 

All the Eui'opean |>oisonous snakes are vipers 
and present a strikingly similar appearance. 
They are small to medium-sized snakes of mod- 
erately stout build with shoi't tails. In distin- 
guishing them from noni)oisonous snakes, note 
that the eye is separated from the upper li}) 
sliields by one or moiv small scales (exce])t in the 
single species of pit viper Aghi-strodon Inifi/s) and 
the pupil is elliptical. In most European non- 
])oisonous snakes the eye touches the u])i)er lip 
shields and the ])upil is round. The only excep- 
tions to both these rules are the little boas of the 

genus Eryx; they are easily recognized by their 
small ventrals. In distinguishing one species of 


Soctifiii 4. Eiirii|io. 

viper from another, note particidarly the shape 
of the snout and the presence or absence of en- 
larged shields on the toj) of the head. Body 
.scales are keeled in all the European vipers. 

The common vipers of Europe feed largely 
U|)on lizards and small inannuals. They are all 

Antivenins against venoms of the conunon 
vipeis of Europe are pi'oihiced by the Institut 
Pasteur, Paris; Behringwerke, MarburgLahn, 
Germany; Institufo Sieroterai)ico e Vaccinogeno 
Toscano, Siena, Italy; and the Institute for Ini- 
nnuiology, Zagreb, Yugoslavia {Y'tpcra nmmo- 
(lytcK only). 


1. A. Nine large crown shields (fig. (>) ; eye in contact with 

upper lip shields 2 

B. Crown shields 6 or fewer or broken up into small scales; 

eye sejiarated from lip shields 3 

2. A. Loreal pit present (fig. 4) Agkktrodon 

B. Loreal pit absent NP* 

3. A. Ventrals extend full width of belly (fig. 9A) Vipeni 

B. Ventrals do not extend full width of belly (fig. 9B) XP 

• NP = Nonpolsonous 


Poisonous Snakos of the World 


N'i'iiiiiii ylflil siiiull liiit vi'iiiiiii iiT rnli'ly liiuli luxiiily. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Vipera Laurenti, 1768. 
Triu- luldi'is. 

KU'vi'ii species me rcinKiii/.ril. 'I'lils is an cspcciiilly 
rnriiilile Kronp, witli smiu- incinlit'i's tliiit aro small and 
relatively liinocuims le.u.. 1'. hiriix) and others that are 
extremely dnuKeruiis (1'. Icbttina, \'. n(.i.w(7ii). They 
ari' found from northern Kurasia thrmiKliout tliat con- 
tinent and into nortli Afriia. (»ne species ranK*'s inl" 
tlie Kast Indies (T. nin.silii) , and two are found in 
east Africa (see Remarlvs under I'. mipvrciliariK) . 

Dvflnit'wn: Head hrond, distinct from narrow neck; 
canthus distinct. Body cylindrical, varyini; from moder- 
ately slender to stout ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size to snuill ; ]Hipils vertically el- 

Head scales: X'ariahle: one sjiecies ( r. urshiii) has 
all crown scutes, most species have at least the sn- 
praooilars. but even these are absent in one (V. Icbc- 
tiiia) : head otherwise covered with small scales. Later- 
ally, nasal In contact with rostral or separated by a 
single enlarged scale (the nasorostral), eye separated 
from supralabials by 1-4 rows of small scales. 

Body scales: Dorsals keeled, with ajiical pits, in 19- 
31 nonobliipie rows at midbody. Ventrals rounded, 120- 
180; subcaudals paired, li()-(>4. 

European Viper, Vipera hems (Linnaeus). 

hhntificutidii: Head distinct from neck but ovoid 
rather than distinctly trianfcular ; snout blunt, fiat, not 
upturned ; top of head with 5 large smooth shields. 

Ground color pale gray, olive or yellow to russet or 
brown, the darker colors generall.v in females. Down 
the entire length of the back runs a black or dark 
brown zigzag line rarely broken into spots for all or 
part of its length and even more rarel.v straight edged. 
Top of head behind eyes with a dark "X"- — or chevron 
— mark ; belly pale gray with darker .suffusion. Uni- 
formly black or very dark brown individuals are seen 
especially in some mountainous regions. 

Average length 19 to 24 inches, maximum .'54 inches ; 
females larger than males. 

Distribiiiio)i: The only poisonous snake of northern 
Europe where it is widely distributed ; in central and 
southern Europe largely confined to mountains where it 
occurs to at least 9.000 feet elevation. It ranges com- 
pletel.v across northern A.sia to the Russian island of 
Sakhalin and northern Korea. In the north usually 
found in dr.v open sunny places — moors, old fields, brushy 
hillsides and openings in the forest. In the south more 
prevalent on rocky hillsides and about the edges of 
mountain forests. 

Rcmark.s: Xoeturnal during warm weather : diurnal 
in cool ; has considerable tolerance for cold and may 
be seen basking near patches of snow. Disposition 
generally timid, but strikes quickly and rejieatedl.v when 
cornered or suddenly alarmed. 

FicUKi; 1."). — Head scales of European Viijyr, Viiicra 
bcnis. The broken-up crown shields on the snout are 
characteristic of this species. (See also plate II, fig. 
1.) Redrawn from Maki, 1931. 

Asp Viper, Vipera aspis (Linnaevis). 

Idoitifiration: Head more triangular than in Euro- 
pean viper, snout slightly but distinctly upturned at tip ; 
shields on crown fragmented, usually only 2 or 3 en- 

Color similar to Euro[iean viper but generally more 
apt to be reddish or brown ; pattern of dark spots more 
or less fused, sometimes forming zigzag band; dark 
head mark not well defined; belly dark gray with 
lighter flecks ; underside of tail tip yellow or orange. 

Figure 46. — Asp Viper, Vipera asijis. 
Hunt Conant. 

Photo by Isabelle 

Size about the same as European viper, 18 to 24 
inches ; males average larger than females. 

Distribution: The western part of southern Europe. 
Found mostly in hill.y or mountainous country to an 
altitude of 7,800 feet in the Pyrenees. 

Remarks: Disposition generally more sluggish than 
European viper. Venom of about the same toxicity. 

Snub-nosed Viper, Vipera latastl Bosca. 
Identification: Similar to the asp viper but snout 
more upturned and pointed, its anterior surface formed 



only from the rostral : shields of crown much fragmented 
and usually not symmetrical. 

Color as in the other two species ; zigzag dorsal line 
prominent and well defined. 

Size about the same as the European viper. 

Distrihutiftn: The Iberian Peninsula and northwest 
Africa. Found in lowlands and at moderate elevations 
usually in open .sandy or rocky terrain. 

Remarks: Little known of the venom, but it is not 
believed to be a particularly dangerous species. 

Long-nosed Viper, Vipera ammodytes (Linnaeus). 

Identification: Most readily identified by the snout 
which terminates in a strongly upturned appendage, its 
anterior surface formed from several small scales ; crown 

Figure 47. — Long-nosed Viper, Viijcra aiiunodytcs. 
PlK)to by New York Zoological Society. 

covered by small scales of irregular size and arrange- 

Color ash-gray, yellow, pale orange, coppery or brown- 
ish ; zig-zag dorsal line very prominent ; pattern more 
vivid in male; head without distinct dorsal markings; 
belly yellow or brownish more or less heavily clouded 
with dark gray ; tail tip orange or reddish. 

Average length 2o to 30 inches ; maximum about 3G 
inches. Males are larger than females. 

Distribution: Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. 
Inhabits dry hilly country for the most part between 
2,000 and 5,.")00 feet elevation. It prefers rocky slopes 
I)articularly where there are outcrops of limestone. 

Remarks: Largely nocturnal but may be active by 
day in cool weather. Sometimes climbs onto bushes 
to bask in the sun. Rather sedentary and retiring in 
habits but quick to strike. It is generally thought to 
be the most dangerous of the European vipers. The 
venom Is quite toxic and apparently varies considerably 
in composition over the range of the species. 

Two large vipers just enter European territory, the 
Ottoman viper {Vipera xa)ithina) near Istanbul and the 

Levantine viper (Vipera lehctina) on some of the 
eastern Mediterranean islands. ( For descriptions of 
these species, see page 111 and page 112.) 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Agkisfrodon Beauvois, 1799. 
^loccasins and Asian pit vipers. 

Twelve species are recognized. Three of these are in 
Xorth and Central America ; the others are in Asia, 
with one species. A. haUjs (Pallas) ranging westward to 
southeastern Europe. The American copperhead (A. 
contortrix) and the Eurasian mamushi and its relatives 
{A. halys) seldom inflict a serious bite, but A. acutus 
and A. rhodostoma of soutlieastern Asia, as well as the 
cottonmouth (A. piseivonis) of the southeastern United 
States are dangerous species. 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck; a sharply-distinguished canthus. Body 
cylindrical or depressed, tapered, moderately stout to 
stout ; tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown in most 
species ; internasals and prefrontals broken up into 
small scales in some Asian forms ; a pointed nasal ap- 
I)endage in some. Laterally, loreal pit separated from 
labials or its anterior border formed by second supra- 
labial. Loreal scale present or absent. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth (in .4. rhodostoma only) 
or keeled, with apical pits, in 17-27 nonoblique rows. 
Ventrals 125-174 ; subeaudals single anteriorly or paired 
throughout, 21-68. 

Pallas' Viper, Agkistrodon halys (Pallas). 

Identification: The loreal pit distinguishes this spe- 
cies from all other snakes of Europe and central Asia. 
Presence of !) large head shields and contact of at least 
one sui)ralal)ial with the eye. distinguish it from other 
vipers of that region. The pit and generally viperine 

Figure 48. — Pallas' Viper, Agkistrodon halys interme- 
dins. Si>ecimen from Uzbek, U. S. S. R. Photo by 
Sherman A. Minton. (Preserved specimen) 


Poisonous Snakoi of the World 

lintly furm illsiiiiKulsli It fii'iu 111!' roiiiimiiilivcly frw 
iii>ii|)ul!M>m>tiM siiiikt's wllliiii its riMiKi'. 

Ciilor yi'lli)\vlsli. tail or Kra.vlsh wllli many ilai-k hrowii 
or Krny >'rossliamls alli'i'iiatliiK wlOi spots on llit> sUIrs 
or with crossliaiuls aiitl spots fushiK to iirodiuo nn ir- 
r«>Kul»r m'twork; lit-lly rrcaiii to yellow with line hlaik 
piinctatiim csporlally toward the tail; lop of head with 
ilark spot nhove t'adi eye and at iiapo; tip of tall yiilow- 
ish. AveraKO IciiKth 2'J to 2H Inches; niaximuin about 
;{.'i liu-hes. 

nintribiition: A characteristif snake of the vast cpn- 
triil Asian steppe where It occurs in grassland and 
ilesert ; often abundant around ro<ky bluffs that prob- 
ably are hiberiuitint: dens. Uantie in Europe restricted 
to the region between the Vol^a and the Vrals; found 
eastward to southern Siberia and Mongolia. 

Remarks: Largely luxturnal : rests dtirin« day be- 
neath stones or shr\d)s. Bites by this snake are not 
infrequent, but fatalities are rare. 

This account deals chiefly with Ankistnidon h. Iiali/s. 
A.h. rdrapaiiim, a»(J A.h. intcrmctliiiii. The races of A. 
hiiljiH in the Far East are treated elsewhere. 


III:LI,.M1( 11, Waller. iu:,(\. Die, r.uiTJio, iiTul 
iCiicrliliei'o Kiii-o])as. Call Winter: ircidcl- 
hi'fj;. |i|i. I ICC, pis. l-fift (color), fi^r.s. 1-!). 

MKiri'KNS, K..i,erl and H. WKU-NFl'TII. Utf.O. 
Die .\ini)liil)icii uiid Roplilicii Eiii-opiis. Drit- 
le Disie n;i(li dciii Stand vn\\\ 1. .Tanuar 1000. 
Waldeinar Kramer: Frank i'lirt-ain-^rain, xi 
+ 204 pp., fifrs. 1-15. 

SCinVARZ, E. 19:!0. rniersnclniiifren nln-r 
Systeniatik und Verhrcitung der europai- 
.sclien und nu'diterraiu'U Ottcrn. Behrinf^- 
werk-Mitteilun<;: Marburg-La! m, \ol. 7, i)p. 
159-?,02, pi. 1. 

TEKEXTJEV, P. V. and S. A. CERNOV. 194!). 
Apredelitelj Presmykajusclicichsja i Semno- 
wodnyoh. [Distribution of Reptiles and 
Ampbibians] Tbird Ed. [in Russian] Gov- 
ernment Printing Office: Moscow, 339 pp., 
123 figs., 37 maps. 



Section 5 

Definition of the Region: 
Includes the nations of Mauritaniii. Sj^mi-sh Sahara, Mali, Niger, Morocco, 
Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt (United Arab Republic). 



Map of the region (9 

Introduction 79 

Distribution Chart T8 

Key to Genera (9 


Elapsoidea 80 

Naja 80 

Walte7'i7Wiesia 81 


Atractaspis 81 

Bitis 82 

Caitsus 82 

Cerastes 82 

Echis 83 

Vipcra 8-4 

References 84 


Poiionoui Snakes of Ibo World 
























, . . , . ^. ... 
t £*• c*. [ 1 «*• o. e*. e*. 1 £*• 1 ^ *Z 


ixw |w>^w;?;>5K|| 


w^wl |aj>^a2^^xi] 


wwwl l«3a!a!><!XKl;| 

BjEncg qsiucds 

klii |l><ik!>^><|i^ 


jw llMit^f-^ll^j^ 


iKJi illlcowwzt^ 


i !^ i i i i ^ i X >^ >< i i 


\ t< \ \ 1 i 1 M >^ X i i S5 

(IdXa^) Diiqnda^ q^jy pajiufi 

Kwg |||1><><xh| 


Elapsoidea sundevallii 

Naja haje 

Naja nigricollis 

Walteriiinesia aegyptia 

Atractaspis engaddensis 

Atractaspis microlepidota 

Bitis arietans 

Caiisus rtiombeatus 

Cerastes cerastes 

Cerastes vipera 

Echis carinatus 

Echis coloratus 

Vipera latasti 

Vipera mauritanica 

O 3 

1^ a 

= & 



North Africa 


Africa from the southern edge of the Sahara 
nortliward is a vast region where tlie dominant 
theme is heat and aridity. This is mitigated only 
along the Mediterranean coast, in high mountains 
such as the Atlas range, and along the great river 
valleys and oases. 

The snake fauna contains few species partly 
because of the rigors of the climate, and partly 
because most of the desert is new and there has 
been insufficient time for the evolution and spread 
of a specialized desert snake fauna. The distri- 
bution of snake species in northern Africa is not 
well known. There are probably a number of 
tropical African species that invade locally along 
the large rivers in the southern part of the re- 
gion. Only a few of the species are found pri- 
marily in the desert; the majority occur around 
zones of irrigation or natural water supply. 
This increases the hazard of snakebite to the rural 

people ; however, the incidence of such accidents is 
unknown. Egypt in the years 1944-48 reported 

Map 6. — Section ."«. Nortli .\frka. 


1. A. Crown of head covered with small irregular scales; 

pupil of eye vertically elliptical 7 

B. Crown of head covered with large shields; pupil 

round or elliptical 2 

2. A. Loreal plate present 3 

B. Loreal plate absent 4 

3. A. Lateral scales rectangular and oblique; top of head 

with dark chevron marking (plate VIII, fig. 4) Causus rhombeatus 
B. Without the above combination of characters NP* 

4. A. Eye very small, snout pointed, all subcaudals 

undivided Atractaspis 

B. Without the above combination of characters 5 

5. A. All dorsal scales smooth 6 

B. Posterior dorsal scales keeled; anal plate divided WaUerinnesia 

6. A. Scale rows at midbody more than 15 ; hood seen 

in life Naja 

B. Scale rows at midbody usually 1.'5; no hood Elupspidea 

T. A. Lateral scales oblique with serrated keels 8 

B. Lateral scales like dorsals 9 

8. A. Subcaudals single; ventrals not keeled Echis 

B. Subcaudals paired; ventrals keeled Cerastes 

9. A. Ventrals extending full width of belly 10 

B. Ventrals not extending full width of belly NP 

10. A. Body pattern of chevron-shaped crossbands; 

nostrils dorsal Bitis 

B. Body pattern not as above; nostrils lateral Vipera 

• NP = Nonpoisonous 


Poisonout Snakoi of iho Wor/J 

•J(> to K* simk»>l)iUMli>iitlis iiiimiiillv ; tlic true (i^^uic 
is |>i'(il>iil>ly lii;;lu'r. 

'I'lio iiiost iiupoi'laiil poisonous simkos of ikhiIi 
Africa iii'o vipiM's; cobras occur Iml apparciilly 
play a iniiior role in snaUchile acciilouls. 


ELAPIDAE: Genus f/opso/deo Bocage, 1866. 
A lihan eaiicr snakes. 

.V siliylo species (/■,'. kiiikIiiiiIIH ) wilh 11 «e<«i-iililiic 
laie.s is currently recojjiii/.ed (See p. '.M i. 11 ranges ovcf 
most iif tropical and soulhern Africa except for I lie 
Cape region. It attains a lentitli of .'? to 4 feel and is 
polentiall.v dannerons. However, it is sluc^isli and in- 
otTensive and bites only in self-defense. This spe<ies 
enters the southern part of this region (see plate VIII, 
fit?. 3). 

Difiiiitiiiii: Head of aio<lcr;ile size. ncp| dislinct from 
neck; an indistinct cantluis. liody niodcralcly slender, 
<ylindrical ; tail very short. 

Kyea snniU ; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual t) on the crown; rostral en- 
larged, obtusely pointed ; internasals short. Laterally, 
nasal in narrow contact with sinnle preocular. 

Hody scales: Dorsals smooth and rounded, in 13 rows 
at niidbody. Ventrals 13.S-1.S4; anal plate entire; sub- 
candals paired (a few sometimes sint;le) 1.3-2!). 

Maxillary teeth : Two large tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal groove followed, after an interspace, by 2—1 small 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Naja Laurenti, 1768. 
( 'nl>ras. 

Six species are recognized; all are African except the 
Asiatic cobra, Naja naja, and range tlironghont the 
African continent except for the drifting sand areas of 
the Sahara region. They are snalies of moderate (4 
feet) to large (8 feet) size, with large fangs and toxic 
venom. The species A'. iiif/ricolUs ".spits" its venom at 
the eyes of an aggressor ; it is found in the southern 
part of the region of north Africa. The Egyptian cobra 
iXuju hajc) and the western subspecies of the Asiatic 
cobra [Xaja naju oxiana) are found in the Xear and 
Middle East region. 

Definition: Head rather broad, flattened, only slightly 
distinct from neck ; snout rounded, a distinct canthus. 
Body moderatel.v slender, slightly dei)ressed. tapered, 
neck capable of expansion into hood ; tail of moderate 

Eyes ni'iderate in size; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; frontal 
short ; rostral rounded. Laterally, nasal In contact with 
the one or two preoculars. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in 17-25 oblique rows 

III nildliody, usually iii"ic on ilie neck, fewer ixisleriorly. 
\'enlrals ird) 232; iiniil pliile entire; subcaiidiils 42-H8, 
mostly jialred. 

Maxillary teeth: Two rather large tubular fangs 
\\ilh external grooves followed, after iin Interspace, by 
.'I smilll leeth. 

Egyptian Cobra, .^''/'' Imji I I ,iiiii;it'iis). 

Idiiiti/lfiiliuii : Hody form lyplcally cobra like — .short 
wid(' head, nol, dislinct from neck; body moderately 
stout but graceful with even taper and moderately long 
tail; scales smooth with dull sheen, scale rows strongly 
oblique especially on forebody ; nnal plate entire; sub- 
caudals paired. 

A useful point in ideal iliiat ion of cobras and cobra- 
liUe \-enomous snakes (elapidsi is Ihe alisence of llie 
loreal shield so that the shield bordering or enclosing 
the nostril touches the shield that borders the eye 
anteriorly (the preocular). The loreal is present in 
most nonpoisfinous snakes, and absent most often in 
small burrowing or secretive types. The Egyptian cobra 
may be distinguished from other African cobras by the 
presence of small subocular scales separating the eye 
from the upiier labials. 

Color exlremely variable. Adiill snakes from Egypt 
and Libya may be brownish yellow, dark brown, or 
almost black : the head and neck are almost always a 
little dai-ker; below yellowish becoming suffused with 

Figure 49. — Egyptian Cobra, Xajn hajc. Photo by Isa- 
belle Hunt Conant. (See also plale VIII, tig. 7.) 

brown ; dark bars across neck at level of hood. Young 
yellowish ; head and neck black ; body crossed by wide 
dark bands. Adult snakes from .southern Morocco are 
black above; purplish red with black bars and mottling 

A large cobra, maximum length about 8 feet ; average 
5 to C feet. 

Distribution: Occurs throughout the northern three- 
quarters of Africa exclusive of the rain forest ; also 
found in the western and southern parts of the Arabian 

Found in a great variety of habitats such as flat land 
with scrubby bushes and grass clumps ; irrigated flelds, 
rocky hillsides, old ruins and in the vicinity of villages. 


North Africa 

It aviiids pxtreme desert situations and also permanently 
moist ones. Like many snakes it often makes its home 
in abandoned rodent burrows. 

It em arks: AVhile there are reports of aggressive be- 
havior by Egyptian cobras, this is exceptional. They 
seem to be rather timid snakes and often make little 
effort to defend themselves. The hood is not so wide as 
in the Indian cobra. 

The cobra tyjie of defense with the body raised high 
off tlie ground and neck spread is impressive and help- 
ful in recognition of these snakes when they are alive. 
It is important to remember, however, that cobras may 
bite without spreading the hood and occasionally may 
spread the hood without rearing up the forebody. It 
should also be noted that many unrelated nonpoisonous 
snakes in various parts of the world spread the neck 
and forebody. 

The venom is of about the same degree of toxicity as 
that of the Indian cobra. If Cleopatra really used one 
of Egypt's snakes as an instrument of suicide, this 
species would have been a wise choice. Antivenin 
against venom of this cobra is (jroduced by the Institut 
Pasteur, Paris, and BehringwcrUc, Marliurg-Lahn, Ger- 

This cobra i.s the sacred snake (I'raeus) of ancient 
Egy])t and is probably the snake known as asp to the 
classical writers of Greece and Home. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Walterinnesia Lataste, 1887. 
Desert blaok snake. 

A single species, ir. a en y jit in. is known fmm the 
de.sert regions of Egypt to Iran. It is relatively large, 
3 to 4 feet, and is probably a dangerous species. 

Drfinitiiin: Head relatively broad, flattened, distinct 
from neck; snout broad, a distinct cant litis. Body cylin- 
drical and tapered, moderately slender: tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown; rostral 
broad. Laterall.v, nasal in contact with single elongate 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth at midbod.v, feebly 
keeled posteri(nly, in 2.3 rows at midbody, more (27) 
anteriorly. Ventrals 189-197; anal plate divided; sub- 
caudals 45—18. first 2-8 single, remainder paired. 

Maxillary teeth : Two large tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal grooves followed, after an interspare. by 0-2 small 

Desert Black Snake, Wiilfrri>u}psla aegyptin Lu- 

Itlriitiftcatiiiii : A moderately stout snake with short 
tail and small head not distinct from neck : crown with 
large shields. The following combination of scale char- 
acters is useful in distinguishing this species from non- 
poisonous snakes and cobras : 1. Loreal plate absent ; 

2. Dorsal scales smooth anteriorly, keeled posteriorly ; 

3. Anal plate divided ; 4. Some single subcaudals. al- 
though most are paired. 

Adults uniformly black or very dark brown or gra.v 

above, a little paler vent rally. Young, in Iran at least, 
have narrow light crossbands. 

Average length 3 to 3^j feet ; maximum a little over 
4 feet. 

Distribution: Egypt and the nations of the Near and 
Middle East. Reported most frequently from gardens, 
oases and irrigated areas ; also inhabits barren rocky 
mountain hillsides and sandy desert with sparse bushes. 
A rather rare snake. 

Remarks: Does not rear up or spread hood but when 
annoyed may strike more than half its length. The 
high gloss of its scales helps to distinguish this species 
from the duller Egyptian cobra. 

Toxicity of the venom for experimental animals Is 
about the same as that of the Indian cobra but quantity 
is considerably less (about 20 mg. vs. 50 to 100 mg. ). 
There is no antivenin available. 

Figure 50. — Desert Black Snake. Wattcri>i7icsia acgyptia. 
The highly glossy scales help to differentiate this 
snake from other dark species within its range. 
Photo courtesy Standard Oil Company. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Atradaspis Smith, 1949. 
Mule vipers. 

Sixteen species are currently recognized. All are Afri- 
can except for A. engaddcnsis Haas (which ranges from 
Egypt to Israel) and .1. microlcpidota (which is found 


Poisonous Snolces of ihe World 

III llic siiiillit'l'li piil'l i>t' III)- Al'illililli I'l-liilisiilii IIS well ii> 
lliroimh iiiiii'li uf nurt Ill-Ill ami rciilnil Afrini). All ari' 
small smikt's, Irss lliaii .'I feet In li-iinlli. Ilowfvi'r. tlii-y 
have larm- faims (wlilili look i-iiorim>iis In tlioir small 
moiillisi and art- capalili' of inlliitliiK st-riotiH Mies l<> 
tlinst- picking llicm up or sU-ppliiK on tlicni with liari> 
rict (sw p. l>!»). 

Drfttiitiiin: Head short and conical, iiol distinct from 
nt-ck. no canthiis; snout hroatl. Ilallfncd. often pointed. 
llody cylindrical, slendfr in small individuals, stmit in 
laritK ones; tail short. I'lidin;; in a disliiict spine. 

Kyes very small ; impils round. 

Head scales: The usual D crown scales, rostral en- 
larged, extendiii); lietweeii Interna.snls to some degree, 
often pointeil ; frontal large and broad, supraoculars 
small. Laterally, nasal in contact with single preocular 
(no loreal). usually one postocnlar. 

Hody scales: Dorsals smooth willmui apical pits, in 
r.>-.'?7 nonohliipie rows at midtioily. \eiitrals ITS .'?7<t: 
anal plate entire or divided (the <inly viperid snake willi 
divided anal plates I ; sulicaudals single or paired, IS ,'!!). 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Bitis Gray, 1842. 

A I 

iicaii \ ipiTS. 

Ten speeies are found in tropical and southern Africa. 
They include the largest of the true vii)ers (Viperidae) 
as well as some small and moderately sized ones; all 
of the memhers of the genus are dangerous, some of 
them exeremly so. The puff adder, liitix iirirtdnx. is 
found widely thnnigli the region (see ii. 101 ). 

Definition: Head broad and very distinct from nar- 
row neck ; snovit short, a distinct canthus. Body some- 
what depressed, moderately to extremely stout; tail 

Eyes small ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : No enlarged plate.s on crown, covered 
with small scales. Some species have enlarged and erect 
scales on snout or above eye. Laterally, rostral sepa- 
rated from nasal by (in Ii. irnrtliinf;toni) to 6 (in 
some Ii. nii-^iirornis) rows of small scales, eye separated 
from supralahials by 2-."> rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled with apical pits, in 21- 
40 nonoblique or slightly oblique rows at midbody, fewer 
anteriorly and posteriorly. Ventrals rounded or with 
faint lateral keels, 112-1.J.3 ; sulicaudals paired, laterally 
keeled in some species, 16-37. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Cousus Wagler, 1830. 

Night udders. 

Four .species are found in troiiical and southern Africa. 
None attains a length of over 3 feet. The fangs are 
relatively small, and the venom is rather mildly toxic. 
They look surprisingly like nonpoisonous snakes. Night 
adders are not considered dangerous to life but their 
bite is painful and venomous. The rhombic night ad- 
der. C. rlioDibcatns, enters the southern part of this re- 
gion (p. 102). 

lUfinitiiin: Head inoderale Iti size, fairly distinct 
from neck, an obtuse ciinlhus. Itody cylindrical or 
slightly depressed, moderately slender; tail short. 

Kyes moderate In size; pupils round. 

Mead sciiles: The usual '.I cinw a scales; rostral 
broad, sometimes pointed and upturned; frontal long. 
suprnoculars large. Laterally, a loreal present, separat- 
ing nasal and iM-eo<'ulars ; siiboculars lu-eseut, separating 
eye from labials. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth or weakly keeled, with 
apical pits, In l.')-22 ohlhpie rows at midbody, fewer 
(11-14) posteriorly. Ventrals roundcil. KM) l.'i.'i; sub- 
caudals single or paired, 10-.33. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Cerastes Laurenti, 1768. 



Two species are recognized; both are restricted to the 
desert regions of northern Africa and western Asia. 
Xeither is a large species; I lie bite is painful but usually 
not serious. 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
neck ; snout very short and broad, canthus indistinct. 
Body depressed, tapered, moderately slender to stout; 
tail short. 

Eyes small to iiKJderate in size; jiupils vertically el- 

Head scales: Head covered with small irregiUar. 
tubercularl.v-keeled scales; a large erect, ribbed horn- 
like scale often present above the eye; no other enlarged 
scales on crown. Laterally, nasal separated from rostral 
by 1-3 rows of small scales; eye separated from supra- 
laliials by .S-r> rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals with apical pits, large and 
heavily keeled on back, smaller laterall.v, oblique, with 
serrated keels, in 2.3-3."> rows at midbody. A'entrals 
with lateral keel. 102-1(>.T ; subcaudals keeled posteriorly, 
all paired, 18-12. 

African Desert Horneid Viper, Cerctfttes cerastes 
niriitifieatioii : Many individuals of this species have 


Figure 51. — African Desert Horned Viper, Cerastes 
cerastes. Photo by Zoological Society of San Diego. 


North Africa 

a long spinelike horn above the eye ; in some, however, 
this is short or absent. Body form is typically viperine 
with wide triangular head, thick body, and short tail 
tapering abruptly behind vent. Top of head covered 
with small scales ; subcaudals paired ; ventrals feebly 
keeled ; 15 or more scales across top of head ; more than 
130 ventrals. 

Ground color yellowish, pale gray, pinkish or pale 
brown with rows of dark brown, blackish or bluish 
spots that may fuse into crossbars ; below whitish, tip of 
tail black. 

Average length 20 to 2~> inches; maximum about 30 

Distribtitidit: The Sahara region and Arabian Penin- 
sula ; parts of the Middle East. 

Inhabits deserts where there are rock outcroppings 
and fine sand, often in very arid places; however, oases 
are not avoided. It usually hides in rodent holes and 
under stones. 

Remarks: Chiefly active at night. Like many desert 
snakes, it often uses the sidewinding type of locomo- 
tion. When angered it rubs inflated loops of its body 
together to make a rasping hiss as does the saw-scaled 
viper (Echis). 

It is not a particularly bad tempered or dangerous 
snake, although it is inclined to stand its ground if 
disturbed. It causes some snakebite accidents, but fa- 
talities are rare. Antivenin is produced by the Institut 
Pasteur. Paris, and the Institut Pasteur d'Algerie, Al- 

Sahara Sand Viper, Cerastes vipera (Linnaeus). 

Idcntificution : Very similar in aiipearance to the 
de.sert horned viper except that the horns are absent; 
9-13 scales across top of head; fewer than l.'iO ventrals. 

Color much as in the horned vijier but tending to be 
more faded with spots less well defined ; tip of tail black 
in female, light in male. 

Average length 13 to 18 inches ; maximum about 22 
inches ; females larger than males. 

Distrihution: Eastern and central Sahara to Israel 
in sandy desert. 

Remarks: Found only in tracts of fine loose sand into 
whicli it buries itself when alarmed ; usually spends the 
day buried in sand at the base of a shrub ; active at 
night. In places where this viper is common, the 
horned viper is rare or absent and vice versa. Care 
should be taken to differentiate this snake from Echis 
carinatus, a much more dangerous snake. 

It is not a very dangerous snake; the venom is small 
in amount and not highly toxic. Antivenin is produced 
by the Institut Pasteur, Paris, and by Behringwerke 
( Polyvalent ) . 

Israel. The other (E. carinatun) ranges from Ceylon 
and southern India across western Asia and north Africa 
southward into tropical Africa. Although neither at- 
tains a length of 3 feet, they posses a highly toxic venom 
and are responsible for many deaths. When disturbed 
they characteristically inflate the body and produce a 
liissing sound by rubbing the saw-edged laternal scales 
against one another. This same pattern of behavior is 
shown by the nonpoisonous egg-eating snakes Dasypeltis. 

Definition: Head broad, very distinct from narrow 
neck ; canthus indistinct. Body cylindrical, moderately 
slender ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : A narrow supraocular sometimes pres- 
ent ; otherwise crown covered with small scales, which 
may be smooth or keeled. Rostral and nasals distinct. 
Laterally, eye separated from labials by 1-4 rows of 
small scales ; nasal in contact with rostral or separated 
from it by a row of small .scales. 

Body .scales ; Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, lateral 
scales smaller, with serrate keels, in 27-37 oblique rows 
at niidbody. Ventrals rounded. 132-20,"; subcaudals sin- 
gle. 21-.^.2. 

Saw-scoled Viper, Echis carinatus (Schneider). 

Idrniification: Head short and wide, snout blunt; 
body moderately stout ; scales on top of head small, 
keeled ; scales on side of body strongly oblique, the keels 
with minute serratimis; subcaudals single. 

Color pale buff or tan to olive brown, chestnut or 
reddish ; midline row of whitish spots ; sides with nar- 
row undulating white line; top of head usually shows 
light trident or arrowhead mark with 3 prongs directed 
posteriorly and one anteriorly; belly white to pinkish 
brown stippled witli dark gray. 

Average lengtli l."> to 20 inches; maximum about 32 
inches ; sexes of about equal size. 

^■^f •-' 

VIPERIDAE: Genus £cfi;s Merrem, 1820. 

Saw-scaled vipcfs. 

Two species are recognized. One (B. coloraiiis) is 
restricted to eastern Egypt, the Arabian I'eninsula, and 

Figure ,12. — Saw-scaled Viper, Echis carinatus. Typical 
defensive Photo by New York Zoological Society. 

Dixtrihidion: Almost the entire Afro-Asian desert 
belt from Morocco and Ghana to the southern provinces 
of Russian Asia and drier parts of India and Ceylon. 


Poisonous Snakci of iho World 

Vi>ry adaiitiitilt". fouiiil frmii iilmcisf hnrriMi riicky or 
sandy ilfscrt lo dry scriili fnri'st iiiul fruiii .si'nconst In 
I'U'vadi'iis I'f aliimt ti.lHM) fcot. \iTy nlmnilMiil nvcr 
iiiiK'h of its raiiKc. 

RfinarkH: wholly iKirtiinuil in dry Iml 
wonthcr; oecasloiially diurnal iu <(>ol wrnllicr; duriiit; 
rainy season often rlind>s into l>nsli('N. I'sually tries to 
escape when encountered, but is very alert and irritalile. 
Assumes chnraileristic ll(;ure-.S coil, rutitiinc inllaled 
loops of liody locether to nial<e a distinctive sizzling 
noise. Strikes quickly and repeatedly with considerable 
reach fur a siiinll snake. 

This little viper is an important cause of snakebite 
accidents and fatalities almost everywhere that it is 
fouiiil. The venom seems to he unusiuilly toxic for man, 
and death has been re<(U-ded following tlie bite of a 
snake lOVj inches Ioiik. Hemorrhages, internal and 
external, are a prominent part of the clinical picture. 
Serious late complications are frecpient. and death may 
occur 12 to !('• days after the bite. 

Saw-scaled viper antivenins are iiroduced by the 
Inslitut I'asteur, Paris; Helirinswcrke, Marbur;;-Iiahn, 
i;erniany: Central Uesenrch Institute. Kasauli. India; 
llaffkine Institute. Honibay, India; Tashkent Institute. 
Moscow; State Uazi Institute, Tehran, Iran; and th(^ 
South African Institute for Medical Research, .Johan- 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Vipera Laurenti, 1768. 

Ti'ue aildei's. 

Eleven species are recognized. This is an especially 
variable group, with some members that are small and 
relatively innocuous (e.g.. V. hrnis) and others that are 
extremely dangerous ( F. lehctina, V. russelii). They 
are found from northern Eurasia throughout that con- 
tinent and into north Africa. One species ranges into 
the East Indies ( T. nissrlii), and two are found in 
east Africa (see Remarks under V. superciliaris). Both 
the sunbiiosed viper. T'. latasti. and T'. maiiritaiiica are 
found in this region (see p. 74). 

ht/liiitiiiii: Head broad, distlni't from narrow neck; 
caidhns distinct. Ilody cyllndilcal. vinyhig from moder- 
ately slender to vlmil ; hill slioil. 

Kyes moderate in size lo siiiiill ; pupils vcrlhally el- 

Head .scales: VarlahU'; onc" spe<les (1. itrniiiii) has 
all !) crown scutes, most spe<-les have at IcasI the 
supraocidars, but even these are absent in one ( 1'. Irlic- 
linii) ; head olherwise covered with small scales. I.alcr- 
all.v, nasal in conlaci willi rostral or separated b.v a 
single enlarged scab- (the nasorostral), eye separated 
from supralahials by 1-4 rows of small scales. 

Body scales; Dorsals keeled, with ai)Ical pits. In 
111 :!1 nonobli(|Ue rows al midbody. Ventrals rounded, 
lliO-lKO; subcaiidals paired, L'() (W. 

Sahara Rock Viper, ]'/ji<'/'ii. ni<ivritanic(i, (Gi'ay). 

Iili nli/iiiiliiiii : Closely related to V. Irhctiiia of the 
.Xcar aiul .Middle East. Absence of serrated keels on 
I be lateral .scales or keeled ventrals distinguishes it 
from Ccrantcx; paired subcandals and lack of serrated 
keels distinguishes it from Echh; a blinit rather than 
upturned snout distinguishes it from Viitiiii lataKti ; the 
lateral iiosition of the nostrils, more slender body and 
fewer 27 scale rows at midbody distinguishes it 
fi'om tlie i)Uff adder ifiilin arictaiiH) . 

Ground color grayish, reddish, or brown with series of 
oval or rectangular dark blotches that tend to fuse 
forming the zigzag stripe of many European and A.sian 
vijiers; belly pale extensively chnided with dark gray. 
Its pattern is much like that of the Palestine {V. x. 
pa Id est iliac) viper (see page 112). 

Average length .S."i to 4r> indies. 

Dixtrihiitiiiii: The northwestern part of the Sahara 
region from Spanish Sahara to Tripolitania (northwest 
Libya). Found ira hillsides with scrubb.y vegetation 
and large flat stones. 

Rciiiarlix: Hides by day in rock crevices and mine 
tunnels; most active about twilight. 

It is considered a dangerous species. Specific anti- 
venin is produced by the Institut Pasteur d'Algerie, 


BOXS, J. and B. GIROT. 19G2. Cle Illustree 
des Reptiles du Mafoc. Trav. Inst. Sci. 
Clierifien Ser. Zool. No. 26, p. 1-62, figs. 1-15. 

GER. 1963. Systematik, Verbreitung und 
Okologie der Libyschen Schlangen. Rev. 
Suisse de Zool., vol. 70, pp. 453-568, jdIs. 1— t, 
figs. 1-13. 

MARX, Hymen. 1956. Keys to the Lizards and 

Snakes of Egypt. Re.searcli Rpt. NM 005 

050.39.45, NAMRU-3, Cairo pp. 1-8. 
SAINT-GIRONS, H. 1956. Les Serpents du 

Maroc. Var. Scient. Soc. Sci. Nat. Psyc. 

Maroc, vol. 8, pp. 1-29, pis. 1-3, figs. 1-9. 
VILLIERS, Andre. 1950. Contribution a I'etude 

du peuplement de la Mauritanie. Ophidiens. 

Bull. Inst. Francais d'Afrique Noire, vol. 12, 

pp. 984-998, figs. 1-2, tables. 


Section 6 

Definition of the Region: 
AV of Africa south of the Sahanc Dexert reyiun. The northern border of this 
huge area coincides with the southern boundaries of Mauritania. Mali. Niger 
arid Chad; and with the northern houndarg of the Sud<in. Madagascar, off 
the east coast, ha.i no renomoiix muikes. 



Mop of the region 8( 

Introduction 8( 

Distribution Chart SO, 88 

Key to Genera 89 


Dispholidiis 00 

Thrlotornis 91 


Aspidelaps 91 

Boalengerina 91 

Dendroas/)i.s 92 

Elaps 94 

Ehijisoidea 94 

Ileinachatus 94 

Naja 95 

Paranaja 97 

Pseudohaje 97 


Adenorhinos 98 

Atheris 98 

Atractaspis 99 

Bitis 100 

Causus 102 

Echis 103 

Vipcni 103 

References 103 


Poisonouj Snak»t ol lh« World 

■ ir>ub|ii4.{ r 

K>)4|V Mino^ JO jimiiilJU 

X X 

!"" '< !~' ! ' ' i ' 

XljHlX||.<XxX;^WK;Xl| iiillll 

II I ' ' ' ' t I ' ' ' 1 i 1 1 ' 


X X 

X 1 |H IX 1 lx«X«X j ! 1 1 i i i i i 1 i 
* • 1 ■ 1 1 1 ' 1 ■ I III''!' 

(pa«|raii|}n>a) raiAUOg 

X i 

X 1 1 1 |x 1 1 |x ix IXX ill i i i i i i i 

"H)V JOk S 

xz XX i i i ix 1 i i>< ix ixx ik! 1 i i i i i 1 i 
1 ' 1 • ' ' 1 ' ' ' ' III' 


XX «>iiiixxiii«ixxxii-i iiiiii*^ 


XX iiiixixiiixixxxii-i iiiiixi 

i.«i|0f^ — onbiqiuno)^ 

XX X w 1 1 to 1 « 1 1 1 CO !5 in m X 1 1 | | 1 1 1 1 ! 1 | 


X X 

i-ixixijlxixxxiiii lllll^l 

•«I jvqiiuiiz 

X i 

iiixiiiijiixxxiiji iiliiji 


X X 

ixixixi|ix|xxxj|i| xxi||^& 


X X 

i|ix^x|iix|xxxii|i iiiii ''•''• 


X - 

\^-\\xx\\\x\xxx\\x\ jijiil*^ 

ipunjng V Bpui!.»H 


I 1 i 1 X 1 1 i i X 1 1 X X 1 1 ^- i 1 1 i 1 i X "• 

(o»uo3 uciai-ig J3UIJOI) 

JO J-m •o«uo3 

X X 

Ix^iHHiiixjgXxixxi ilJHXHX 

(oSuo^ qjuajj joiujoi) 

:)iiqnd.iH oSuo^ 



! **■ " 1 ^' 1 ' ' ! 

1 1 1 1 =-• 1 1 i 1 1 1 <•• X 

' I ' ' ' I'll ' 

luniv o!H — uoqeo 


1 X i 1 i 1 "• i 1 

i 1 i 1 =■• 1 i 1 X i i ''• 1 

1 1 1 1 1 1 ! II 

:>!iqndaH CJIJJV H!Jlua3 

0- c*- 

1 t-. 1 1 c.. 1 1 ] 1 ,.. 1 <-. 1 f. ] 1 f 1 1 1 f. 1 1 c- f. 


ixiixi|ii2;^xiiX''-| ijiii 
! II III 1 11 1 I 1 1 1 I 




1 i i i "■ 1 ' i 1 '^ i 

1 X i i i i 





1 i 1 "• 1 i 1 1 X i 


i i 1 I 1 j i X i 

i i 1 1 1 "^ i ^ i i 


El|OA jaddn 

1 1 j 1 C*. 1 «*• ] 1 >. 1 

1 111 1 ' ' 1 1 


(15E03 o) EUEqO 

X X 

i i 1 i "■ i X X i 

X X 1 1 1 X 1 - X 1 1 ••■ 1 



1 1 1 ■>• 1 X 1 1 =-• 

X X 1 j 1 =-■ i i X 1 1 


1 1 1 1 "• 1 X i 1 

<^' 1 1 0. t f 

''III 1 ' II 

auodi Bjjajs 

1 ! I 1 1 ' ' ' 1 ' 

' ' ' 1 1 ' 

1 ' ' ' 1 ' 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • 

1 1 1 1 1 X 1 1 '■■ 1 1 

cauinr) -jjoj — E3Uin9 

i i i =" i X 1 i 

X X i i i 1 i i X i 1 

eiqiuEO — leSdudS 

i i i i "■ '^ i ' '^ 

ix 1 i 1 i i 1 i i 



iiili^:l^;;z:a!xjiil i 

1 1 1 1 1 1 111 ill! ■ . ! 1 1 

puei!i^™°S '^J — E!<5o!MJ3 

1 j i X i 1 02 

' **■* I 1 1 ' I ' ' 1 1 


1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 X 1 

1 1 1 1 1 ! ' ■ ■ 1 1 

i X ! i i 1 i i 1 i i 

1 1 1 1 1 _! — 1__: — ! — 1— 


Displiolidus typus 

Thelotoruis kirtlandii 


1 ' ' 1 1 1 1 1 i > ! " 
1 ! " ! 1 1 I 2 

1 1 a 1 .=i 1 1 1 1 5 o 

= il 1 s 1 i i 1 i S a 

= 1 =" i g 1 1 1 ^ 1 s ^ 

; 2 IJ ■? 1 -^ i 1 j : = „ 

T . c . ^ ■ . ■ B .^a-c 

N. melanoleuca 

N. nigriooUis 

N. nivea 

Paianaja multifasciata 

Pseudohaje goldii 


Adenorliinos barbouri 

Athens ceratophorus 

A. chloroechis 

A. hispidus 

A. katangensis 




Central and Southern Africa 


The i)oisonous snake fauna of central and 
southern Africa is a large and diverse one. 
There are no venomous terrestrial snakes on 
Madagascar, off the east coast, and only oc- 
casionally does a lone sea snake {Pelainis) wash 
ashore there or along the eastern coast of the 
mainland. However, there are records of sea 
snakes from as far south and west as Capetown, 
although there appear to be no reports of any 
person having been Ijitten in African waters by 
sea snakes. 

Other than the sea snakes, the African poison- 
ous snakes belong to three families, the Colubii- 
dae, the Elapidae, and the Viperidae. Africa is 
the only region where colubrid snakes are con- 
sidered dangerously venomous, but here there are 
two tree snakes, the Iwomslang {Dhpholidus) 
and the bird snake (TheJofornls), that have 
proven to be capable of inflicting lethal bites. 

The elapids include burrowing snakes, some of 
which (e.g., Efa/>s) are so sm:ill as to be of little 
concern. However, there are many dangerous 
terrestrial species as well as a number of spe- 
cialized arboreal kinds {Psevduhn'jc. Dend roax- 
pis). The most terrestrial of the mambas, Den- 
drodxpJs polylefi>i. the black mamba. attains a 
length of about 14 feet and is one of the most 
dangerous snakes in existence. Other especially 
dangerous terrestrial si)ecies are tiie Egyi)tian 
cobra {Naja Iinje), which has a wide range 
through central Africa, the spitting cobi-a [Xdjn 
/I igricoU !■'<), also with a wide range, and the yel- 
low cobra (.V. iilrcti) and ringhals {IIciiKtchntus) 
of .southern Africa. 

The vipers ai'e an e(|ually diverse group. A 
genus of buiTowing mole \'ipers (Atriictnxpix) is 
found throughout tlie region. Even though most 
of these do not e.xceed 2 feet in length, they are 
callable of inflicting dangerous bites. Some of 
the central African terrestrial vipei's are the 
largest members of their family: the massive Ga- 
boon \-iper {Bifis gdhon'/ca) exceptionally attains 
a length of fi feet, with fangs almost '1 incites long. 
In addition theit^ are relatively small desert vipers 
in the temperate south. However, the most wide- 
spi'ead, the most commonly seen, and probably 
the greatest killer of man is the common i)utl' 
adder {lliiis iir/cfmis) . The bush vijiers (Afhf- 
/■/x) do not appear to be an important danger. 

With such a wealth of dangerously venomous 
snakes, one would expect snakebite to be an im- 
portant cause of death in Africa. However, the 
few statistics available do not give this impres- 
sion. The reported incidence of death from 

<^-..^ -^ 

•■■'-L.- i'- 

M.\I' 7. — StHtiiui (i. (■('iili:il and S(piH1umii .Vfrica. 

snakebite is much lower than in the trojjical coun- 
tries of the Asian mainland. Whether this is a 
true picture or if it is distorted by poor reporting 
is as yet unknown. 

The vipers of the genera IJIfl-s. Kchi-s. Atherl-t, 
and Vipera have the connnon attributes of veno- 
mous snakes — broad distinct head and eyes with 
vertically elliptical pupils. However, this is not 
true of tlie night adders {Causus), the mole vipers 
{Atractaspis), or the various elapid and danger- 
ous colubrid species. These have no general char- 
acteri.stics that set them off from harndess snakes. 
However, poisonous snakes make up less than a 
quarter of the snake fauna throughout the region 
and it is not too difficult to learn the venomous 
kinds in any one area. 

^lany of the elapid species are cobras (Xaja) 
or cobra-like kinds, and while a cobra minding 
its own business looks very much like any other 
snake, a disturbed cobra will ([uickly spread a 
hood — which is a plain and distinctive warning. 
Even .some of the elapids without well-developed 
hoods (e.g., the mambas, Detulroaxp/x) will flatten 
the neck if distuibed. and some which do not re- 
semble cobras in any way (e.g., A-ipidelapa) will 
flatten the neck and raise the anterior part of the 
body in the familiar cobra stance. 


Poijonoui Snn'ir-- ■-' >h» World 

-pu»|ulii«V|] lup , 1 X t 


t 1 I 1 I 1 1 1 ' 

t^ i I 1 


1 1 1 

1 1 ( 

«!»»p««ni 1 

i iK i ' 

■ • ! i i 

i 1 X « ^ i w 1 1 1 : ; X i 

X ! ! ! 

(paiiranpnsg) niAnog 

\ \^ \ 


i \X 


1 1 ' *#» ' ' 
1 1 1 OQ ) I 
1 1 ■ ' ' 

1 1 t 1 


1 1 M i 


i \x 

X w 

! i ! Ill 

I 1 1 1 
1 I • 1 

1 1 1 1 


' i ^ : 

X i i i i»5 

■ ! ' 

1 IX 

1 1 

ixxx ixx i ixxx i i i 

II 1 ' ' ' ill 


I ; X 1 

« i i i ! 1 

1 jx 


! 1 OS 1 

1 1 

1 1 ! ! 

i i« 

1 1 Z 1 1 1 1 1 »: 1 X w 1 1 


; 1 X ! 

I 1 1 i i 1 

i i^ 


••I nqituiz 

; 1 X 1 


1 1- 

> 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 

1 1 1 1 1 X 1 1 1 1 I 
1 : ; 1 1 1 


X |x i 

1 1 ^ 


II 1 1 1 i 1 1 III 


i lx 

1 1 1 1 ' X 


X |x 

1 1 «■• 1 i ^ 1 X - E: fc: X ^: - i 


X i «■• i 


i i X 

1 i X i 1 X j 1 .-• X X X X 

ipunjng 9 spuc^H 

c». 1 e^* [ 

1 1 1 M^ 

\ '' ^ 

i i "• i i X i i <•• 1 X j X 

(oluiT) uci:!!^ J3UIJOJ) 

JO •JoH 'oSutT) 

X X X X 

X i H 

i ix i ix i it^xKxx 

(0Su03 MJ03JJ jaiujoi) 

c^. 1 


1 1 ] 1 c. 
' ' 1 1 

1 I <*• 

1 r =*• 1 ' e^* 1 1 

i i 

luni^ OJ-JJ — uoqE£> X [ 


X i i i =■• 

X 1 "• 

\ \>'^ \ ]'•< \ \ 

DiiqndaH coiJJV FJioO 


(... G^. C^. O" [ 1 1 C*- 

c*. 1 1 r- 

1 1 e*. 1 ; c" 1 t c». e». 

£». «*• 


X X X X X 1 i X 

i X ; X 

1 1 X 1 i X 1 


X X 


1 C-. c j 1 X 

a 1 1- 

! 1 <*• ! ' ^* 1 ! 


, 1 


X =■• X 1 1 =■• 

1 1 C^' 

! 1 e*. I 1 e*- 1 1 


1 c** 


1 1 

X 1 ; 1 «■• 

1 , e^> 

i i >^ i i '^' 1 

1 c*- 

eilOA JsdOn 

C^> 1 I 1 ■ 

1 i 

1 1 ^' 1 ' **' 1 1 


c*. =»• 

(JS1!03 0) BUBqr) 

X 1 

XX i i - 

i 1 ix 

; 1 X 1 1 X 1 1 


X X 

jsEcr) Xjoaj 

X 1 

XX ; 1 '■• 

1 , 

1 1 X ; X 1 1 


X X 


X "• ! 1 X 

1 , e^' 

!^ i *^ i i 


>< i 

aaosiEjjais ;| ] | 

S*' 1 \ r- 

1 1 p.. 

1 1 c*> j ] C^' 1 ' 


1 J 

esoinr) -jjoj — Eaoinrj 

X i 


z \ \z 

i t^ 

1 1 X 1 1 X 1 : 


Eiqareg — {eSaass 

y. \ \>i 

! 1 

silEUJOs ] ! 

1 j 03 

X X 1 & X 


puEinEiuos -jj — Etdoiqi^ ; j 

1 i i X X X i ! 1 

i X '■■ =■■ 

UEpns 1 ] 

' — ' 

' — 

i i i X 

^ 1 i i 



VIPERIDAE (continued) 

Atractaspis ntcrrima 

A. l)att('rsbyi 

1 't 

' a 

: t 

\ — 

■ • 

1 e 

1 c 

: t 

' 9 

EC j 1 

*« 1 1 
a 1 1 V 

i § s - 

rt — 3 t. 

< < < < 




1 1 y. 

; -d <! H = 

■ til 

■ n « p: 

1 J 1 '1 1 1 
S 1 •: 1 ? 2 

■ p; S K K P3 <i! 


X y 

■- ; 

1 '^^ 

2 •!;^ £ 

■= 1 = 

K > 

-. 5 

u - J^ 

- £1 



K L. U 


Central and Soufhern Africa 


1. A. Crown of head coverecl witli small irregular scales; 

pupil of eye vertically elliptical 15 

B. Crown of head with nine large regular plates; pupil of 

eye various shajies 2 

2. A. Loreal scale absent ; preoculars in contact with nasal or 

separated by downward extension of prefrontal 6 

R. Loreal scale (s) present, separating preoculars from 

nasal 3 

3. A. Pupil of eye horizontally elliptical Theloforni-s 

B. Pupil of eye round 4 

4. A. Eye separated from supralabials ijy row of subocular 

scales Caitsus 

B. Eye in contact with su])ralabials 5 

5. A. Dorsals distinctly keeled, in 17-21 rows at midbody Dispholidiis 

B. Dorsals smooth, in 13-15 rows at midbody Pseudohaje 

R. A. Preoculars (3) widely separated from nasal; prefrontals 

expanded laterally to touch labials Dendroaspis 

B. Preoculars (1 or 2) in contact with nasal 7 

7. A. Rostral very large, concave below, separated from other 

scales on sides AspideJaps 

B. Rostral not concave below, not separated from other 

scales 8 

8. A. Dorsals distinctly keeled Tlejnnchatus 

B. Dorsals perfectly smooth 9 

9. A. Eye very small; frontal more tliaii twice as broad as 

supraoculars Atractasph 

B. Eye small to very large: frontal not twice as broad as 

supraoculars 10 

10. A. Tail moderate to long; more than 41 subcaudals 13 

B. Tail short; fewer tlian 42 subcaudals 11 

11. A. Rostral enlarged, obtuselj- pointed; dorsals in 13 rows 

at midbody Elapaoidea 

11 Rostral normal, rounded; doi-sals 15-17 rows at midbody 12 

12. .\. .Viial plate divided; dorsals 15 throughout Flaps 

B. Anal jjlate entire; dorsals 15-17 at midbody, more on 

neck, fewer posteriorly Paranaja 

13. A. Eye very large; dorsals 13-15 rows a( midbody Pseudohaje 

B. Eye small to moderate; dorsals 17 or more at midbod\- 14 

14. A. Dorsal pattern of 3-24 di.stinct dark crossbars on lighter 

ground color; 3^ small teeth on maxillary bone Boulengerina 

B. No such pattern; 0-2 (rarely 3) snuxli teeth on maxillary 

bone Naja 

15. A. Lateral scales with serrate keels 18 

B. Lateral scales not serrately keeled 10 

16. A. Subcaudals i)aired 1!) 

B. Subcaudals single 17 

17. A. Fewer tJian 30 subcaudals; fewer than 130 ventrals Adenorhinos 

B. More than 30 subcaudals; more than 130 ventrals Athens 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 

KEY TO GENERA (Continued) 

Is. A. \'t'nlials with i;iict;ii i<t'cl : suIxmikIiiIs |)iiiri'(l C'eranten 

11. N'i'iit lal^ roiiiidi'd ; siilx'iiiKlal.s siiif^li- Kchis 

1'.". .V. K()>lial ill coiitiicl witli iiasiil, or scpaialcd from it. by ii 

siiiij;li' lar<ii> sciile Vlpera 

Ii. Koslral scparalcil frnni iia^al \>y I or hkhc iows of 

siiiali scales I' it in* 

'H. worlhinytuni, with tlie iinsal In coiitnct with rostral, single Hubcuudulx, unil lateral keels 
on the ventrals. will not key out properly. 


COLUBRIDAE: Genus Dupholidus Duvernoy, 1832. 
1 '>ooiii-.iaiiij. 

A .single species, />. Iiiim.i Smith. Tlii.s snake, found 
only in troiiical and smillicrn .Vfrica. i.s the iiinst daii- 
Keroiis iiieinlitM' of tlie family Culiiliridac. 

Dc/iiiitioii: Head oval but distiiict from slender iiecU ; 
crown of head convex. Snout short with a distinct 
lanlhus. Hddy slender and elon),'are. moderately com- 
Iiressed ; tail long and slender. 

Eyes very large; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
a single loreal scale separates the nasal from the one 
or two preoculars. 

Rody scales: Dorsals narrow, distinilly keeled, and 
with apical pits; in IT-lil oblique rows at niidbody, 
more (21-2.")) anteriorly, fewer (1.3) posteriorly. Ven- 
trals of normal size, obtusely angulate laterally, 164-201 ; 
anal plate divided (Like most "present or absent" 
scale characteristics, this is not true 100 percent of the 
time: the anal plate is rarely entire. The question of 
identitication of a boonislang with an entire anal plate 
caused the death of a noted herpetologist, Karl P. 
Schmidt, in lO.'u. Srr Pope. 1!).">8) : suhcaudals paired. 

JIaxillary teeth : A series of 7-s small subeiiual teeth 
followed, after a short interspace, by .S very long grooved 

Boomslang, Dixplwlidiis tyinix Sniitli. 

Iilciitiflcutiiiii: The boomslang does not look much 
different from many other tree-dwelling snakes which 
inhabit its range and. of cimrse, it is not always in a 
tree. However, the innocuous green bush snakes (Pliiln- 
/Iiamniis) have smooth scales, and keeled and notched 
ventrals. while the dangerous inambas ( Deiirlroas-iiis) 
have a much longer and narrower head, lack a loreal 
scale, and have smaller eyes. Adult boomslangs average 
4 to .") feet, with the record length being "a little over 

Color varies from almost black to almost unicolor 
green : no blotches or distinct spots. Individual dorsal 
scales may be yellow, brown, or green, often with black 
on the margins. Ventrals black to greenish white, de- 

licnding on dorsal c<j|or. Xo dislinci head pattern. 

DislriliKlidii: Open savaniuih and brushy country 
throughout tropical aiul southern Africa; not found in 

Figure ."i.3. Uoomslang, Displidlhlns- itiptis. Photo by 
Roy I'inney and National Zoo. 'Washington, D.C. (See 
also plate VII, figures 1, 4; plate VIII, figure 2.) 

rain forest regions nor in true desert. 

Rciiiarls: This snake is not aggressive and will 
(luirkly make for the nearest tree or if surprised 
on the ground. In its arboreal habitat it disappears 
quickly. However, if cornered or restrained, it inflates 
its neck to more than double its normal dimensions. 
This exposes the skin between the scales of that region, 
which is often brightly colored. If its bluff is unsuc- 
cessful, the boomslang will bite. 

Although it is a rearfanged colubrid snake, the boom- 
slang has relatively long fangs and its venom, though in 
small quantities, is more toxic, drop-for-drop, than that 
of African cobras and vipers. The venom severe 
internal bleeding ; every mucous mend)rane may ooze 
blood: a luimber of deaths have been reported. (Pope, 


Central and Souihern Africa 

A specific antivenin ( Boomslang ) is produced liy the 
Soutli African Institute for Medical Research, but it is 
in short supply and is usually held by them for severe 
cases that come to their attention. 

COLUBRIDAE: Genus Thelofornis Smith, 1849. 
l^ird snake. 

A single species, T. kirtJandii (Hallowell). The bird 
snake is restricted to tropical and southern Africa. 
Other than the boomslang of the same region, it is the 
only species of colubrid, rear-fanged snake that is known 
to cause serious injury, and occasionally death. 

Drfiiiitioii: Head elongate, flattened and distinct from 
neck; a distinct and projecting canthus which forms a 
shallow groove below it on the side of the snout. Body 
slender and elongated, cylindrical : tail long. 

Eye.s large; pupils horizontally elliptical (keyhole- 
shaped ) . 

Hcn<l scales: The >is\ial on the crown; intcrnasals 
large; parietals bordered posteriorly by .'5 large scales. 
Laterally, 1-.3 loreal scales separate the nasal from the 

Body .scales: Dorsals narrow, feebly keeled, with 
apical pits, in 1!» oliliiiue rows anteriorly and at mid- 
body, fewer (11-13) posteriorly. Ventrals rounded. 
147-189 ; anal plate divided : subcaudals paired, 1.31-17.5. 

Maxillary teeth: A .series of 11-10 small teeth which 
gradually increase in length followed, after a short in- 
terspace, by .'? long grooved fangs. 

Bird Snake, Thelotornis Icirtland'd (Hallowell). 

Idoitlficdtiiin: This slender-snouted tree snake is 
most easily recognized by its long, flat-crowned head 
W'ith shallow lateral grooves that extend forward from 
the eyes. Its eyes are large and have horizontall.v el- 
liptical pupils. There are usnall.v two loreals, one be- 
hind the iilli(>r, and the scales on the sides of the body 

Floi'RE 54. — Bird Snake, Tlulotoniis hirtlaiidii. Photo 
by Zoological Society of San Diego. (See also plate 
VIII, fig. 1.) 

are long and narrow, almost rectangular in shape. 
Adults average al)out 4 feet ; record length 51^ feet. 

Body ashy gray to piidiish brown above, unicolor or 
with poorly-distinguished blotches and crossbands. Un- 
derneath, the color is brownish or grayish, heavily 

speckled with brown. Head unicolor green, pinkish, or 
purplish brown above, flecked with dark brown or black ; 
occasionally a Y-shaped design on back of head ; a dark 
band extending from behind eye obliquely onto neck. 

Distribution: The tropical forests and savannah re- 
gions of central and southern Africa, southward to the 
Transvaal in the east and to central South-West Africa 
in the west. 

Remarks: This snake seldom attempts to bite; never- 
theless, its highly toxic venom has caused a few fa- 
talities. When molested it assiunes a threatening atti- 
tude and inflates its ne<k greatly, mainly in a vertical 
direction. This brings to view a bold pattern of black 
crossbands on a light background. 

Xo antivenin is produced for this snake. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Aspidelaps Fitzinger, 1843. 
."^hield-iiose snakes. 

Two species are recognized; both are restricted to 
southern Africa. They are small semiburrowing snakes 
with a specialized snout. Although they possess rela- 
tively large fangs, neither species attains a length of 
over .30 inches and they are not considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head short and only sllghtl.v distinct 
from neck: a broad snout modified for burrowing; can- 
thus indistinct. Body cylindrical or somewhat de- 
pressetl. stout ; tail short, obtusely pointed. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils round or vertically el- 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; rostral 
very large, concave below, curved backward over snout, 
sei)arated from other scales on sides; prefrontals very 
short. Laterally, nasal in broad contact with single 

Body scales: Dor.sals smooth or faintly keeled (in 
.1. neiitatiis) in 19-23 oblique rows anteriorly and at 
midbody. fewer (LI) posteriorly. Ventrals 115-172; 
anal plate entire ; subcaudals paired, 20-38. 

Maxillary teeth : Two rather large tubular fangs 
with external grooves: no other teeth on the bone. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Bou/enger/na Dollo, 1886. 
A\':itef I'olifas. 

Two species are recognized ; they are found in central 
.\frica from Xyasaland to the Congo region. They are 
large snakes, attaining lengths of over 8 feet. They 
are not aggressive but are considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head short, distinct from neck; an in- 
distinct canthus. Body cylindrical and moderately 
slender ; neck capable of being spread into a hood ; tail 
of moderate length, tapering. 

Eyes small : pupils round. 

Head scales : The tisual 9 on the crow-n ; frontal 
small. Laterally, nasal in contact with single preocular. 

Body scales : Dor.sals smooth, in 17-23 oblique rows 
at midbody, the same number or more (17-2ij) anteri- 


Poisonous Snados of iho Worlct 

orly, ft'wer (l.'l 17( posicrlnrly. Ni-nlriils I'.lL' 'J'JT ; iiiiul 
plutK finlro; siilii'iiiuliils imlrcil, d" Mi. 

Miixlllnry tt-fth: Two liirKc tuliulitr fiiiiKs wllli ex 
tiMiml uroDVfS fiilluwi'il. iiflrr an liitcrsimcc. hy I! t siiuiU 

Banded Water Cobra, ISoulcngeriiui iiitiiii/d/n 
I liii.liliol/ ami IVtiT.s), 

lilrntificutiiiii: This is ii l!ir;;c llstic.iliii;,' cnlini lliiil 
is always found iti or near wnlcr. It is fspfcinlly (■(■rn- 
mon aloiiK some of llu' sliori's of I.alvi' TanKanyiliii. Tlii' 
wt'stern rai'i' ( /<. «. uhiihIiiIii \ lias a scries of "Jl l-'l 
narrow lilai'k crossluuuls on a brown or tan tiailinround : 
ttio eastern subsin-cies ill. nnniilala Htorniiii Dollo) has 
only 3-r> such bunds on the neck ; the remainder of the 

FuauK .V>. — Banded Water ('obra. Jioitloii/erinu an- 
iiulata. This subsijeties, /{. u. stormsi. has only a 
few black bands on the neck; the western form. Ii. u. 
annnlata. has bands throughout the body. Photo by 
Zoological Society of San Diego. (See also plate \'II. 
figure 9. ) 

body is unicolor brown. The nonvenomous watersiiake 
Graijia, which has the same range, looks much like the 
western form of the water cobra but may be distin- 
guished by the presence of a loreal scale. Although it 
may spread the body, Grayia does not have a hood. 
Water cobras raise the anterior part of the body and 
spread a narrow hood as a threat, in typical cobra 
fashion. Adults average ."> to 7 feet in length ; record 
length is about 9 feet. 

Dorsal .scales 21-23 at midbody, more (23-2.")) on the 
neck, fewer (l.j-lTl iiosteriorly. Ventrals 192-227: sub- 
caudal.s G7-S0. 

DixtrihiitUin: Xyasaland and Lake Tanganyika west- 
ward through the rain forest regions to the western 
Congo and Cameroon. 

Remarks: These large water cobras are not aggres- 
sive and appear to offer little danger to persons that 
leave them alone. Little is known of the effect of their 
bite and no antivenin is produced for the snakes of 
this genus. 

ELAPIDAE; Genus Dendroospis Schlegel, 1848. 

I'liiir species arc currently recogni/.cd 'I'licy iiinge 
ipMM' iiio>t of iciilial and soullierii .\frlia. I>iie In their 
si/.e, speed, and highly loxic! venoiri. Iliey are lonsidered 
among the most dangerrius of all siuikes. The fact that 
all arc greenish when young has confused (lie iilcniity 
of lliese snakes for many years. One species, I). j>(>l]i- 
hpis. attains a length of 11 feel. 

/)(/htilii>ii: llc.iil and elongate, slightly dis- 
tinct from neck; u distinct canthus, Hody slender and 
tapering, slightly compressed; neck may be flattened 
when snake is aroused, but there is no real hood; tail 
long and taiiering. 

Kyes moderate in si/,e; pupils iciuiid. 

Head scales: The usual !) on llic ciciwn ; frontal 
broad anteriorly, narrow posteriorly. Laterall.v. nasal 
widely separated from preoculars by prefrontal. 

I5ody scales; Dorsals smooth and narrow, in l.'{-2."> 
distinctly oblique rows at midb(jdy. the same or more 
rows anteriorly, fewer iiosteriorly. N'entrals 201-282; 
anal jilate divided; subcaudals |iaired. 99-131. 

Maxillary teeth: Two large tubular fangs without 
external grooves; no other teeth on bone. 

Eastern Green Mamba, Deiul roax])}x (ingiint'iceps 


Identification: This is a long and very slender bright 
green tree snake that is often confused with the rear- 
fanged boomslang, I)iKi>ht>li<1ux. and the harmless green 
hush-snakes, Philothuiiiniin. It can be distinguished from 
both by the smaller eyes and by the absence of the 
loreal scale, and from the bush-snakes by the absence 
of keels and notches on the ventral plate.s. It differs 
from the black mamba (I), ixjliilriiin) . the only other 
mamba in its range, by its bright green color, the 
light color I white to bluish white) of the inside of its 

FiouKE .")(). — Eastern Green Mamba. Dcndrddxijis uru/iiKti- 
rrps. The bright green color and the long head dis- 
tinguish this species. Photo by New York Zoological 

mouth, and the fewer dorsals and ventrals. Adults 
average C-S feet in length : record lengtli is about 9 feet. 

Dorsals in 17-19 rows at midbody; ventrals 201-232; 
subcaudals 99-12G. 

Distrihiitioii: A narrow range in the forests and 
brushy country of east Africji from Kenya southward to 


Central and Southern Africa 

southern Xatal ami iKHtheasterii Cape Province. It is 
found on the island of Zanzibar. 

Rc>iiaih.s: This si)e(ies and the more dangerous black 
mamba were confused for many years. The sreen 
maniba is much more arboreal, seldom found on the 
ground. It is shy and avoids man if possible. Its 
venom differs in many ways and is only about half as 
toxic as that of the black mamba. 

A polyvalent antivenin (mamba) is jiroduced by the 
South African Institute for Medical Research. .Tohannes- 

Jameson's Mamba, Demlrodfspts jamesoni (Traill ) . 

Mentificution: A mainly green tree snake with scales 
usually edged in black, the overall coloration becoming 
darker jiosteriorly. with the tail entirely black in some 
individuals. It differs from the harmless bush-snakes 
i Philiithaiiunis) , and from the rear-fanged boomslang 
{DinplKilidiix), with which it may be confused, in lack- 
ing the loreal .scale and in having smaller eyes ; and 
from the bush snakes too in the darker coloration and 
the absence of lateral keels and notches on the ventrals. 
It differs from the black mamba tf). fiohjlvpis) in hav- 
ing black edging on the scales and fewer dorsals and 
ventrals. Adults average G to 7 feet in length: a record 
is 8 feet, 1 inch (Schmidt. V.VSA: 131). 

Dorsals in 1.V19 rows at midbody. the same number 
or more (l.")-10) on the neck, fewer. (11-13) jiosteriorly. 
Ventrals 210-2.39; subcaudals !)<)-121. 

Figure 57. — Jameson's Maniba. licndroaxpis jamvsoiii. 
This individual demonstrates the typical alert pose 
of mambas. Photo by New York Zoological Society. 
(See also plate VII, figure 10.) 

Di.ftrihiilioii: The troi>ical rain forest region from 
western Kenya and Tanganyika to Guinea and Angola. 

Rrmarhs: This mamba is found both on the ground 
and in bushes: however little has been rep(U'ted on its 

A piilyvalent antivenin for its bite (maniba) is iire- 
pared by the South African Institute for Medical Re- 
search. .Tobaniiesburg. 

Black Mamba, J>eti(J ronxi>!x poIf/Jep/'-t Giiiither. 

Idciiti/ii-dtiiiii : Adult snakes are olive brown to dark 
gunmetal gray. However, hatchlings are grayish green 
or olive and this has caused the black mamba to be con- 

fused with the eastern green and Jameson's mambas that 
share parts of its range. The canthus is particularly 
sharp in the black mamba and the head is impressively 
high in large individuals. This large, relatively slender, 
and very fast-moving snake is not readily confn.sed with 
any nonvenomous species. It dilTers from other mambas 
in being darker, in having a bluish gra.v to blackish 
color inside the month, and more dorsal scale rows 
and more ventral scutes. The forest cobra, Xaja wrlan- 
oIciK-a. differs in having a prominant hood and very 
glossy scales. Adults average !) to 10 feet: the record 
length is about 14 feet. 

Dorsals in 21-2."> rows at midbod.v, the same number 
or more on the neck (2'>), fewer (1,">-10) posteriorly. 
Ventrals 242-282: subcaudals 10.5-131. 

FiniKK .IS.- Hlack .Mamlia. I)cii<lni<txiii.i iinhilrpis. The 
sharply-detiiied canthus rostralis is plain here. Photo 
by Xew York Zoological Society. (.See also plate III, 
figure 1; plate VII, figure 11.) 

Disliihiilioii: Inhabits low-lying (below 4,000 feet) 
open bush country from Kthiopia and Somalia, avoiding 
the western rain forest region, southward to Xatal and 
South-West Africa, 

Remarks: This snake is found in trees and bushes 
less often than the other mambas. It is one of the 
fastest snakes known, and has been clocked at slightly 
over 7 miles per hour, or perhaps twice as fast as the 
fastest Xorth American snake. It gives the impre.ssion 
of great speed and in .some of the older literature it was 
reported to "exceed the speed of a running" A 
recent publication estimates the speed at "probably not 
exceeding 20 mph." 

It is certainly one of the most dangerous snakes now 
living. Although it ordinarily makes for its hole when 
disturbed, it is ready to light if suddenly disturbed. 
The typical altitude of alert defense is with the head 
raised well off the ground, mouth slightly agape (show- 
ing the black lining) and tongue flicking rapidly from 
side to side. Xo other mamba shows such jieculiarities. 
When angered, the snake emits a hollow-sounding hiss 
and spreads its neck. It is said to strike out for 40 
liercent of its length : the average snake strikes out for 
2."> to 30 percent. 

A large black mamba secretes encmgh venom to kill 
') to 10 men and few people survive its bite unless anti- 
venin is administered promptly. The venom inhibits 


Poisonous Snaket of tho World 

lirfiuliliiK mill ii|i|mrfiill,r iilsn liiliililts tin- liniiirli of llio 
rnicus luTVr lliiil roiilriils lii'itrllii-at, Itils iiuisi's tlii" 
lii'iirt to tit'iit wllilly. 

A |Hi|.vviilfiit antivrnlii i iiiiiiiilia ) is iirniliiii'il l>.v llir 
Siiiitli Afrli'Mii IiiMtilulc fur Mi'iUrnl Ucscari'li, .loliaiiiirs 

Western Green Mamba, I h ml nxtspts r/riti/.s (IIiil- 

lilinti/iiiitiiDi : 'I'liis is anotluT of tlio arlxiroal niain- 
bas. I.ilif many forest siiaki-s it lias an nvi'i-all ;;rci'n 
or yt'llowisli color, but oacli of tlic dorsal sialfs. as 
well as the head scales, is edsed with black. The dor- 
sals are extremely larjie and narrow; each dorsal cxccpl 
the one bordering the ventral row is equal to (wo 
veutrals in length. This snake has fewer dorsal rows 

Fir.iRE .")!•. — Western (ireen .Maniba. Dcnilroaspis viridi-i. 
The large oblique black-bordcrcd scales distinguish 
this species. I'lioto l)y .New York Zooli>gical Society. 

Kyes small ; implls round 

Head sillies: 'i'lie usual '.' on Ihc crown; I'iipmImI long 
Mild niii'i'ow, inlernasals sliorl ; rostr:il liniiid iinil 
iiiiiiidcd. I.iilcrally. nasal in narrow coiiliicl wllli sin- 
gle preocular. 

Itody scales: Dorsals snioolli. in l.'i rows al niidbody. 
\'ciilnils 1<!(> U.'tll ; anal plalc divided: subciiiidals jiaired, 
•2r> II. 

.\Ia\illary Icclli: Tud prn|inrlionatcly large luliular 
fanus uillioiil cMcriKil grooves: no oilier Icclli on the 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Elapsoidea Bocage, 1866. 
A t'riruii fijartiT siiiiki". 

A single species i A,'. hkiuIcluIIH ) with 11 geographic 
races is currently recogniised. It ranges over most of 
liopical and southern Africa except for the Cape region. 
II altains a length of 3 to 4 feet and is iiotentially dan- 
gerous. However, it is sluggish and inoffensive and 
bites only in self-defense. 

Dcfiiiiliini : Head of moderate size, not distinct from 
neck: an indistinct cantlius. Hody moderately slender, 
cylindrical ; tail very short. 

Eyes small ; {lupils round. 

Head scales: The usual !l on the crown; rostral 
enlarged, obtusely pointed ; internasals short. Laterally, 
nasal in narrow contact with single preocular. 

Hody scales: Dorsals smooth and rounded, in 1,3 rows 
at niidbody. Veutrals 1.3H-1.S4 ; anal plate entire; sub- 
caudals paired (a few sometimes single), 13-19. 

Maxillary teeth : Two large tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal groove followed, after an interspace, by 2-4 small 

than any of the other snakes with whicli it might be 
confused and also lacks the loreal scale typical of colu- 
brid snakes. Xo other niamba occurs within its range. 
.Vdults average to 7 feet in length. 

Dorsals in 13 rows at midbody, more (1.5) on the 
neck, fewer (9) posteriorly. Ventrals 211-225; subcau- 
dals 10.%-119. 

Dintrihution: The tropical rain forest areas of the 
western bulge of Africa ; from the Senegal to the 
Niger, also the island of Sao Tome. 

Remarks: Little appears to be known of the habits 
of this west African mamba. 

A monovalent antivenln ( "Dendraspis" i is produced 
b.v the Institut Pasteur. Pari.s. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Elaps Schneider, 1801. 
African dwuff oaitei' snakes. 

Two species are recognized: both are confined to 
South Africa. One of the species (E. lactcus) attains 
a length of about 2 feet but neither it nor its smaller 
relative is considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head small, not distinct from neck; no 
canthus. Body slender and cylindrical ; tail short. 

Figure 60. — Head Scales of African Garter Snake. Elap- 
soidea siindevaliii. Note the broad rostral and short 
internasals. (See also plate VIII, fig. 3) Redrawn 
from Pitman. 1938. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Hemacbafus Fleming, 1822. 

A single species is recognized ; it is confined to south- 
ern Africa. It is a highly developed "spitting" cobra 
and is a dangerous species. 


Central and Southern Africa 

Definition: Head rather liruail. flattened, not distinct 
from neck ; distinct cantluis ; snout obtusely pointed. 
Body moderately slender, slishtly depressed. tai)ering; 
neck region capable of being expanded into hood : tail 
moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual on the crown ; rostral 
large and obtusely pointed. Laterally, nasal in contact 
with single preocular. 

Bod.v .>«ales : Dorsals distinctly keeled, in 19 oblique 
rows at midbody. fewer (1.")) posteriorly. Ventrals 116- 
150 ; anal plate entire ; suhcaudals .S3— i". the first 3-4 
frequently single, the remainder ]iaired. 

Maxillary teeth : Two short tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal grooves ; no other teeth on hone. 

Ringhals, Tlemncliatus haemachafus (Lacepede). 

Idrnlificulion: A cobra with strongly keeled scales. 
When the snake raises the anterior part of its body and 
spreads the hood, as it does in a defensive attitude, it 

Figure 61. — Ringhals. Urmarhalitx }iii) marhntiia. The 
strongly keeled scales distinguish this si)ecies from 
other cobras. I'hoto by Zoological Society of San 

exposes a black Ibroat with 1-3. usually L*. light bands 
on the ventral surface below the hood. The first light 
band is narrow (1-2 ventrals in width) while the other 
is broad (.">-" ventrals). Adults average 3^4 to 4 feet 
in length : record length "just over 5 feet" I FitzSimons. 

The dorsal color is usually dark brown with irregular 
crossbands of lighter brown, often with small black 
spots ; occasionally gray or greenish ; old individuals be- 
come almost unicolor black. 

Distribution: Veldt and open country in .southeastern 
and southern Africa from Rhodesia to the southern Cape 

Rcmarkx: This is the most highly specialized of the 
"spitting" cobras. Its fangs are relatively short but 
the small venom orifice on the front of the fang and 

strong muscles around the venom gland allow the ejec- 
tion of venom in a fine spray to a distance of 5 to 7 
feet. The venom is ordinarily aimed at the e.ves of the 
enemy. It causes intense pain and sjiasm of the eye- 
lids. Destruction of eye tissue and blindness may result 
if the eye is not washed out immediately with some 
harmless fluid (Fitzsimons. 1962: 290). The ringhals 
bites if restrained, and can catise death. 

Polyvalent antivenin "Polyvalent" and "Tropical" are 
produced by the South African Institute for Medical 
Research. .Toluinnesburg. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Naja Laurenti, 1768. 

Six species are recognized ; all are African except 
the Asiatic Cobra. \aja naja, and range throughout the 
African continent except for the drifting sand areas 
of the Saliara region. They are snakes of moderate 
(4 feet) to large (8 feet) size, with large fangs and 
toxic venom. The species, X. niijricollis "spits" its 
venom at the eyes of an aggressor; it is found in the 
southern part of the region of north Africa. The 
Kgyptian colira tXaja liajr) and the western subspecies 
of tlic Asiatic cobra iXaja naja oxiann) are found in 
the N'ear and Middle East region. 

Definition: Head rather broad, flattened, oidy slightly 
distinct from ne<k : snout rounded, a distinct cauthus. 
liody moderately slender, slightly depressed, tapered; 
neck capable of expansion into hood ; tail of moderate 

Eyes moderate in size; pui)ils round. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown; frontal 
short : rostral rounded. Laterally, nasal in contact with 
the one or two preoculars. 

FiGiRE 62. — Egyptian Cobra. Xaja haje. This danger- 
ous species is widespread through the region. Photo 
by New York Zoological Society. (See p. 80, fig. 49 
and plate VIII. figure 7.) 


Poiionouj Snakes of tho World 

Itody Mcal(>N : DurHalx tmiiHilli, In 17 Uri iililli|iif riiws 
ii( iiiidliotl.r, iiMiiiilly iMi>ri> lui tlif iio'k ; fi'wcr ixislcrlorly. 
Vfiitrtils l.">l> ■':i:.' ; iiiiiil |iliili> ciillrf; siilii'iiiuliils l"_' HS, 
iiioslly imlrctl. 

Mavilliiry trt-lli: 'i'\\» nilhcr liiruc Inliuliir liiiiKs willi 

oMfiiml 1:1 vi's fi.llinvfd. iiflci- nil iiilcrsiunc, l>y (I .'5 

small ti'rtli. 

Forest Cobra, Xdjn mehiuuleuca IIiillowi-ll. 

Iihnti/iriititiii: Tills liirno dark U>rr»>strial colira is 
most i-aslly rccoKiiizt'il l>y tlit> highly iiolislii'd dursal 
scnh's 1111(1 lli«> <'r«-amy-\vliiti> laliial sciiti-s which arc 
odcfd with liliick. It Is siimt'limi's mistaken for llic 
Mack mamha 1 l><iiilrtiii.<<i>i.i i>iiliilfi)ix] which docs iiol 
Ciller the rain forest region excciit aloii;; its edfjes. 
However, the forest cohra is a slower-movinir, thicker- 
liodicd. and liroader-hooded snake than the mainlia. 
Adults average (5 (o 7 feet in length; record length s 
feet IVj inches (I'itnian, 1938 :2tr,). 

This cohra is often unicolor k1<'>'>^.v Wack above. How- 
ever, the head and sonietiiiies the anterior part of the 
liody may he hrown : in young individuals small white 
spots are scattered or appear as narrow crosshands over 
tlie posterior part of the body. Chin and helly creamy 
white, usually with one or two relatively narrow (4 
ventrals wide) black bands under the hood ; increasiiiR 
nmounts of black posteriorly (See plate VII. fig. 3; plate 
VIII, tij:. S). 

Dorsals in 17-21 rows at midhody. more (2.3-20) on 
the neck, fewer (13) i)osteriorly. Ventrals 197-22G ; 
snhcaiulals ."i7-74. 

Dixtrihidiiiii: Tropical rain forest and subtropical 
forest areas (and where such fore.sts have recently dis- 
apiieared) through most of west and central Africa; 
southward to Angola and Zululand. 

Itrmarls: The forest cobi-a has a long wedge-shaped 
hood like that of the spitting cobra (N. itiriricdllix) and 
is often mistaken for the dark color-phase of the latter. 
However, it does not "spit" and differs from the spit- 
ting colira in labial color and in the width of the neck 
bands (4 ventrals versus 7 in N. nigricolUs). 

The forest cobra is seldom aggressive and few bites 
are reported. However, it has a highly toxic venom 
and fatalities are known. 

A polyvalent antivenin ("Kobra") is produced by 
Ki'hringwerke. (Jermany, and Institut Pasteur, Paris. 

Spitting Cobra, Naja nigricollis Keinhardt. 

IdcntificatUin: A broad black band (width of 7 ven- 
trals or more) under the hood or an entirely black un- 
derside, together with the absence of distinctive labial 
coloration, are the best identification features of this 
cobra. Its scales are smooth but not so glossy as these 
of the forest cobra. As in the latter, the hood is long 
and narrow. Adults average 5 to 6 feet ; record is 7 
feet, 4 inches. 

Body color highly variable, ranging from pinkish-tan 
in some areas to unicolor black In others. In South- 
west Africa there is one race with alternating rings of 
brown and black. Light areas underneath are often 
pinkish, even in black individuals (see plate VIII. fig. 9l. 

Dorsals In 17 2,' rows at mldbody, iiiore ( 10 2)1) on 

I k. fewer (II 1(1) posteriorly. Ventrals I7(i 232; Hiib- 

caiidals ri(!-73. 

Dixli-ilnilloii: Tliroughont the siiviinnali areas of 
.\frlca south of the Sahara, invading newly-cleared 
areas. I-'rom west Africa and southern Kgypl. avoiding 
the dense forests, to the borders of the Cape Province. 

IfiUKirlix: This Is one of I lie common cobras of the 
open grasslands and one of I lie most dangerous snakeH 
of Africa. Although if seldom bites, a large individual 
can "spit" (actuall.v sipiirt ) its venom for as far as 9 
feel, aiming at the eyes. The venom does not alTect the 
unbroken skin hut, like that of the ringhals i Hcma- 
i-liiitiix) , in the eyes it causes great pain and spasm of 
the eyelids. The tissues are destroyed unless the 
venom is washed out immediately with water or .some 
olhcr nonirritating liifuid. Subse(pient flushing of the 
eyes with antivenin diluted with water (1 :.") apparently 
is beneficial since the venom is absorbed ipiickly into 
th(> tissues. 

Polyvalent antivenins arc inanufaclured by I'diriiig- 
weike. (lermany; South African Institute for Medical 
Research, .loliannesburg, Republic of South Africa; and 
I lie Instil ul Pasteur. Paris. 

Yellow Cobra, Ntija n/rea (Linnaeus). 

Iilciitijicdiiiiti: A relatively small and slender cobra 
without the black bands under the hood which character- 
ize the forest and spitting cobras and without the row 
of subocular scales that identifies the Egyptian cobra 
(A'. Iiaje). It has a broad and rather rounded hood. 
Adults average 5 to (! feet ; record length about 7 feet. 

Dorsal coloration extremely variable, usuall.v yellow- 
ish to reddish brown but occasionally (southern South- 
west Africa and ad.iacent Cape Province) unicolor 
black ; light color sometimes speckled with dark, or 
vice-versa. Lighter, and usually unicolor. below. One 

Figure G3. — Yellow Cobra. Naja iiirca. This is a yellow- 
speckled brown individual. The hood is not fully 
spread. Photo by New York Zoological Society. 


Central and Soufhern Africa 

or two brown markings or bands below hootl in young ; 
this disappears in adults. 

Dorsals in 19-21 rows at midbody, more (23) on neck, 
fewer (15) posteriorly. Ventrals 195-227; subcaudals 

Distribiitinn: Temperate southern Africa, extending 
northward in the west to central South-West Africa; 
absent east of Basutoland. 

Remarks: If disturbed, this cobra faces the enemy 
with body raised and hood expanded, ready to strike if 
it comes within reach. If left alone it will retreat 
without further signs of aggression. The venom is the 
most toxic of the African cobras and fatalities often 
result if the bite is not treated quickly. 

I'ol.vvalent antivcnins are produced by tlio South Afri- 
can Institute for Medical Research. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Paranaja Loveridge, 1944. 
Burrowing cobra. 

A single, little-known species (P. muUifasciata Wer- 
ner) is known from western Central Africa. The few 
specimens that have been described are all small (2 feet 
or less in length) but have relatively large fangs. Al- 
though no biles arc reported for thi.s species, it must be 
regarded as a polenlially dangerous siuike. 

ncfiiiitinii: Head sliort, flattened, sllglitly distinct 
from body. Body moderately slender, cylindrical, ap- 
parently without a hood ; tail short. 

Eyes of moderate size; pupils round. 

Head scales : Tlie usual 9 scales on the crown : ros- 
tral broad, rounded; inlernasals short. I.aterally, nasal 
in broad contact with single preocular. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in 1.5-17 oblique rows 
at midbody, more (17-19) on neck, fewer (13) posteri- 
orly. Ventrals 1.59-175; anal plate entire; subcaudals 
30-.'59, all or most paired. 

Maxillary teeth: Two tubular fangs with external 
grooves followed, after an intersi)ace, by two small 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Pseudohaje GiJnther, 1858. 
Tree cobras. 

Two species are recognized; both inhabit the tropical 
rain forest region of central and western Africa. They 
have average adult lengths of about 6 feet and indi- 
viduals occasionally approach S feet. Both species are 
considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head short and narrow, .slightly distinct 
from neck; snout broad, rounded, canthus distinct. 
Body slender, tapering; neck region with very slight 
suggestion of hood ; tail long. 

Eyes very large ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; rostral 
broad. Laterally, nasal in contact with preocular or 
separated from it by a "loreal" scale that is occa.sionally 

formed by a vertical suture across the unusually elong- 
ate preocular. 

Figure 64. — Head Scales of I'neudohaje. The long pre- 
ocular is sometimes broken with a vertical suture to 
form a "loreal." This is the only elapid snake in 
which this is known to occur frequently. Drawing 
courtesy of Charles M. Bogert. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth and glossy, in 13-15 
obliipie rows at midbody, the same number or more 
(15) on the neck, fewer (!)-ll) posteriorly. Ventrals 
1S9-205: anal plate entire: subcaudals 74-94, paired. 

Maxillary teeth: Two short fangs with external 
grooves followed, after nn interspace, by 2—1 small 

Gold's Tree Cobra, Psexidohaje goldii (Boul- 

Identification: A long-tailed, mamba-like arboreal 
cobra with shiny black scales and large eyes. It (and 
the closely-related P. nigra) differs from other African 
ciiliras in the apparent absence of a hood, the few scale 
rows (15 at midbody). and the unusually long tail 
(more than 20 percent of total length, versus less than 
20 percent in other cobras). It differs from the niambas 

Figure G5. — Gold's Tree Cobra, Pseudohaje goldii. The 
large eye and the glossy scales are characteristic. 
Photo b.v New York Zoological Society. (See also 
plate VII, figure 2.) 


Poijonous Snokes of iho World 

III liiivliiK II mIiikIc |>I'<-<>i'|iIiii' I ^t In iiiiiiiiIiiim) In iiiiitnil 
Willi tin- iiiiMul or s)-|innilril ri-niu li li.v a "lon-iil" (wlilrly 
sfpariilcil liy prffroiiliil In iiiiinibiis). Ailiills avi'iiim- 
t; 111 7 ffft In IciiKlli; rt'ciinl 7 fi'i-t, II inrlii-H. 

liorsnl siirfart- iinli-olor slilny Mack : iinilci'iiralli Ihc 
iiiiliTlnr liiilf Is yi'lliiw Willi tilark-iiiaruliifil vi'iilriils, 
the I'liuk ln'ioiiilni: (irnKrcsslvi'ly linnulcr |i(islrriiii-ly, 
tail Mark. 

Itnrsals III I'l I'lius nil iiiM-k ami :il iniillpnily. II 

Hinliihiiliiiii: Tlu" Irupirnl lain I'lui'sl if:;liiii I'ldiii 
Nltft'i-ia riistwnnl to rganda and Mmlliunrd In S<iiilli- 
wi-st Afilnl. 

I,'iiiiiiik.i: This colna is rarely ciirnuiiliicd and ncilli- 
In;; appears Id 1h' known (if its vcnniii. A clDscly-ri'latcil 
anil pimrly-known spcrics, /'. iiii/rii (innllicr. ranges 
wi'stwanl ti> Sicrru I.t-nnt'. 

\i) antivonin is proiluceil for I'illur "( |]icsi> spcrii's. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Adenorhinos Marx & Rabb, 1965. 
\\'oiin-eiitiiij:; viper. 

A siiiKlo species, .1. Iiarhoiiii ( Lovcridye), is ro<-iif;- 
iii/.eil in this recently described genus from Tanzania. 
It is a small species, reportedly feeding on eaitlnvornis, 
and is not believed to l)e dangerous. 

Ili/iiiiliiiii: Head nioilcrately broad and distinct from 
neck; snout short and rnundcd : canthus rostralis oliluse. 
liody moderately slender; tail moderate in length. 

Kyes very large ( T,4 times the distance to lip) ; pupils 
vertically elliptical. 

Head scales: No enlarged scutes on crown, covered 
with small imbricate keeled scales. Laterally, nostril 
in anterior part of single nasal, which has a posterior 
ilepression : nasal in conta<t with preocular; a single 
ni\v (if subocnlars separating eye from upper labials; 
anterior and posterior temporals single. 

Hody scales: Dorsals keeled except for first row, 
in 20-23 rows at midbody. Ventrals rounded, llG-122 ; 
snbcaudals single, 10-21. 

I'liiiKihs: This species was recently removed from 
the genns Mlicris by Jlarx and Rabb (190."): ISC). 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Athens Cope, 1862. 
.Vl'iicaii liiisli \ipefs. 

Six species are recognized in the genus, which is re- 
stricted to tropical Africa. All (jf the species are rela- 
tively small, prehensile-tailed, arboreal snakes which 
reach a maximum length of less than .3 feet. Although 
few bites have been recorded, the recent description 
of a bite from a small specimen (Knoepffler, 1065) sug- 
gests that the bite of a .30-inch individual might be a 

Drfinitiiin: Head very broad and sharply distinct 
from narrow neck ; canthus distinct, snout broad. Uody 
relatively slender, taiiering, slightly compressed; tail 
prehensile, moderate in length. 

Eyes moderately large ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : Xo enlarged jilates on crown, covered 

with Kiniill imbricate nciiIcs which may be sinoolb >>r 
keeled, I.alcrally, 2 .'! Hal scales belween nasal iiml 
eye; eye sepanilcil fvmw labials by I .'t rows of Miiall 

Ilody scales: |)(Osuls si rongly kcclc(l, wllb apical 
pits; lateral scales sniiiller than those near dorsal mid- 
line, not serrated; scales In l.'i .'td obllipie rows at mid- 
body, fewer 111 I'.H posteriorly. Venlrals rouiiilcil, 112- 
IT.'i; snbciindals single. '.\s 07. 

I^iiiiiiihn: .Marx and Kabb ( lOC.'i : ISC) removed A. 
liiirliDiiri Loveridge from .W/io/.i and made it the type 
(if a new genus, AdcnuiliinDn. (See also remarks under 
li/K/u .iKiiirriliariH.) 

Sedge Viper, Atlwris nitsclK'i 'roiiiiei'. 

Iilriili/icalioii : \ rather stout-bodied arboreal vijier, 
usually green wilh black markings. Dorsal scales rela- 
tively small ami numerous, .\diilts average 20 to 24 
inches in length: ]-e((jr(l Icnglh is 2.S^1 inches (Pitman, 
I'.ar,: 28.j). 

Crown of head usually green with a V-shaped or A- 
shaped mark; sometimes almost entirely black. Body 
bright to olive green, irregularly marked uilh black or 
with scales tipped with black, occasionally almost uni- 
cob.r black with a lighter tail. Belly distinctly lighter 
than dorsal surface, yellowish or very pale green. 

Dorsals in 2.V32 rows at midbody, the same number 
or more on neck, fewer (10) posteriorly. Venlrals 143- 
ICA ; snbcaudals 3.S-.-),S. 

})islrihiilio}i: Mountain areas of the eastern Congo 
and T'ganda southward to northern Rhodesia. Some- 
times found on the ground but usually in the reeds and 

FiouKE GO. — Sedge Viper, Atlicrix iiitscJici. Photo by 
New York Zoological Society. ( See also plate VII, 
figure G. ) 


Central and Souihern Africa 

impynis of lake margins (ji- niilaiid swaiiips, (ir in the 
elephant grass of luiiiiid valleys up to a height of 10 
feet from the ground. Reported at altitudes of G.OOO to 
".."00 feet. 

lyciiiiirks: This is a ver.v common Imsli viper in its 
rather lestricted range. It appears to he a minor 

\o antivenin is iiroduceil for this grouji of vipers. 

Green Bush Viper, Athrrix sijim iii'kiciii (llalld- 

Iil('iiUfiriiti<iii : \ green or sometimes yellow viper 
without any lilack markings. It usually has yellow 
crossbands or i>aired yellow siiols hut may he almost 
unicolor. Dorsal scales larger and fewer than in .1. 
vitsc]ici. Uody \isnally slender hut large individuals 
may he (piite sloul. .\<lulls average alMUil 18 to 24 
inches in length: occasional individuals approach 30 

Crown of head uni<-olor green: labials light yellow or 
cream. Body green usually with 30-35 narrow yellow 
crossbands or iiaired yellow spots; .sometimes unicolor 
green or yellow with scattered green scales. Chin 
yellow; belly like the dorsal surface. 

Dorsals l.")-2.S on neck and at midbody. fewer i 11-17) 
posteriiuly. Venlrals l.")L'-I7."i : subcau<lals t."« ()7. 

Flo I UK (!7. — (Ireen I'.ush S'ipei', Alliiiis siiniiiiiii/ciyi. 
IMioto by Isabclle Hunt Conant. i Sec also jilate VII. 
figure T). ) 

DistritiKtifDi: The troiiical rain forest region from 
western Kenya and the Cameroons to Angola ; on the 
island of Fernando Po. 

Remarks: This snuill arboreal viper, tliough common 
through the forest areas, appears to be a minor hazard. 
A very similar species. .1. rltlororrhix ( Schlegel ) . ranges 
through Ihe forests <if west Africa. 

No antivenin is produced for this group of vipers. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Atradaspis Smith, 1849. 

Mole xipers. 

Sixteen species are c\irrently recognized. All are 
.\fiicnn except for I wo: .1. rnnaddoifiix Haas (which 
ranges from Kgypt to Israel) and .1. mirrolcpidata 
( which is found in the southern part of the Arabian 
I'eninsula as well as through much <if north and central 
Africa). All are snnill snakes, less than 3 feet in 

length. However, they have large fangs (which look 
enormous in the small month) and are capable of in- 
tlicting serious bites on those who attempt to pick them 
up or who step (ju them with hare feet. 

Definition: Head short and conical, not distinct from 
neck, no canthus: snout broad, flattened, often iwinted. 
Uody cylindrical, slender in small individuals, stout in 
larger ones; tail .short, ending in distinct spine. 

Eyes very small : impils round. 

I''l(;i'KK (>.s. -Crown scutes of Atraclasjiix irri (/iilaris. 
The broad rostral and frontal, the small supraoculars, 
and the contact of nasal and preocnlar are shown. 
These are all characteristics of the genus. 'See also 
l)lafe VII, ligs, 7-.S.) Redrawn from Pitman. 1!»38. 

Head ,scales : The usiuil !) crown scales, rostral 
enlarged, extending between internn.sals to some degree, 
often pointed; frontal large and broad, supraoculars 
small. Laterally, nasal in contact with single preocnlar 
(no loreal), iismilly one postocular. 

Rod.v scales: Dorsals smooth without apical pits, in 
111-37 nonobliipie rows at midbody. Ventrals 17s 37(i: 
anal plate entire or divided (the only vijjerid snakes 
with divided anal plates) ; subcaudals single or paired, 

Bibron's Mole Viper, At rdctitspls hihronii Smitli, 

Iilciiliticiiliiin : \ iiuriilish-hrown or black, relatively 
slender viper with small head and strongly projecting 
snout. Adults average l.">-18 inches in length ; occa- 
sional individuals may slightly exceed 2 feet. 

Dorsal color usually uniform, dark brown or black, 
often with a iiuriilish sheen. Ventral color creamy 
white, yellowish, siiotted with brown or entirely brown 
except for light anterior edges to the ventrals. Ventral 
cohu', when light, extends \ip onto the first 2-3 rows of 
dorsal scales and onto the lips. 

Five supralabials and one (occasionally two) anterior 
temporal ; third infralabial greatly enlarged, separated 
from its fellow below by 2-3 scales. Dorsals in 21-25 
rows at midbody. Ventrals 100-200; anal plate entire; 
sidicaudals 10-28. all or mostly single. 

DixtrHiiition: These snakes usually live under stones 
(u- in burrows and are commonly seen on the surface 
only after heavy rains have driven them from their 
subterranean (juarters. From Angola and sotithern 


Poiionouj Snakp'i ■■>' ''i-- Wnr/i 

KliiMlfsiii siiiilhuaiil l<> .s>>iiilii'i II Siiiilh\v<>st Afi'lru Mild 

iK'imiirkit: Tills siimll \l|u'r Is iIi'Si-i'IIiimI ( Kll/Sliiiuiis. 
I'.MIJ: ;Vj;Sl as "fXi-fiMHiiuly Irnscllilc niul Is very iiiilrU 
III liltr oil tlu> It-ast iiriiviM'iUlitli." Miiiiy iiciiidc have 
hcfii l.lllcii Willi iitlflii|itoil 111 pick up a iimlc vlprr in 
llif usual rasliiiiii t i.i'.. JusI lit'liiiul llic hcaili. A|ipar- 
piilly llic pfi-ullar Imdy iiii>rpliiilii«y makes I Ills iiiinl 

Ill a strike, tlie head Is llirowii iivi-r Hit' vicliiu, llii- 
sides of the lower jaw are drawn medially to expose 
the faiiKs (often only one), and then the head is jerked 
downwaiil mid liackward to embed the faii;;s in the 

Tlie bite of even a small individual causes intense 
liHiil pain and swelliii};. and dl'leii has severe syslemif 
effects as well. 

Xo antivenin is iiimluccd tor tliis f;i'"iip of vi|iers. 

Western Mole Viper, Afracfftfiptu corpulenta ( ITiil- 

Iili iili/itatiiiii: A slate-colored, rather stout viper with 
small head and strongly-projecliii),' snout. Adults aver- 
age IS to 20 inches in length : occasional individuals 
may attain a length of 2 feet. 

Dor.sal color slate-gray or .slate-liluc ; often tcnuiiial 
portion of tail white. Lighter underneatli. 

Five sii|iralaliials and a single anterior tciiipoiMl : 
second infralabial greatly enlarged, fused with chin 
shields and in contact with its fellow. Dorsals 23-29 
at midliody. X'entrals 17.S-20S; anal plate entire: suh- 
caudals 22-2,S. all or nearly all single. 

Distribution: The tropical rain forest region from 
the Ivory to the eastern Congo. 

I' on (I lies: Little appears to have been recorded con- 
cerning the habits or the effect of the bite of this small 
viper. Nevertheless, it should be regarded with suspi- 
cion and treated with respect (See Kemarks under A. 
Iiihroiiii and -1. niicrnlriiirfota.) 

Northern AAole Viper, Af/'/icf(i.s/>t.s viicrole'p'tdotu 

Iilciitification: A slender, small headed and short- 
snouted viper that is black or dark brown above and 
below. Adults average 20 to 24 inches In length ; oc- 
casional individuals approach a length of 30 inches. 

Color uniform dark brown or black, usually witli a 
bluish .sheen, above and below. 

Six or seven supralabials and 2-3 anterior temporals: 
none of infralabials greatly enlarged. Dorsals in 25- 
37 rows at midbody. Ventrals 210-24.") ; anal plate entire 
or divided: subcaudals 23-.S7, all or mostly single. 

Di.itrihiition: The savannah regions of northern and 
western Africa from Mauritania to Somalia, I'ganda, 
and It is known from various localities in 
the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula ( AtractaniHS 
micnihpiiliitu aiiitcrxoiiii Boulenger) but the relation- 
ships of this form with other species is not clear. 

Rcmarh-i: This snake is one of the commonest poi- 
sonous snakes in the Sudan (Corkill, 1935: 30) and is 

said to be the .second most freipieiit cause of snakebite 
accidents and ilealli. Of three cases in which this 
mole viper was Ideiil illcil. one adult man died anil two 
(also adults), Ihouuli hit ten by small snakes, werr- very 
seriously affected. .\ linger series (Corkill, Ul.")(>) gave 
a 2."i percent niorlalily. 

\o antivenin is produced for Ibis group of snakes. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Bitis Gray, 1842. 
.V I'lii-aii vipci's. 

Ten sjieeies are I'ounil in tropical and southern Africa. 
They include the largest of the true vijiers (Viperidae) 
as well as some small and moderately sized ones; all 
of the members of (his genus arc ilaiigerous, some of 
them extremely so, 

Drfinition: Head broad and very distinct from nar- 
row neck; snout ,short, a distinct canthns, Hody some- 
what depressed, moderately to extremely stout; tail 

K.ves small: pupils vcrlicall.v elliptical. 

Head scales: Xo enlarged plates on crown, covered 
with small scales. Some species have enlarged and erect 
scales on snout or above eye. Laterally, rostral sepa- 
rated froiu nasal by (in li. worthingtoni) to G (in 
some li. nasirornis) rows of small scales, eye separated 
from supralabials by 2-5 rows of small scales. 

I'ody scales : Dorsals keeled with apical pits, in 21- 
4(! nonoblique or slightly oblique rows at midbody, fewer 
anteriorly and posteriiu-ly. \'entrals rounded or with 
faint lateral keels, 112-1.53; subcaudals paired, laterally 
keeled in some sjiecies, 10-37, 

Horned Puff Adder, /.'/V/s- nnit/nJ/s (Sniitli). 

Tdrntifiration: A faded, light-colored desert viper 
with short snout and raised supraorbital ridges. A 
single hornlike spine over the eye is characteristic of 
this species, but rarely it may be absent. Similar South 
African vipers usually have either multiple "horns" (li. 
c(irnuta) or lack them entirely (Ji. atropos). Adults 
average 12 to 15 inches in length : record length is "close 
on 20 inches." 





FiGTRE 69. — Horned I'liff Adder, liitia miiiluUx. I'hoto 
by New York Zoological Society. 


Central and Southern Africa 

Dorsal colfir varies from rather dark rertdisli to gray- 
ish brown in tlie east to very light gray, buff, or pinliish 
in the west. A vertebral row of rectangular blotches 
with a \isually alternating series of smaller and more 
rounded blotches laterally. Blotches usually with light 
centers and often white-edged. A dark-edged light hand 
passes across the crown through the eyes and ol)U(iuely 
to the rear of the mouth : a V-shaped mark on crown. 
Pattern obscure in western, light-colored individuals. 

Dorsals in 21-29 rows at midhody. Ventrals 120-1.")3: 
subcaudals 18-34, the posterior ones usually with lateral 

Dixtrihiition: Desert regions of southern Angola and 
western Rhodesia southward through the central jiart 
of Cape Province; absent frnm eastern and western 
parts of the Cape. 

ItriiKirlcn: This small viper has a highly toxic venom 
and some deaths are reported as a result of its bite. 
It often conceals it.self in the surface of tlie sand and 
strikes out from this jiosilion willi lillle provocation. 

Antiveniiis i I'olyv.-ilcni, froui oilier vi|icr venoms) 
produced by Hehringwei-ke. the Inslilul Pasteur and 
the Soulb .\frican Institute for .Medical Kesearch are 
said to be effective. 

Gaboon Viper, /////'.s (/(ihoiiicn. ( I )iiiiir'iil, 15ibroii, 
and DiiiiKM'il ). 

Iilciilififiiliiiii: A ver.v large and extremely thick- 
bodied vi])er with a distinctive color pattern; crown of 
head t.iu willi .1 luirrow brown median stripe. The only 
snake with which it is likely to be confused is the river 
ja<-k ( /)'. iKixicdniix ) . wliicli luis a large and distinct 
arrow-shaped mark on the crown. Adults average 4 to 
5 feet: record length is 6 feet nVj inches (from Sierra 
Leone ) . 

Bod.v ]iatlerii is a comiilex geometrical arrangement of 
tans, blues, and blacks, some of the markings with 
white edges. The pattern may be (piite brilliant luit it 
is highly disruptive and the gaboon viper is diffiiult to 
see on the leaf-covered forest floor. 

A iiair of triangular nasal "horns," much more evident 

in west African individuals. Dorsals in 28-46 slightly 
oblique rows at midhody. Ventrals 12.5-140; subcaudals 

Diistrihittion: Tropical rain forests and their im- 
mediate environs from Sierra Leone and southern Sudan 
southward to northern Angola and northern Xatal. 

RrmnrUx: This is the largest of the vipers. The 
fangs are almost 2 inches long in large individuals and 
there are very large amoiuits of highly toxic venom. 
However, the gaboon viper is nocturnal in habit and 
difficult to awaken in the daytime. Relatively few bites 
are inflicted by this sluggish snake but they are very 
serious and usually are lethal without iirompt treatment. 

Polyvalent antivenins are lu'oduced by Behringwerke, 
the InstitiU Pasteur and the Soiuh .\frican Instilute 
for Medical Research. 

PufF Adder, Hitix itricfniix ( Mi'iiem ). 
I<l< iitifiiatioii: The rough-scaled appearance and the 
alternating pattern of dark and light chevron-shaped 

■S.V-.V . V...- ... .,.>.,■..■.' •■ . 

l-'icruE 71. — Puff Adder, Hitis arictans. Photo by Zoo- 
logical Society of San Diego. (See also plate II, 
tigure 4.) 

PiGt-TRE 70. — Gaboon Viper, liitix i/iiboiiii-u. I'hoto by 
Charles Hackenbrock and Staten Island Zoo. 

markings are characteristic. Head lanccolale: nostrils 
face more directly upward than in other African vipers. 
-Vdults average 3 to 4 feet : occasional individuals attain 
.1 length of .") feet. 

A light band crosses head lictweeii eyes and is con- 
tinued as a diagonal band from the eye to the rear of 
the mouth. Ground cohu- varies from light grayish tan 
or yellow to dark brown: either the light or the dark 
chevron series ma.v be emphasized, depending on the 
density of the ground color. 

Dorsals in 29-41 rows at midbody. Ventrals 124-147; 
subcaudals 16-37. 

DistrihiitiiDi: Savannah and grasslands from Morocco 
,ind western Arabia throughout Africa except for the 
Sahara and rain forest regions. Found from sea level 
to elevations of at least 9,000 feet. 

neinarlii: Due to Its wide distribution, common oc- 
currence, and lethal potential, the imff adder probably 
kills more people than any other African snake. The 


Poijonouj Snakei of f/»e World 

VfiiKUi U .stronyly to\lr. iniislnt: \vlilrs|in'iul llssiir ilc 
slnu'tloii anil hIt'rtlhiK fi"m iiiucoiis mcinliniiics. IimiIi 
fvlfnuill.v aiul liitcrimll.v. A puff lulilcr of iivrnii;!' di 
im-lisliilis limy lllivi> slltllril'llt vciicnii In kill I In .'i llicll. 
Dfiitli limy iii'l 'iri'iir fm- iimrc limn 2^ hours and Is 
usually prfii'«lftl by si-vcrc inlcnml licniniorliimcs. Tlu' 
snake Is nui'liirnal, slow iiiovIiik. anil li'iiils In ii'iiiiiiii 
liniiiohilt" when aiiiiroarlnMl, 

Aniivi-nins aii- inoilurt'il liv r.rliilM;;ui'rki', llir Instil ill 
I'astfiir. iiiiil lln- Smilli Afiiran Insliliili- for MimIIimI 

River Jack, /lifis naslcorii/-^ (Sliaw). 

hh iitifiiiiliitii: \ lai-Ki' anil cxlri'iiii'ly thlcU-liodlofl 

viper with relatively small head and Iw ■ llini' 

pairs of nasal ••horns." Most easily distinguished froni 
the Cabooii viper ( wliiili may have a pair of nasal 
■liorns'i l>y the lar^-e dark arrow-shaped mark on .the 
crown. Adult snakes are l^'j to ."iVj feet in length; ex- 
eeptionnl individuals attain a leiiKth n( I feet. 

Hody pattern very eoniplex. usually made up of a 
vertebral series of 1.")-1S [laired. vellow-edKed blue 
blotihes. with a lateral series of li>;ht-edf;ed dark tri- 
anules exteiidinj; up from the belly, (iroiiml color varies 
tbroii-h various shades of blue. pink, purple, and green. 
In spite of its brilliant colors the pattern blends well 
with the forest tlnor. 

Dorsals in 3."j— 11 rows at niidbody. ^'entrals 1"J4- 
140; subeaudals 10-32. 

Figure 72. — River .Tack. Ilitin iiiiairdniin. The arrow- 
shaped head marking is distinctive. Photo by Isabelle 
Hunt Conaiit. (See also [ilate II, figure 3.) 

Disirihiitioii: Swamps, river banks, and other moist 
habitats through the tro|iical rain forest region from 
Liberia and Uganda s<juth\vard through the Congo re- 

Remarks: The river jack has a more restricted 
range than the gabooii viper and apiiarently inflicts 
even fewer bites. However, its venom is reported to 
be highly toxic and it is not as placid as the latter. 

Antivenins are produced by Behringwerke. the Institut 
I'asteur. and the South .\fricaii Institute for Medical 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Cousus Wciglcr, 1830. 
.\l;^lil aililers. 

Koiir species are found III tropical and southern Africa. 
.None attains a length of over .'1 fed. The fangs are 
relatively small, and the venom is rather mildly toxic. 
They look surprising like noniioisonons snakes. .N'ight 
adders are iml con^idcic'd (langcrniis to life but Ibcir 
bile is painful. 

Dcfiiiil iiiii : Ilc.iil iNoilcratc in si'/.e, fairly distinct 
from neck, an olilusc canlhiis. l'.<Mly cyliiHliiciil or 
slightly depressed, moderately slciiilcr : tail short. 

l':yes moderate in size: pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual crown scales; rostral 
broad, sometimes pointed and uplnrned; frontal long, 
supraoculars large. I,aterally, a loreal present, sejiarat- 
ing nasal and preoculars; suboculars present, separating 
eye from labials. 

Hody scales: Dorsals sn th or weakly keeled, with 

apiial pits, in l."-^22 obli<|ue rows at midbody, fewer 
111 111 posteriorly. Wntrals rounded, lOO-l")."! ; sub- 
caiidals single or |iaircd, 10-33. 

Rhotnbic Night Adder, Criusus rhonihrafiis (Lioh- 

Idcntificutiini: A satiny sheen to the .scale.s and a 
V-shaiied marking on the back of the head are character- 
istic of Ibis snake. It differs fr<jni llie other night ad- 
ders in having a rounded snout and a relatively lui- 
inoditied rostral scute. Adults average about 2 feet in 
length ; exceiitional individuals reach "close on 3 feet." 

Ground color light gray to dark brown or olive with a 
series of 20-30 squarish blotches down the back ; irregu- 
lar markings laterally. Markings are often white-edged. 
I'nicolor white or yellowish below, ventrals occasionally 
have dark edges. 

Distrihution: Widely distributed through the savan- 

Fic.tRK 73.— Head scales of Rhcmlbic Night Adder, Vau- 
6-H.s' rhoiiihcatiis. Note the rear projection of the 
rostral, the presence of a loreal, and of suboculars; 
all of these are characteristic of the genus. (See 
also [ilate VIII, tigs. 4-0). Redrawn from ritmun, 


Central and Southern Africa 

nah and grasslands, but preferrinR damp areas. From 
Sudan and Somalia to Angola in the west, and along 
the eastern Cape to its tip. 

Rrmarlcs: This nocturnal viper is usuall.y inoffensive 
and most bites are a result of persons stepping on the 
snake in the dark. The venom is not of higli toxicity 
and a bite usually results in nothing more than local 
swelling and pain. If teased, the adder flattens the 
ncik. puffs up the bod.v aiul hisses loudly, striking out 
wildly at any moving object. No antivcinu is produced 
for this gidup of vipers. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Ec/i/s Merrem, 1820. 
Siuv-sciiled vipers. 

Two si)ecies are recognized. One (/v. cfiloraliix) is 
reslriclcil In c;islci-ii Kgypl. the .\raliiaii I'ciiinsula. and 
Isiacl. The other iE. cfiriiiatKs ) ranges from Ceylon 
and scjutliern India across western Asia and north 
Africa soutlnvard into tropical Africa. Altliough neither 
attains a length of .3 feet, the.v possess a highly toxic 
venom and are responsible for many deaths. When dis- 
turbed they characteristically inltate the body and pro- 
duce a hissing .sound by rubbing the saw-edged lateral 
scales against one another. This same pattern of be- 
havior is sliijun liy I lie noniioisonous egg-eating snakes 
Ddsiiiii ilia. 

DcfiiiiliDii : Ilcail limad. very dislincl frnni narrow 
neck; canlluis indistinct. Body cylindrical, moderatel.v 
slender: tail short. (See p. s:? and lig. ."ilM. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales: A narrow s\ipraocular sometimes pres- 
ent : otherwise crown covered with small scales, which 
may lie smooth or keeled. Rostral and nasals distinct. 
Laterally eye separated from labials by 1— t rows of 
small scales; nasal in <'ontact with rostral or separated 
from it by a row of small scales. 

l?o(ly scales: Dorsals keeled, with apical jiits. lateral 
.scales smaller, with serrate keels, in 27.37 obli(iue rows 
at midliody. \'entrals roundi'd, 1.32-20.") ; subcaudals 
single. 21-.-2. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Vipera Laurenti, 1768. 
Title addeis. 

Eleven species are recognized. This is an especially 
variable grii\iii. with snnie nicTiilicrs llial are snniU and 
relatively innocuous (e.g., T. Ikiks) and others that are 
extremely dangerous (T'. Ichrtiiid. ^'. i-KsxcUi). They 
are found from northern Eurasia thrnughout tliat con- 
tinent and into ni>rth Africa. One species ranges intn 
the East Indies ( 1'. nisuclii), and two are found in east 
Africa (see Remarks under V. sKiicrciliaris) . 

Dc/iiiitioii: Head broad, distinct from narrow neck; 
canthus distinct. Body cylindrical, varying from mod- 
erately .slender to stimt ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size to small : jiupils verticall.v el- 

Head scales: Variable: one species (T. iir.shiii) has 
all 1) crown scutes, most species have at least the supra- 

oculars, but even these are absent in one (T. Ichcthia) : 
head otherwise covered with small scales. Laterally, 
nasal in contact with rostral or separated by a single 
enlarged scale fthe nasorostral), eye separated from 
supralabials by 1— t rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dor.sals keeled, with apical pits, in 19- 
.31 nonoblique rows at midbody. Ventrals rounded, 120- 
180; subcaudals paired, 20-C4. 

African Lowland Viper, Vipera sitperciUaris 

Identificalion: The only viper in central Africa with 
.supraocular plates but with the remainder of the crown 
covered with small scales, .\dults average about 20 
to 24 inches in length. 

Eyes moderate in size ; snout rounded with distinct 

Head with symmetrical black markings; body pale 
reddish-brown with a vertebral row of black crossbars 
wliidi are broken laterally by an interrupted yellowish 
stripe. Ventral surface white with black spots. 

Head covered with small imbricate keeled scales ex- 
cept for the large supraoculars. Dorsals in 26-30 rows 
at midbody. Ventrals 142-159; subcaudals 32-43. 

Dixtribiitimi: Lowland areas of Tanzania (near Lake 
X.vasa ) and Mnzambii|ue. 

I'cmarlK: Xn bites by this snake have been reported. 
It is a rare snake in collections and its relationships 
(together with that of T. Iiiiulii Boulenger) are still in 
dispute. Kramer ( 19(!1 ) believes that these two vipers 
are closely related to the desert-dwelling members of the 
genus Bitis (e.g., B. raudalix), while Marx and Rabb 
(190."i) believe that they represent a terrestrial branch 
of the genus Atlirris. 

{See also General /References) 

AXGEL, F. 1933. T>es serpents <le rAfrifpie oc- 
cideiitale FnuK-iiise. T>arose Ed., Paris. 
246 p.. 83 figs. 

KOCiEKT, diaries M. 1040. Ilerpetoloiriral Re- 
sults of the Veriiay Angola Expedition, with 
Notes on .\fri(;in Kejitilcs in Other Collec- 
tions. Part I. Snakes. Tncliidinir tin Ar- 
r;inoenient of African Colnbridue. Bnll. 
Aiuer. Mils. Nat. ITist., 77 (Art 1) : 1-107, 
Ho-s. 1-lS. pi. 1. 

BOGERT. Charles M. l!)4-i. Pseudohaje Gim- 
ther. -V Valid Genns for Two "West African 
Arboreal Cobras. Anier. Mus. Novitates 
(1174): 1-9, figs. 1-8. 

liROADLEY. Donald G. 1959. The Herpeto- 
logy of Southern Rhodesia. Part 1. Snakes. 
Bull. Mus. Conip. Zool., 120 (1) : 1-100, figs. 
1-10, pis. 1-0. 


Poisonous Snah«s of the World 

REFERENCES (continued) 

CANSDALK. (;.-(ii.;o S. VMM. West Alii<im 

SiKikfs. Ijon^iiiaiis (irct-n i<: ( 'n.. litd. I.oii 

(Idii. 74 ))., .34 fifjs. (most in coloi ). 
(OK'KILI,, \. L. I!).'.r>. Xott's (111 Sii(l:iii SiiaUos. 

I'lil.l. Siul;in (iovt. Mils. (N:il. Hist.), (•'5) : 

(not seen). 
COKKTIJ., Xoriuan L. r.).">(!. Snuki' roisoniiiir 

ill I ho Siuhiii. p. :'.:•. l-;5;5!), figs. 1-5. In E. K. 

Huckley luul N. Porjjes, Venoms, I'iil>. .\iii. 

A-;s()c. AilvaiU'. Sri. (44). 4(>T p. 
lH)rc'I«:T, Jeuii. VMV.\. Les serpents de la Ive- 

pul)li(liie <le Cote (I'lvoire. Acta Tropica, 

•10 (•:-, & 4) : 201-;U(). Iljis. 1-57, pis. 1-10. 
FITZSIMOXS, Vivian F. ^l. 1902. Siiai<cs of 

Southern Africa. Macdonald & Co., Ltd., 

London. 423 p., 74 color pis., lOf; (ipjs., 78 

KXOHPFFLER, Louis-Philippe. 1965. Auto- 
observation i)ar morsuie iVAtlieri-s sp. To.xi- 

con, 2 : 275-276. 
KRAMER, Eugen. 1961. Uher zwei afrikanische 

Zwergputfottern, Bifn^ hindii (Bouleno;er, 

1910) und Bitis mpeveiliarJn Peters, 1854). 

Vierteljahrsschrift naturf. Ges. Zurich, 106: 

419-423, fig. 1. 
LAFREXT, Raymond F. 1956. Contribution a 

rileipetologie de la region des Grands Lacs 

de TAfrique central. Parts 1-3. Ann. Mus. 

Royal Congo Pelgie, ser. 8 (sci. zool.), 48: 

1-390, figs. 1-50, pis. 1-31. 
LAURENT, Raymond F. 1956. Esquisse d'une 

faune herpetologique du Ruanda-Urundi. 

Bull. Nat. Beiges, nov-dec. 1956 : 280-287. 
LAURENT, Raymond F. 1964. Reptiles et Am- 

phibiens de I'Angola. Pub. Culturais Mus. 

Dnndo (67) : 1-165, figs. 1-40. 
LEESON, Frank. 1950. Identification of Snakes 

of the Gold Coast. Crown Agents for the 

Colonies, London. 142 p., 65 figs., 33 pis. (13 

L( )VEi;ir)CTE, Arthur. 1953. Zoological Results 

of a Fifth PLxpedition to East Africa. III. 

Reptiles from Nyasaland and Tete. Bull. 

Mus. Comp. Zool., 110 (3) : 143-322, figs. 1-4, 

pis. 1-5. 
LOVERIDGE, Arthur. 1957. Check List of the 

Reptiles and Amphibians of East Africa 

(L'ganda; Kenya; Tanganyika; Zanzibar). 

Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 117 (2) : 153-362. 

M \\ \( AS. Sara. 1956. Dfidiosdc M()caiiilii(|iie. 
.Mfiii. .Inula rnvesl. I lliam., K: i:'.5-I60. 

MERTEXS, iv'obiTl. Ilcipftologisclie 
Frgclinissc ciiicr Rcist^ iiacli Eanieriin. Abli. 
seiiciiciilH'rgisclien nalurf. (ies., 442: 1-52, 
pis. l-IO. 

:\fER'i'EXS, Robert. in.-)5. Die Anipliibieii und 
Rcptilien .Sudwcstafiikas. Aus den Eigei)- 
niissen eiuer im .Tahre 1952 ausgefulii-ten 
Reise. Abliandl. senckenbergisclien naturf. 
Ges., 490: 1-172, 24 i)ls. (1 color). 

PARKER, 11. W. 1919. 'Ihe Snakes of Somali- 
land and the Sokofra Islands. Zool. Verli. 
Rijksmus. Nat. TTist. Leiden (0) : 1-115, figs. 
1-11, maj). 

I'ERRET, .r. L. 1960. Une nouvelle et remar- 
([uable espece d'Atractaspis (Viperidae) et 
quelques autres Serpents d'Afrique. Rev. 
Suisse Zool., 67 (5) : 129-139, figs. 1-4. 

IMTMAN, Charles R. S. 1938. A Guide to the 
Snakes of Uganda. Pub. Uganda Soc, Kam- 
pala, Uganda. 362 p., 2 figs., 23 color pis. 

POPE, ClitTord ir. 1958. Fatal Bite of Captive 
African Rear-fangcd Snake (D/s//hoJ/(lu>i). 
Copeia, 1958 (4) : 280-282. 

SCHMIDT, Karl P. 1923. Contributions to the 
Ilerpetology of the Belgian Congo Based on 
the Collection of the American Museum 
Congo E.xpedition. 1909-1915. Part IL 
Snakes. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 49 
(art. 1) : 1-146, figs. 1-15, pl.s. 1-22, maps 

SWEENEY, R. C. H. 1961. Snakes of Nyasa- 
land. Nyasaland Soc. & Nyasaland Govt. 
Zomba, Nyasaland. 200 p., 43 figs., map. 

VISSER, John. 1966. Poisonous Snakes of 
Southern Africa and the Treatment of 
Snakebite. Howard Timniins: Capetown, 60 
pp., 65 figs. (60 col.). 

WITTE, Gaston-Francois de. 1941. Batraciens 
et reptiles. //(. Exploration du Pare Na- 
tional Albert, Mission G. F. de Witte (193-3- 
1935). Pub. Inst. Pare Nationaux Congo 
Beige, fasc. .33: 1-261, figs. 1-54, pis. 1-76. 

WITTE, Gaston-Francois de. 1962. Genera des 
serpents du Congo et du Ruanda-Urundi. 
Ann. Mus. Royal Afrique Central, ser. 8 
(104) : 1-20.3, figs. 1-94, pis. 1-15. 


Section 7 

Definition of the Region: 
Include)! Asian Turkey, Syria, Jordan,, Israel. Lebanon, the Arabian Penin- 
sula, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the (reorgian. Armenian Azerbaidshan. 
Turkmen. T'.~hil\ Tadzhih. Kirgiz and Kazakh Soriafixt Soviet Republics. 



Map of the region 107 

Introduction 107 

Distribution Chart 106 

Key to Genera 108 


Xaja 107 

Walterinnesia 107 


At ractaspis 107 

BitiJi 109 

Cera.ftes 110 

Echis 110 

EristicopMs 110 

Pseudocerastes 110 

Vipera 111 


A(/kistrodon 112 

References 113 


Poisonous Snakes of (ho World 



















ass Mi""M 

ill 1 1 1 1 1 i i 1 1 1 >^ i t» t^ I y. 

MSS »!*J!5I » 1!M»P"i 

i 5= i i i i i is 1 i i i i ^ 5: i t^ 

|75 lill |i||tO| 

ass i»q'n » U3ui5|jnx 

i*! iii'»i^ii'»| (^ 

HS S uri|2picqj3zv 


iji iiiiiiiixkix>^;^ z 

1 1 ! 1 1 1 1 1 1 ! 1 1 1 


i >^ 1 i i i i i K 1 1 M i j 1 H i i 
1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 ' ' 1 1 1 ' 


' 1 1 1 1 1 ' f 1 ' 1 ' . 1 

UBUIQ 9 )l!3Sn}^ 

' ; 1 1 1 1 ; 1 1 1 1 ; 1 1 

i ! i i 1 1 ^ '"• i =-• i i i i i i 
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 . 1 ] 1 1 

uapv V U3UI3A 

' ' 1 ' ' ! 1 1 < 1 ' 1 1 

y \' !xx=-i><xiiiii|i| 1 
'I 1 ' ' ' 1 1 ' ' ' 1 1 

EiqciV Jpn^S 

^ \ ^ i 1 X - t^ ^ 1 Z 1 1 i 12; 1 1 1 

iiBMn^ ^ bEJi 

\ \ y \\\^\«^\\^\\\y\\ 

uoueq»7 ^ pejsi 

llx ajijwa}|ajla2i||?;lx ; 


fH \ X ^ \ \ X \ \ X \ X \ \ \ ^- \ X 


\ \ w \ \ I ^' I '' \ \ '^' % \ \ X \ X i 

X3)(jnx UEisy 

i 1 i i i ^ 1 *^ "• ^ i 


Naja haje 

Naja naja 

Walterinuesia aegyptia 


Atraetaspis engaddensis 

A. microlepidota 

Bitis arietans 

Cerastes cerastes 

C. vipera 

Echis carinatus 

E. coloratus 

Eristic(>phis nuicmahonii 

Pseudocerastes persicus 

Vipera ammodytes 

V. berus 

V. kaznakovi 

V. lebetina 

V. ursinii 

V. xanthina 


Agkistrodon halys 




■a ~ 

<c -. a 
*" " 3 

a, c a; 
t. _ — 


" 2 a 



C o 0; 


2 t- c 

Ml £: 

'^ ^ ^ 

■3 .- o 

oS i 

5 S ^ 


0/ 7*"" 

* '^~-. 

■T O 


The Near and Middle Easf 


Like north Africa this is a predominantly arid 
region, althougli it does not contain quite so much 
sterile desert. This trend toward a drier climate 
is quite i-ecent, marked changes having occurred 
within liistoric times. Overgrazing, deforesta- 
tion, and other forms of human misuse have 
contributed to the trend. The snake fauna con- 
tains species in common with northern Africa, 
Europe, and central Asia; toward the east there 
is infiltration of species characteristic of tropical 

In the Middle East also, the vipers cause most 
of the snakebites. Cobras and otiier elapids 
occur, but are rare or restricted in range, and in- 
flict few bites. Several species of sea snakes are 
encountered in the Persian Gulf. 


ELAPIDAE: Genus Naja Laurenti, 1768. 

Six species are recognized ; all are African excei)t the 
Asiatic cobra. Xajd iiajti. and ran^e tliroiisiliont the Afri- 
can continent except for the drifting sand areas of the 
Sahara region. They are snakes of moderate (4 feet) 
to large (8 feet) size, with large fangs and toxic 
venom. The N. nigricollis species "spits" its venom 
at the eyes of an aggressor ; it is found in the southern 
part of the region of north Africa. The Egyptian cobra 
{Xuja liajc) and the western snlispecies of the Asiatic 
cobra (Naja naja oxiana) arc found in the Near and 
Middle East region (.see p. 80 and p. 124). 

Dcfliiitiou: Head rather broad, flattened, only slightly 
distinct from neck ; snout rounded, a distinct canthus. 
Bod.v moderately slender, slightly depressed, tapered ; 
neck capable of expansion into hood ; tail of moderate 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown; frontal 
short; rostral rounded. Laterally, nasal in contact with 
the one or two preoculars. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 17-25 oblique rows 
at midbody, u.sually more on the neck, fewer posteriorly. 
Ventrals 159-232 ; anal plate entire ; subcaudals 42-88, 
mostly paired. 

Maxillary teeth ; Two rather large tubular fangs 
with external grooves followed, after an interspace, by 
0-3 small teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Walferinnesia Lataste, 1887. 
Desert black snake. 

A single species. W. aegyptia, is known from the desert 
regions of Egypt to Iran. It is relatively large, 3 to 4 
feet, and is probably a dangerous species (see p, 81 and 
fig. .jO). 

Definition: Head relatively broad, flattened, distinct 
from neck ; snout broad, a distinct canthus. Body cylin- 
drical and tapered, moderately slender ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; rostral 
broad. Laterally, nasal in contact with single elongate 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth at midbody, feebly 
keeled posteriorly, in 23 rows at midbody, more (27) 
anteriorly. Ventrals 189-197 ; anal plate divided ; sub- 
caudals 4.")— tS. first 2-8 single, remainder paired. 

Maxillary teeth; Two large tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal grooves followed, after an interspace, by 0-2 small 


Map 8. — Section 7, Near and Middle East. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Afractaspis Smith, 1849. 
Mole vipers. 

Sixteen species are currently recognized. All are 
African except for A. engaddensis Haas (which ranges 
from Egypt to Israel) and A. microlcpidota (which 
is found in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula 
as well as through much of north and central Africa). 
All are small snakes, less than 3 feet in length. How- 
ever, they have large fangs (which look enormous in the 


Po/sonous Snokos of the World 


1. A. Crown of lii'iul willi 7 or '.) hir;,'!' shields (see 

li^'. (i) 2 

1>. ( 'rowM of lii'iid witli siniill scales (see fig. 96), or 

Willi ('> or l\'\v(-i' sliii'Ids 7 

2. A. Loit'iil pit presi'iit Agkistrodon 

H. I^oreal pit iil)si'nt 3 

.">. A. All subcaudiils single; eye very small Atractaajm 

H. Al least some of the subcaudals paired; eye large 

to very small 4 

4. A. Lort'al present NP* 

B. Loreal absent 5 

5. A. Body scales smooth anteriorly, keeled posteriorly; 

anal ])late dixidcd; some sulicaudais single Wa/ffr/nnt's/a 

B. \\'iilinui 1 he above comliinai ion of characters 6 

G. A. Hood present in life; botlj- scales smooth; anal 

plate single Naja 

B. No hood; body scales smooth or keeled; anal plate 

divided or single NP 

7. A. Ventrals extend full width of belly 8 

B. Ventrals do not extend full widtli of belly XP 

8. A. Subcaudals single Echii 

B. Subcaudals paired 9 

9. A. Horn-like process covered with small scales above 

eye Pseudocerastes 

B. Horn-like process absent or composed of a single 

scale or spine 10 

10. A. Ventrals with lateral ridge or keel 11 

B. Ventrals without lateral ridge or keel 12 

11. A. Horn-like spine often pi-esent above eye; rostral 

not flanked by enlarged scales Cerastes 

B. No horn-like projection above eye; rostral flanked 

by enlarged scales Eristicophvi 

12. A. Nostril directed upward; 27 or more scale rows 

around midbody Bitis 

B. Nostril directed laterally; fewer than 27 scale rows 

around midbody Vipera 

• NP = Nonpoisonous 


The Near and Middle Easi 

small mouth) and are capable of inflicting serious bites 
on those who attempt to pick them up or who step on 
them with bare feet. 

Definition: Head short and conical, not distinct from 
neck, no canthus : snout bmad, flattened, often pointed. 
Body cylindrical, slender in small individuals, stout in 
larger ones ; tail short, ending in a distinct .spine. 

Eyes very small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual !) crown scales, rostral en- 
larged, extending between internasals to some degree, 
often pointed ; frontal large and broad, supraoculars 
small. Laterally, nasal in contact with single preocular 
(no loreal), usually one postocular. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth without apical pits, in 
19-37 nonoblique rows at midbody. Vcntrals 17K-370: 
anal |)late entire or divided (the only viperid snakes 
with divided anal plates) ; subcaudals single or i)aired, 

Middle East Mole Vipers, Afracfaspis. 

Idrtitificatiiin: This group of very distinctive snakes 
has two rei)re.sentatives in the region, the Arabian mole 
viper (.4. >iiicntlri>i'I(ita aiidfrnoiii) and oasis mi)le viper 
(-■1. cii(/a(Iilciixin). They are very similar in appearance. 
Smooth scales, small head not distinct from the neck, 
and the typical !) crown shields distinguish them 
from other vipers of the region. Large ventrals ex- 
tending the width of the belly distinguish them from 
the burrowing blind snakes and .><and boas. The pointed 
snout, tiny eyes (diameter less than lialf tlie distance 
from eye t<i lip), unpaired subcaudals, and overall black- 
ish color distinguish them from the small <'olubrids of 
the Middle East. The elongated tubidar venom glands 
extend through the anterior tiftli of the body. 

The Arabian mole viper has 23 or 25 scale rows at 
midbody. 210-2.")4 ventrals, and 31 or fewer subcaudals. 
The oasis mole viper has 27 to 29 .scale rows at mid- 
body. 2()4-282 ventrals, and 3G to 39 siibcaudals. 

The average length of both species is IS to 25 inches. 

Dintrihiition: The Arabian mole viper occurs in the 
southwestern part of the Arabian I'eninsula. The oasis 
mole viper is found in Israel. Sinai and northeastern 

Ifrmarks: These are nocturnal burrowing snakes 
found mainly in oases and in cultivated areas rather 
than in desert. Authorities who know these snakes in 
life agree on one point — it is impossible to hold a mole 
viper safely except with forceps or tongs. The small 
head, very flexible neck, long fangs and extraordinary 
ability to use one fang at a time with the jaws almost 
closed, make them very hazardous to handle. Several 
of the bites reported have been inflicted on zoologists or 
others collecting snakes. Most bites have been more un- 
c'omfortable than alarming, but there have been enough 
fatalities recorded to confirm the dangerous nature of 
these snakes. Local pain and swelling are seen regu- 
larly with mole viper bites. Severe cases show fever, 
vomiting, and blood in the urine. There is no antivenin. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Bifis Gray, 1842. 
African vipers. 

Ten species are found in tropical and southern Africa. 
They include the largest of the true vipers (Viperidae) 
as well as some small and moderately sized ones ; all of 
the members of this genus are dangerous, some of them 
extremely so. The i>uff adder, R. arictiinii. is the only 
member of this group that enters the region (see p. 101). 

Definition: Head broad and very distinct from nar- 
row neck : snout short, a distinct canthus. Body some- 
what depressed, moderately to extremely stout ; tail 

Eyes .small ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : Xo enlarged plates on crown, covered 
with small scales. Some species have enlarged and 
erect scales on snout or above eye. Laterally, rostral 
.separated from nasal by (in /{. irorthinijtoni) to 6 (in 
some B. nnsicornis) rows of small scales, eye separated 
from supralabials by 2-5 rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled with apical pits, in 21- 
46 nonoblique or slightly oblique rows at midbody. fewer 
anteriorly and iKisteriorly. Ventrals rounded or with 
faint lateral keels, 112-l."i3: subcaudals paired. laterally 
keeled in some species, 10-37. 

Figure 74. — Desert Horned Viper, Cerastes cerastes. A 
vicious but not especially dangerous snake. Photo by 
Standard Oil Company. 


Poijonoos Snolies of the World 

VIPERIDAE: Genuj Corosfes Laurenti, 1768. 

lllXIU'll vi|HTS. 

Two s|«Tii'S lire ir<ii(;iii/.f(l ; Imlli iiri- rcsl riili'd tn llic 
il(-«Tt rcyli'iis ipf iiiirthfni Afrlni iinil wcslcrii Asia. 
NfltlitT Is II larKc sp«'<li',s ; the bite Is piiliifiil liiil iisiinlly 
not serious, Hotli spciifs an- fouiul in I Ills rc^'ion (see 
p. H2). 

DvflnitUin: Ili-ail hmad. tliUtciit'd, very disliiict from 
ni'ck ; snout very sliort and broad, cantbus indistltict. 
llody depressed, taper('<l, moderately sleiuler to stout; 
tail short. 

F'yes small to moderate in size; pupils vertically el- 

Head scales: Head covered with small irreRular, 
tuberciilarly-keeled scales; a larKe erect, ribbed born- 
like scale often present above the eye; no otber enlarged 
scales on crown. Laterally, nasal separated from rostral 
by 1-3 rows of small scales; eye separated from supra- 
labials by 3-5 rows of small scales. 

Body scales: Dorsals with apical pits, lar^e and 
heavily keeled on back, smaller laterally, oblique, with 
serrated keels, in 23-3."> rows at midbndy. Veiitrals with 
lateral keel, 102-16") ; subcaudals keeled [posteriorly, all 
paired. 18^2. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus frijficophis Alcock and Finn, 1897. 
Asian sand \ipiT. 

.\ sliidle species, /■.', iiuiitiKtlmnii .Mcoik and Finn, Is 
known from the desert areas of soutlieaslern Iran, Af- 
Hhanlslaii, and West Pakistan. It is u rather small 

FiGUKE ITt. — Asiati Sand Viper, Eristicophis nianma^ 
lionii. A little-known desert viper inhabiting sand 
dunes. Photo by New York Zoological Society. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Echls Merrem, 1820. 
Saw-scaled vipers. 

Two species are recognized. One (E. coloratus) is re- 
.stricted to eastern Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and Is- 
rael. The other {E. carinatus) ranges from Ceylon and 
southern India across western Asia and north Africa 
southward into tropical Africa. Although neither 
attains a length of 3 feet, they possess a highly toxic 
venimi and are responsible for many deaths. When dis- 
turbed they charcteristically inflate the body and pro- 
duce a hissing sound by rubbing the saw-edged lateral 
scales against one another. This same pattern of be- 
havior Is shown by the nonpoisonous egg-eating snakes 
niiKUpcItis (see p. 83 and fig. .52). 

Definition: Head broad, very distinct from narrow 
neck ; canthus indistinct. Body cylindrical, moderately 
slender ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : A narrow supraocular sometimes pres- 
ent ; otherwise crown covered with small scales, which 
may be smooth or keeled. Rostral and nasals distinct. 
Laterally eye separated from labials by 1— t rows of 
small scales ; nasal in contact with rostral or separated 
from it by a row of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, lateral 
scales smaller, with serrate keels, in 27-37 oblique rows 
at midbody. Ventrals rounded, 132-205 ; subcaudals 
single, 21-52. 

snake, less than 3 feet in length. However, fatal cases 
attributed to this species (Shaw, 1925) and a recent 
serious bite indicate that it is a dangerous snake with 
venom similar to that of Echis. 

Definition: Head broad and flattened, very distinct 
from neck ; snout broad and short, canthus not distinct. 
Body slightly depressed, moderately to markedly stout ; 
tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pui»ils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : Crown covered by small scales ; rostral 
broad, bordered dorsally and laterally by greatly en- 
larged nasorostral scales. Laterally, eye separated from 
labials by 3-4 rows of small scales ; nasal separated from 
rostral by nasorostral scale. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled, short, in 23-26 vertical 
rows at midbody. Ventrals with lateral keels, 140-148 ; 
subcaudals paired, without keels, 29-36. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Pseudocerasfes Boulenger, 1896. 
False honied viper. 

A single species is recognized (see Remarks). It 
ranges from Sinai and the Arabian Peninsula eastward 
to West Pakistan. It attains a length of 3 feet and is 
considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head broad, very distinct from neck; 
snout short and broadly rounded ; nostrils dorsolateral, 
valves present. 

Eyes small to moderate; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : Crown covered with small imbricate 
scales ; an erect hornlike projection covered with imbri- 


The Near and Middle Easf 

cate scales above eye. Laterally, nasals separated from 
rostral by small scales ; eye separated from labials by 
3-4 rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals weakly to moderately keeled, 
in 21-25 nonoblique rows at niidliody. Ventrals 134- 
158 ; subcaudals paired, 35-48. 

Remarks: Four species were listed in tbis genus 
by Klemmer (1963: 377). However, Anderson (1963: 
472) reported that P. latirostris Guibe, 1957, was a mis- 
identified si>ecimen of Eristicliophis macmahonii Alcock 
and Finn, 1897. Marx and Rabb (1965: 167-175) corro- 
borated tbis allocation. They also referred P. bicornis 
Wall, 1913, to tbe synonymy of P. persicus (Dumeril, Bi- 
broii, and Dumeril), 19.54, and accorded /'. ficldii 
Schmidt, 1930, snbspecific status. Tbe remaining spe- 
cies. P. jxrxiciix. was allocated to the genus Vipcra. 

Persian Horned Viper, Pseudocerastes persictuH 
( I)iiiiieril, liil)i'on, and Dtimeril). 
Idrnti/iralion: Differs from the African burned desert 


VIPERIDAE: Genus Vipera Laurenti, 1768. 
True adders. 

Eleven species are recognized. This is an especially 
variable group, with .some members that are small and 
relatively innocuous (e.g.. V. bcnis) and others that 
are extremely dangerous (1". Icbrtina, V. riisKctii). 
They are found from northern Eurasia throughout that 
continent and into north Africa. One species ranges 
into tbe East Indies (T. russelii). and two are found in 
east Africa (.see Remarks under V. superciliaris) . The 
long-nosed sand viper. V. ammndt/tcs, and the European 
viper. T'. bents, enter tbis region from the north and 
west (see p. 74 and p. 75). 

Definition: Head broad, distinct from narrow neck; 
canthus distinct. Body cylindrical, varying from moder- 
ately slender to stout ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size to small : pupils vertically el- 

Head scales: Variable: one species (F. ursinii) has 
all 9 crown scutes, most .species have at least the supra- 
oc\ilars, but even these are ab.sent in one (F. lebctina) : 
bead otherwise covered with small s<'ales. Laterally, 
nasal in contact with rostral or separated by a single 
enlarged scale (the nasorostral) , eye separated from 
sui)ralabials by 1—4 rows of small scales. 

Body .scales : Dorsals keeled, w-ith apical pits, in 19- 
31 nonoblique rows at midbody. Ventrals rounded. 120- 
180; subcaudals paired, 20-04. 

Levantine Viper, Vipera lebetina (Linnaeus). 

IdcnlificaiiiDi: Head triangular, rather long, distinct 
from neck ; body stout ; tail tapers abruptly behind vent. 
Crown with small keeled scales; nostril lateral; supra- 


FiouKK 70. — Persian Horned \'iper, Pseudiiceraslcs persi- 
cus. I'boto by Hymen Marx. 

viper in absence of keels on tbe ventrals and in tbe 
nature of tbe horn which is composed of .several small 
scales in tbis species and a single spinelike scale in the 
African species. From other vipers within its range, 
it differs in tbe presence of tbe supraocular horns and 
dorsolateral position of the nostril. 

Color pale gray or bluish gray to khaki with darker 
blotches or crossbands ; dark band on side of head ; belly 

Average adult length 22 to 28 inches; maximum about 
35 inches. 

I)islrihiiti<iii: From the Sinai reninsula eastward 
througli Baluchistan. Found in sandy and rocky coun- 
try to elevations of about 6.000 feet ; frequents burrows 
and crevices among rocks. 

Remarks: Almost exclusively nocturnal. Hisses 
loudly when disturbed but is not particularly vicious. 
Venom of the subspecies. P.p. fleldii is highly toxic but 
produces little local tissue damage. It should be con- 
sidered a dangeroiis snake. Antivenin is produced by 
the State Razi Institute, Tehran, Iran. 

Figure 77. — Levantine Viper, ]'ipcra lebetina. Photo by 
New York Zoological Society. 


Poisonoui Snalos of llw WaiUi 

(iriiliir iluiili'il lulu .'i >iiiiill nhlrlils; iiMiiiilly .'( nciiI<> mwH 
l>i'(\vi'<>ii cyr mill ii|i|iiT liililiils; iliir.Miil liiiily ni'mIi'S koi'li-il, 
III ^S^ li> L'7 rows III iiililliiiily : viMilriils iii>l krrli'il ; siili- 
riillilals illvlili-il, 

Uorsiil I'olnr liKlit m'liy, kliiikl, or ImfT uiili niiiniti' 
(liirkcr iiiiiirlalliiii kIvIhk ii Ki'iK-nilly iliisly iipiii'iiiaiKi' ; 
sitU's of siiiiill, ri'claiiKiiliir brown, riMlilish or uray 
lilotilifs ; l>i-lly liiitT varialily rtouili'd wllli tjray ; tall 
pinkish hrowii. A n-ilillsli lirown pinisc witlioiit lilotrlics 
Is swn ill parts of tlic raiinc: In oilu-r areas the snakes 
may ''»• almost iinifornily dusty Kmy '"■ khaki. 

AveraKi' U'liSth SO to l") inches; niaxiiiiiiiii a lit lie over 
."> feet. 

nixlribiition: Cyprus and llu' Cyelades Islands 
through the ('aiicasns and Middle Kast to Kasluiiir, 
Iiihaliits barren rocky areas usually at altitudes of 
.•{.tHMl to 7.(Xm feet but at lower altitudes toward the 
nortliern and western part of tlie raiifjo. 

Hvmarku: Very slow to move; seeming almost obli- 
vious to stiniiili when encountered by day. (Many of its 
local names mean "deaf one" or "blind one.") More 
active and alert at nijiht but may strike (|iiickly and 
savajiely at any time; occasionally climbs into bushes. 

The Levantine viper is important as a cause of snake- 
bite in the Middle East. The quantity and toxicity of 
the venom are about the same as for Russell's viper. 
Antivenins against V. Ichcthia venom are produced by 
the State Razi Institute. Teliran, Iran, and Tashkent In- 
stitute. Moscow. 

V. h'hctina. like the majority of vipers found in the 
Middle East, lays eggs. 

Near East Viper, Vipera xanthina (Gray). 

Idciitiftriilioii: Head large, a little shorter than in 
the Levantine viper ; body build similar ; supraocular 
not divided, narrow, turned up into a hornlike process 
in the subspecies rudiUi ; usually 1 or 2 scale rows be- 

FiGUBE 78. — Palestine Viper, Vipera xanthina palaesti- 
nae. This subspecie? of the Near East viiier is a 
leading cause of .snakebite in its range. Photo by 
Erich Sochurek. 

tweeii eye and upper labials; dorsal .scales usuiilly In 
i:.'<. less often In !.'.'> rows at iiiidbody. 

(iroiind color sandy yellow, golden brown, gray or rcil- 
dish brown with series of oval or round spots with 
lighter ceiilcrs and pale edges; these are oflcn fused 
into a zigzag band. Top of head with conspicuous V- 
shaped dark mark or pair of elongate dark spots; promi- 
nent dark slripe lii'liind eye; hcliy yellowish willi lila<-k 
or gray moll ling. 

Average lenglli 2H to .•{H Inches; maximum about 4 feet. 

Dintribiitidu: The Caucasus Mountains and north- 
western Iran, western Turkey and south to Israel and 
.lordan. Occurs along stream valleys and in other 
places where there are vegetation and moisture; absent 
from true desert: often iilenliful in cultivated regions. 

It'ciiiarhx: A nocturnal snake that not infreciuently 
may be found near Ininian habitation. It is alert and 
strikes quickly when disturbed. The subspecies palaes- 
tinae is the leading cause of snakebite accidents in 
Israel and adjoining territory. 

Much research has been done on the venom of the 
Palestine vijier (V'.x. palacnliii(u) . The lethal dose for 
man is estimated at 7.") mg. — well within the capacity of 
an adult snake. The case fatality rate is about 5 per- 
cent. Antivenin is produced by the Institut Pasteur, 
Paris. An Israeli antivenin is reported to be ready for 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Agk/sfrodon Beauvois, 1799. 
Moccasins and Asian pit. vipers. 

Twelve species are recognized. Three of these are in 
North and Central America ; the others are in Asia, 
with one species, A. halys (Pallas) ranging westward to 
southeastern Europe. The American copperhead (A. 
cnntortrix) and the Eurasian mamushi and its relatives 
(A. halys) seldom inflict a serious bite but A. acutus 
and .4. rhoilo.stoma of southeastern Asia, as well as the 
cottonmouth (A. piscivorus) of the southeastern United 
States, are dangerous .species. Pallas's viper, A. halyn is 
the only one that enters this region (see p. 75). 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck ; a sharply-distinguished canthus. Body 
cylindrical or depressed, tapered, moderately stout to 
stout ; tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head .scales : The usual '.) on the crown in most 
species ; interna.sals and prefrontals broken up into small 
scales in some Asian forms ; a pointed nasal appendage 
in some. Laterall.y, loreal pit separated from labials or 
its anterior border formed by .second supralabial. 
Loreal scale present or absent. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth (in A. rhndostoma 
only) or keeled, with apical pits, in 17-27 nonoblique 
rows. Veutrals 12.^5-174 ; subcaudals single anteriorly or 
paired throughout, 21-68. 


The Near and Middle East 


ANDERSON, Steven C. 1963. Amphibians and 
Reptiles from Iran. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., 
vol. 31, pp. 417-^98, figs. 1-15. 

KHALAF, Kamal T. 1959. Reptiles of Iraq 
with Some Notes on the Amphibians. Min- 
istry of Education : Baghdad, 96 pp., 40 figs. 

MENDELSSOHN, H. 1963. On the Biology of 
the Venomous Snakes of Israel. Part I. 
Israel Jour. Zool., vol. 12, i)p. 143-170, figs. 
1-9. 1965. Part II, ibid, vol. 14, pp. 185- 

MERTENS, Robert. 1952. Amphibien und Rep- 

tilien aus der Tuerkei. Rev. Fac. Sci. Univ. 

Istanbul, ser. B, no. 1, pp. 41-75. 
MERTENS. Robert. 1965. Wenig bekannte "Sei- 

tenwinder" unter den Wiistenottern Asiens. 

Nat. u. Mus. vol. 95, pp. 346-352, figs. 1-5. 
NIKOLSKY, A. M. 1916. Faune de la Russie. 

Reptiles. Petrograd. vol. 2, 349 pp., 8 pis. 
SHAW, C. J. 1925. Notes on the Elfect of the 

Bite of Me ^ruhon's Viper (E. macmahonli) . 

J. Bombay Nut. Hist. Soc, vol. 30: 485-486. 




Section 8 

Definition of the Region: 
Includes the Indian Subcontinent ; Tibet and other Hivialayan States; the 
Chinese provinces of Si^xkiang. Tsinghai. Szechican. Yunnan. Kiceichoic. 
Kwangsi. Kwangtung. Ilvnan. Kiangsi. Fiikien, Chekiang. and Hainan Is- 
hwd ; liNrina ; Thaihiiid: the Miihiy /'eninsii/ii ; Laos; Cambodiu; Viet .Xam; 
Ceylon; Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Sumatra, Java and the Lesser Sunda 
Islands; Borneo and Celebes. 



Map of the region 117 

Introduction 11 ( 

Distribution Chart 116, 118 

Key to Genera 119 


The Kraits 117 

Bunganis 120 

Coral Snakes: 

Calliophis 121 

Maticora 122 

Cobras 123 

Naja 124 

Ophiophagus 125 


Azcmiops 126 

EchiJi - 126 

Eristicophis 126 

Pseud ocerastes 127 

Yipera 127 


Agkistrodon 128 

Trimeresiirus 129 

References 130 


Poisonous Snokej of fh» World 

■(| ndu»|a 

1 1 ; 1 1 1 1 j 1 1 1 j 1 j 1 { 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 
1 t 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 • I i 1 1 1 ! 1 ! ! ! ! ' 1 1 1 ! ' I I • 1 ' 1 

' ' ! ' ! ' 1 ! ! ! 1 1 ■ ! ! ! ! ! t ! 1 ' 


' ' ! i • ' 1 i i ! ! 1 1 ! i ! ! I ' ' I 

1 i« ! i i i i 1 i 1 1 i ! i ! i 1 1 1 i^«^^ i i i i i i 1 i i 

! ! ' 1 ' 1 1 ' 1 1 1 ' 1 ' ' i 1 i ! 1 ' 1 1 


; 1 1 ; i i 1 > ! ' i 1 ' : 1 ' 1 1 ' > ' 

1 1 1 1 « « 1 1 1 ! 1 1 1 1 ! 1 H « klt^ 1 '' 1 ! ! i 1 
1 I 1 1 I j 1 I 1 j 1 j 1 1 ( 1 1 j 1 1 1 1 I j 111 

If uBtuepuv 

! M ■ M M i M M M M 1 ! M^« i i i i Ml 

f] spuns jstui 

i ! i ! ! : i i i i i i in i i i i i i^ i i 


III ' 1 ' 1 ' 1 ' ' 1 1 i 1 ' 1 1 1 1 ' 

\\^\x)^^\\\\\\\\l\\\\i^\^><y ilillM ill 

(I I t ' ' ' ' 1 ' 1 ' 1 ' 

1 . 1 ' ' ! I : 1 1 1 . 1 1 t , 1 1 1 " 1 1 I 



' ' 1 i ' 1 1 1 ' 1 1 ! 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 
|i«i><Xl|lllll|X|ill|H>^XM jlllll ill 

' ' ' ''"'III' 1 ' ' ! 1 1 1 I 1 I 1 ' ! 1 






, ' . 1 ' ' ] t . 1 1 . 1 1 . 1 1 1 ' 1 ' 1 ' 

uiBM j.iiA 

■ 1 ' i ' 1 1 i ' • ' 1 ' ' 1 1 I'll ' 1 

1 1 M i kj w I i 1 1 1 i i i I ^. X :c 1 i I 1 1^ X ^ i | i i =*• ^ \ \ 

1 1 1 1 ' ! ! ' ' 1 ' I 1 1 ! 1 1 1 1 1 1 ! 


i 1 f i I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' I 1 ' 1 ! ' I 1 ' ' 1 

\ \^- \y^ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \x \ \x \xy^ 1 1 i 1 ! '^^ 1 i 1 

1 1 ' 1 1 1 j ! 1 1 1 1 ' 1 ' 1 ' ' 1 1 1 1 1 ' ' 1 




i i - i >< i i i i i i i M i X >< t^ i i i j i =■• i i 

1 ' 1 1 ' 1 ' ' 1 ' 1 ' ' 1 ' 1 ' ' I 1 ' ' ' 1 ' 


1 1 02 ; M 02 1 • 1 1 1 1 1 W ^ >< 1 i 5C W X X 1 1 1 1 1 ^ 111 








III' 1 1 ' i 1 i i 1 i ill! i 1 1 ' 1 1 ' 

1 1 1 1 1^ 1 1 1 X X 1 1 1 1 1 1 :5 X 1 1 1 1 H t^ z \ \ \ \i< III 

,1,1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 > 1 1 111! 1 1 ' 

* Euiqa H 'S 

iiiiM||i|t^|i|iit^Mi|iii^^M |]iii^ ^"'i 



1 1 1 1 1 i 1 i 02 1 1 1 1 1 t^ 1 1 1 1 1 w i (^ 1 i i M ;z; 1 
1 ! 1 ' ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I'll ! 1 1 1 ! ' 









•laqiX •JluiqSE^ 

1 M M 1 M M M M M i M h i ^ 1 M-- h^ 


>< i i i i 1 i i i i i i i ^ i 1 1 i "■ i i i M ^ \ \^ 

' , I ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 j 1 1 1 ' I'll' ' ' 1 

UBltl^fEJ -J 

|t^ix|i!|><'» '^ !! 



\i< \x \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \^ \ \ \>^ \ ii^ii^ i 

1 I ' 1 ' 1 ' ' 1 1 I 1 ! 1 ' I III ! 1 1 ' 1 1 1 ' 



y^y^] \y, \ [fn \ l^fiwx \ \^ \y.y, \ \y^y, '-■y \ \ \y i | 


iwiljiiiiiiiliiiiiiiilt^i i(^|t^^H ii^ 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 !! 1 1 1 1 1 1 ! 1 .' 1 1 ! ! ^ 11 


Bungarus bungaroides 

B. caeruleus 

B. candidus 

B. ceylonicus 

B. fasciatus- 

B. flaviceps 

B. javanicus 

B. lividus 

B. magnimaculatus 

B. multicinctus 

B. niger 

B. walli 

CalUophis beddomei 

C. bibroni 

C. gracilis 

C. kelloggii 

C. macclellandii — 

C. maculiceps 

C. melanurus 

C. nigrescens 

Matieora bivirgata 

M. iutestiualis 

Naja naja 

Ophiophagus hannah 


Azemiops feae 

Echis carinatus 

Eristicophis macmahonil — 

Pseudocerastes persicus 

Vipera lebetina 


Agkistrodon acutus 

A. halys 

A. himalayanus 


Soutbeasf Asia 


In number and variety of species the snake 
fainia of soutlieast Asia is undoul)tedly the rich- 
est in tlie world. It is the only region where 
vii'tually all major groups of snakes are repre- 
sented. The richness of the fauna reflects parth* 
the great variety of serpent habitats which range 
from semiarid slopes to fresh and salt water 
mar.shes, from alpine meadows to tropical rain 
forest. The region lias l)een a major center of 
serpent evolution as well as one wliere some prim- 
itive types have survived. 

Southeast Asia lias also maintained for cen- 
turies a dense human population organized into a 

Map 9.— Section S. Southeast Asia 

succession of complex cultures and subcultures. 
Over this time span many kinds of snakes, in- 
cluding several venomous species, have developed 
a pattern of coexistence with man. Xowhere else 
do dangerous snakes and humans live in closer 
proximity in such numbers. This is the chief 
reason why southeast Asia has the world's higliest 

incidence of snakebites and snakebite deaths. 
This does not mean that snakes are everywhere 
apparent. Americans and Europeans visiting 
tropical Asia or living in its cities may never see 
a snake other than those exhibited by snake 
charmers. Extreme secret iveness is part of the 
snake's scheme for survival. But sometimes man 
and poisonous snake confront each other suddenly 
and unexpectedly to the everlasting disadvantage 
of one or both parties. 

Vipers, cobras and their elajiid allies, and sea 
snakes are all well represented in southeast Asia 
and all conti'ibute to the snakebite problem. 
While few cai-eful studies have l^een made, there 
is evidence that vipers, including pit vipers, are 
responsible for the greater number of snakebite 
cases while elapids are credited with fewer bites 
but a higher percentage of deaths. Sea snake 
bites are not uncommon in coastal villages. 


( liungtirufi) 

The name krait (of ITindhi origin) has been 
associated by English speaking peoples with a 
small venomous Indian snake. Actually there 
ai-e several species of kraits and none of them are 
small; in fact, two reach lengths of about 7 feet. 
Kraits resemble many nonpoisonous snakes in 
general appearance. They have short rather flat 
heads only slightly wider than the neck. The 
eyes are small and dark, the pupils almost in- 
visible in life. They are smooth scaled and 
glossy; most have a vivid pattern of crossbands. 
Three features of scutellation help distinguish 
kraits from other Asian snakes — a combination 
of all is diagnostic: 

1. The vertebral row of scales is strongly en- 
larged, except in one rare species. 

2. At least some of the subcaudals are undi- 
vided; in most species all are undivided. 

?>. The loreal shield is absent. 

Kraits are strongly nocturnal, and their alert 
disix)sition by night difl'ers from their quiet, al- 
most stupid behavior by day. They cause few 
snakebites but the case fatality rate is very high. 

Kraits lay eggs that are attended bv the fe- 
male. Their food consists largely of other snakes. 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 



















■«| »o«lai«|a 



ig uiuiapuv 

*lt Bpun$ J3fM^ 




<"»N "!A 





« Koiqa H 'S 





ncisiJiej 3 




T — r 








o z 
o ■- 


























0/ ,^ 

X X : 





X X X X 



X =- 

X 1 X 

X ^ X 

X X 

X 02 


H H H 

z ^ ^ 



C3 S 

1; -^ — , w 
■^ g O 5 

X f^ 

X ^ 















S tfH bo ^ 

0; ^ ^ 


a a 

I 2 a 

H h H 

0) 3 3 

a tx) 5 



h 3 

O u 

a 01 

Ph a ^ X W 7i 4- -*-J f' 

H H ei H h H H H H 

^ o 




Souiheasf Asia 


1. A. Loreal pit present 2 

B. Loreal pit absent 3 

2. A. No enlarged crown shields Trimeresurus 

B. Five to nine enlarged crown shields Agkistrodon 

3. A. Crown of head with large shields 4 

B. Crown of head with small scales 12 

4. A. Tail paddle-shaped Sea snake 

(See Chapter VIII) 
B. Tail not paddle-shaped 5 

5. A. Loreal scale present 6 

B. Loreal scale absent 7 

6. A. Movable fangs present Azemiops 

B. No fangs present NP* 

7. A. Vertebral scale row enlarged and at least some 

subcaudals nndrvided Bungarus 

B. Without the above combination of characters 8 

8. A. Occijiital shields present; anterior subcaudals 

undivided phiophagus 

B. Not as above 9 

9. A. Dorsal scales smooth 10 

B. Dorsal scales keeled NP 

10. A. Hood seen in life; body scales in 19 or more rows 

anteriorly Naja 

B. No hood ; slender snakes with no more than 15 

scale rows anteriorly 11 

11. A. Venom glands in normal position; anal shield 

usually divided Calliophis 

B. Elongate venom glands extending well into 

body; anal shield entire Maticora 

12. A. Ventrals extending full width of belly 13 

B. Ventrals not extending full width of belly or 

absent NP 

13. A. Subcaudals undivided Echis 

B. Subcaudals divided 14 

14. A. Hornlike process above ej-e Pseud ocerastes 

B. No hornlike process above eye 15 

15. A. Rostral flanked by enlarged scales; ventrals with 

lateral ridge Eristicophis 

B. Rostral not flanked by enlarged scales; ventrals 

without lateral ridge Vipera 

' NP = Nonpoisonous 


Poiionous Snak»i of the WorUI 

ELAPIOAE: Genus Sungarus Daudin, 1803. 

Twflvf «|i«>clt>M lire n-cuKHlvn'tl ; nil liilmliil tlic rcKl"" 
of soulliriisl Aslii, Orciisiiiiial liiiliviiliiiils of //. fiiaiiii- 
lit.i utttihi li'iiKllis of 7 fiH'l. Most spoflt'S arc of iiiod- 
iTiitf (4 to r> fiH't) length, hut uU are con side red cx- 
troiiu'ly (laiiKt'rouit. 

Oiflnitiiin: llcail sniull. Mallciicil. sli^lilly <listiiiit: 

FiGiRE 70. — Head Scales of Krait (liiinf/ariin). Note 
the small eye and the nasal in hioad contact with the 
single preocular. Redrawn from Makl, 1931. 

from neck ; no distinct canthus. Body moderately 
slender, cylindrical ; tail short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round or vertically suhelliptical. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; frontal 
broad. Laterally, nasal in broad contact with single 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, vertebral row enlarged 
and hexagonal (strongly so except in /J. livid us), in 
13-17 oblique rows at niidbody. Vei'trals 193-237 ; anal 
plate entire ; subcaudals single or paired ( all paired 
only in some .specimens of B. htingaroidcs), 23-56. 

Maxillary teeth : Two large tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal grooves followed, after an interspace, by 1-4 small, 
feebly-grooved teeth. 

Indian Krait, Bunganis caeruleus (Schneider). 

Identification: Body cylindrical with slight even 
taper ; tail with pointed tip. All subcaudals undivided. 

Jet black to dark brown with a series of narrow white 
or yellow crossbands that tend to he in pairs and often 
fade out or break up on the anterior quarter of the 
body ; upper lip white or yellow ; belly an immaculate 
white (see plate VI, fig. 5). 

Average adult length 3 to 4 feet ; maximum .slightly 
over .5 feet. 

DiMrihution: Essentially restricted to India and 
parts of West Pakistan. Found in a variety of habitats 
at low and moderate elevations preferring ratlier dry 
open country. Often found near human habitations and 

fpfqiifMlly eiilei's poorly coiislnicli'd or ilcliiiililnled 

Urmitrlm: hwllan krails usually prowl on hot humid 
nik'hls and are (iiill<' agile in llieir movements. When 
.ilMniied they coll loosely wllh the body slightly lluttcned 
and bead i-oncealed. They make jerky iiiovemenls iiikI 
may clc\;ile I lie lail. 'I'licy do nol sIriUc Iml oricii make 
a (piick snapping bile. Iiiiriiig the day they ar<' mlui'Ii 
more lethargic. 

This is the most dangerous of the krails for it has 
a venom of very high toxicity for man — tlu; lelhal dose 
is estimated at about 4 mg. Bites are rare hut I lie 
fatality rate in one series of •S.'i cases was 77 percent. 
.\ntivenin is i)roduced by the Central Research Institute, 
K.isaiili. India; and llic IlalTUini' Inslilnte. I'.oniliay. 

Ceylon Krait, //. ceyloniciis (( iiiiil Iter), 

Malayan Krait, //. canduh/s ( I/miiacus). 

DcKrription: These two krait s arc very similar to 
the Indian krait in general ai>pearance, but have fewer 
crossbands (15-2.") versus 35-55 for caeruleus). The 
bands are wide in cintdidux. narrow and often l)roken in 


Many-banded Krait, B. muUicinctus Blyth. 
Idoilifii-ulion: Very similar to the Indian krait but 
the light cro.ssbands are not in pairs and the underside 
may show dark mottling. It is a little smaller than 
(■(irnilc)(K having an average length of 35 to 45 inches 
and maximum of less than 5 feet. 

Figure 80. — Many-banded Krait, Bungarus muUicinctus. 
From a painting. (See also plate V, figure 2). 

Distribntion: Burma through southern China to Hai- 
nan and Taiwan. It frequents wooded or grassy places 
near water and may be found in villages and suburban 
areas. It is common in rice paddies. 

Remarks: Active on damp or rainy nights; inoffen- 
sive in disposition as a rule. Toxicity of the venom 
for animals is extremely high (LDj^ about 0.1 mg. per 
kilo). Bites by this krait are seen regularly in Taiwan, 
but the case fatality rates are less than half those re- 
ported for India. Antivenin is produced by the Taiwan 
Serum Vaccine Laboratory, Taipei. 


Southeast Asia 

Banded Krait, Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider). 

Identification: A marked vertebral ridge giving a 
permanently emaciated appearance, and a distinctly 
blunt tail are characteristic of this species. 

Pattern of alternating light and dark bands encircling 
the body and of almost equal width. The light bands 
are usually bright yellow, occasionally white, pale brown 
or orange; the dark bands are black. 

Average length 4 to .'> feet ; maximum al)out 7 feet. 

Distriliiitioii: Eastern India to soulliern China and 
south through much of Malaysia and Indonesia. Occurs 
in ratlier open country to elevations of about 5,000 feet, 
often found near water. 

Remarks: This is such a surprisingly quiet. Inoffen- 
sive snake that it is believed harmless over much of the 
territory where it is found. When annoyed it curls uj). 

-' ;-.^^; 

Figure 81. — Banded Krait, ISungarus fasciatus. The 
blunt tail is typical. I'hoto by New York Zoological 

hides its head beneath its coils, and makes jerky flinch- 
ing movements but does not bite except in rare instances. 
Cases of snakebite due to the banded krait are almost 
unknown. Its venom is of lower toxicity for animals 
than that of .some other kraits. Antivenin is produced 
by the Institut Pasteur. Paris: the Institut Pasteur 
Bandung, Indonesia and the Queen Saovabha Memorial 
Institute, Bangkok. 

Red-headed Krait, Ihtngarus fuviceps Reinhardt. 

htcntifivaiiini: General ai)pearance like the banded 
krait, but tail only slightly blunt ; anterior subcaudals 
entire, posterior ones divided. 

Very striking and distinctive coloring — head and tail 

bright red. body black with narrow bluish white stripe 
low on side, and sometimes a narrow orange stripe or 
row of dots down middle of back. 

Size about the same as the banded krait. 

FiGfKE 82. — Red-headed Krait, lUmgarus flaviceps. 
Both the head and the tail are bright red in this 
si>ecies. Photo by I). Dwight Davis. 

nislritiiition: Southern Burma to Viet Nam and south 
tlirougli Malaysia and larger islands of Indonesia. In- 
habits jungle mostly in hilly or mountainous country. A 
rare snake. 

Ifcwarkx: .Vp|)arently much like the banded krait 
in behavior. No study of its venom has been done nor 
are there re<'or(ls of its biting man. Antivenin is pro- 
duccil tiy IiislltuI I'asleur, Paris. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Calliopbis Gray, 1834. 

Oriental coral snakes. 

Tliirteen spe<'ies are recognized; all inhabit the region 
of southeastern .\sia. Most are snuill species l)ut a few 
exceed :i fi^-t In length. M least the larger individuals 
are ciuisidered dangerou.s. 

Definition: Head small, not distinct from body. Body 
cylindrical, slender and elongated; tail .short. 

Figure 83. — Head Scales of Oriental Coral Snake, Cal- 
Jiophis. Redrawn from Maki, 1931. 


Poisonous Snolces of iho World 

Kycs siiiull (i> imxlrriiti' In slxf ; piiiills roiiiiil. 

Ilt-ml sciilfs: The iioriiiiil 1) on tlu' itowm ; roslnil 
hroiiil iiMil rciunili'tl, »■> nuilliUM. I.iid-nilly, nasal In 
contiii'l with slncU- iircoiular or st'itaniti'tl from II by 
|irt>rrontiil ; pn niar alisi-nt In ('. hilirnni. 

Ilody si'mU-s: Dorsals snioolli, In l.'{-17 nonolilii|iii' 
rows tliroiiuhout liody. X'cnlrals I'.IO .'tLMl; anal |plalc> 
i'ntlr»> or dlvulfd ; snbcandals usumIIv paired, ociasion- 
ally shiKlt- In ''. niin-rli Ihiinlii. IL' ti. 

Maxillary Iim'IIi: 'I'wo lar>,'i> lulmlar fanes wltli cx- 
tornal eronvcs fullowcd. aflcr :iii liili'rspacc, by .'{ 
small liM'tli. 

Orientol Coral Snakes, CiiHiophl'i. 

Iiliiili/ifulinii: This fjt'nus of Koncrally small 
snakes intlndes llic siicilcs formerly in llie uenus 
lliiiiibiiiiydniK. Tliey all have a small head wliiili is 
barely or not distinct from the neck: a Ion;; liddy which 
is slim and cylindrical with Utile lapcr; i:; or l.'i scale 
rows at midhody. rarely 17: a short tail; and a smooth 
polished appearance. Like the American coral snakes. 
Iliey are diflii'nlt to distin^:uisli from some iioniioisonous 
snakes. Absen<e of the loreal shield in the coral snakes 
helps, but similar nonpoisonons snakes may lack this 
shield. Divided sulicaudals and the absence of enlarged 
vertebral scales distinguish them from krails. Cobras 
are larger and have a quite different body bnihl. 

Color and iiattern show marked individual and species 
variation. Representative i)atterns are exemplified by 
Citltiiiiihi.i hkiccIcIIiukIH wliicli is russet to pink wilh 
narrow, widely .sei)arated black crossbands and a wide 
cream hand across the base of the head, and by ('. xini- 
tiii which is brown to crimson with 3 longitudinal black 
stripes and a narrow cream headband. (See plate V, 
fig. 6; plate VI, tig. 1. 1 

Distrihiili/iic The genus occurs throughout southeast 
Asia including the I'hilippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan. 
They are snakes of forest country ranging well into the 
mountains but they avoid dry terrain. Occasionally they 
have been collected in suburban areas. 

Remarks: The Oriental coral snakes are generally 
considered rare, but this may only reflect their very 
secretive nature. They liavo been found under logs or 
ground litter and occasionally in the open at night. 

The.v are quiet rei)tiles apparently very reluctant to 
bite. Some authorities consider them essentially harm- 
less, but it may be recalled that the North American 
coral snake once had this reputation. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Moticoro Gray, 1834. 
Long-<rlandecI coial snakes. 

Two species are found in the region of .southeastern 
Asia : from Thailand and the I'hilippines to Sumatra, 
Java, Borneo, and Celebes. These snakes are relatively 
small and slender but individuals of one species ( .1/, 
hivirr/ata) occasionally approach 5 feet in length; such 
individuals are believed to be capable of inflicting a 
dangerous bite. 

Ili/liiili(i)i : lli'iiil sMinll iiiiil rioi dl^iinrl I'lnui luxly, 
(tody cyllndrlial, slender and clnn^'alci! : l:iil shorl. 

lOyes small lo niodcnili'; pupils rnunil. 

Head scales: The usnnl !) ipn the crown; no canlhus; 
I'oslral broad and rounded. I.alerall.v. nasal In broad 
contact with single pr cociilar ; c.\c in <oiilacl wilh supra- 
labial row. 

liipdv scales: Dorsals sniooih, in l.'l Monoblique rows 
Ihronghoiit bod.v. Veidrals I',I7 'J'.Ki ; anal plalc cnlire; 
sulicaudals paired, 1." .")(). 

Maxillar.v teeth: Two large tubular fangs; no other 
teeth on the bone. 

h'cmarhs: The only consistant difference between these 
snakes and those of the getnis Calliripliin is that Maticora 
has elongated venom glands that extend posteriorly for 
about one-third of the body lenglli. The heart has been 
pushed back to the middle third of the body, where it 
can be felt I in jireserved specimens) as a hard object, 
thus identifying the genus. 

Color and pattern exliiliil much variation. In general 
they .-ue dark hripwii li> IpIuc Iphok abcpve with narrow 
light stripes of vcIIppw, rcil. p;ilc IpIuc, vIppIcI, ppr white. 
The belly of the cipinnippn Ippiig-glanded snake {ilatiri>ra 
ifitixtiiKilix] is hlap-k and white; the tail red barred 
with hlap-k. In tlie rciMpcllied long-glanded snake (M. 
hiviryuttn Ihe entire head, tail and belly are bright red. 

Figure 84, — Long-glanded Snake, Maticora hirirgata. 
Photo by D. Dwight Davis 

These are secretive, inoffensive snakes. When dis- 
turbed they squirm about violently often curling and 
elevating the tail to display their bright color. The 
behavior is characteristic of some Asian and Ameri- 
can coral snakes and ma.v occasionall.y be seen in kraits. 
It is likewise demonstrated by several unrelated kinds 
(pf nonpoisppiious snakes. 

Althipugh they rarely bite, the long-glanded snakes 
must be cipnsidered ptPtentially dangerous. Serious poi- 
soning has residted from the bite of .1/. iiitcstiiialis and 
death from the bite of ^f. hh-irgata. Xo antivenins are 
pripduced against venppnis of long-glanded snakes or 
Oriental cppral snakes. 


Southeasi Asia 


The cobras are at once tlie best and most poorly 
known of Asia's poisonous snakes. Except for 
the very distinct king cobra, all central and south 
Asian po^iulations are regarded as subspecies of 
Naja naja. There are, however, some significant 
differences in fang type, pattern, color, behavior, 
and venom composition among these forms, hence 
they will be considered separately. 

The Asian cobras are at home in many types 
of terrain, only desert and dense rain forest being 
generally avoided. Flat country Mith high grass 
and scattered groves of trees is an oiitinnim habi- 
tat. Rice fields and other sorts of acricultui-al 

Figure 85. — Indian Cdtua. Xaja naja nujii. The hood 
pattern of two spots Is distinctive. Photo by Eritli 

land may support many cobras, and they ai'e 
often common around villages and cities. Here 
they may be found in crumbling walls, old build- 
ings, and gardens. 

In western India and Pakistan cobras are more 
active by day — usually in the evening and early 
morning — while in the coiuitries to the east they 
show a greater tendency to be nocturnal. They 
are timid when encountered in the open and seek 
to escape. When cornered the}- i"ear up and 
spread their hoods, but biting seems to be almost 
a last resort. The snakes frequently strike with 
the mouth closed. They are most dangerous when 
surprised at close quartei-s. In biting, they tend 
to hold on, chewing sa\agely. Althougli the 
fangs of Malayan, Indonesian, and Philippine 
cobras are modified for spraying venom at the 
eyes, this behavior seems to be uncommon, at least 
when the sinike is confronted by a liuman foe. 

The hood identifies a living cobra. Although 
some nonpoisonous Asian snakes flatten the neck 
slightly when alarmed, none do so to such a 
marked degree as do the Asian Najn. The hood 
of the king cobra is much narrower. Identifica- 
tion of dead cobras is more difficult. Among the 
more useful .scale characteristics are absence of 
the loreal shield and the presence of a large third 
supralabial which touches both the eye and the 
nasal shield. This combination is seen elsewhere 
only in some of the Oriental coral .snakes. Color 
and pattern are extremely variable and will be 
discussed in the following paragraphs; however, 
most Asian Xapt have conspicious dark bars or 
spots on the underside of the neck at about the 
level of the hood. Tliis is not seen in many non- 
poisonous snakes th;it might l)e confused with 

Large cobras niaj" have a great quantity of 
venom — sometimes 500 to 600 mg. — and the lethal 
dose for man is estimated at not more than 20 mg. 
In spite of this, many persons recover from bites 
without effective treatment. Evidently the snakes 
may inject little venom when biting defensively. 
Some cobra bites are accompanied by extensive 
necrosis wiiji little systemic effect. Such bites 
have been reported in ]\Ialaya and elsewhere in 
.southeast Asia and also in west Africa. The 
strongly letlial component of cobra venom can be 
.separated from that component producing local 
necrosis, and it appears that venom of some pop- 


Poisonous Snak«s of ihe World 

iilntioiis or iiulividuiil siiiiktvs is hi^li in iuh -mti/.- 
inj; fiictor Imt low in luMiroloxin. 

Asian fohras fi'i>il njion iilniosi any kinil ol 
vi>rti'l)raU< small t'lion;:!! it> l>o swallowi'tl. 'I'licii' 
foiHlncss fcir rals hflps explain llii'ii' aiiuiulancc 
ni'ar Imniaii liaMtal ions. Cohras lay ^'tifX^i 1" •" 
20 In'injj an avi'iaj;i> chilcli. Tlu' rcnialc and oc- 
t-asionally llit> main icmain with llio eggs and 
may defenil them. 

A nfii'enhi sources: .Viilivenin aj^ainst venom of 
Asian (•ol)i-as is ])rodueed by tlie I5('lii-iii<j;\v('rl<c, 
Marl)iir<;-Lalin, (ieiinany; (\'ntial Ke.searcli Tn- 
slitnte, Kasauli, India; llatl'kinc Instit\i(e, I'xnu 
l)ay, India; Tashkent Institute, Moscow (\<ij(i ti. 
Ill-ill iiii) ; (^iieen Saovaliha Memorial Institute, 
jianjikok, Thailand; Connnonwealtli Serum Lab- 
oratories, Vietoria, Australia (Malay Naja) ; Tai- 
wan Serum Vaccine Laboratory, Tai[K^i {Naja n. 
afra); State Kazi Institute, Tehran, Iran (Naja 
n. oxiana) ; Department of Health, Manila, Phil- 
i|>pines (Naja 7i. p/u7i/>/>//i-('iixis) ; Institut Pas- 
teur, Handung, Indonesia (Nnja n. xputatrix). 

ELAPIDAE: Genus No;o Laurenti, 1768. 

( "obras. 

Six species are recognized ; all are African except the 
A.'iiatic cdbra, yajn iiajii. and ranse thr()ii;;li()Ut tlie Afri- 
can continent except for the drifting sand areas of M:he 
Sahara rcginn. They are snakes of moderate (4 feet) 
to larKe IS feet) size, with large fangs and toxic venom. 
The species, -V. nigricollis, "spits" its venom at the eyes 
of an aggressor; it is found in the sotithern part of the 
region of north Africa. The Egyptian cobra {Naja haje) 
and the western subspecies of the Asiatic cobra {'Naja 
iiajn nxiaiia) are found in the Xear and Middle East 
regi(in. The Asi;ific nihrM. \'. iiiijii, is tlie niily species 
in this region. 

Dc/initiiDi: Head rather broad, flattened, only slightly 
distinct from neck; snout rounded, a distinct canthus. 
P.<idy iimderately slender, slightly depressed, tapered; 
neck ca[)able of expansion into hoiid ; tail of moderate 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head .scales : The usual fl on the crown ; frontal 
short : rostral rounded. Laterally, nasal in contact with 
the one or two preoculars. 

Body .scales: Dorsals smooth, in 17-2."> oblicjue rows 
at midbod.v. usually more on the neck, fewer jmsteriorly. 
Ventrals l.")0-2.32 : anal iilate entire; subcaudals 42-88, 
mostl.v iiaired. 

Maxillary teeth : Twi> rather large tubular fangs with 
external grooves followed, after an interspace, by 0-3 
small teeth. 

Indian Cobra, Naja. naja naja ( Liiiiiaciis). 

Iitinti/lriitiiin: .\diills lirown or hhick. iinlfnriii or 
with variegation produced l)y rows of dappled or hi 
coloredscali'S. There Is a "spcil;ii le" type hood nuirk 
present, except In l)lack individuals where It Is ap- 
|>arently ohscnrcd by pignjcni. Helly is liglit ante- 
riorly becoming clouded posteriorly, or generally dark 
Willi liglit areas on neck. Young paler and more varle- 
gati'd. In popMlalloiis where the adidls are uniform 
lilaek, the young sliow a hood [nark. 

.\verage length 4 to .'i feet, maximum about (J'/i feet. 
Sexes of about equal size. 

IH.striliiitiiiii: .MosI of the Indian Subcontinent exclu- 
sive of the extreme northwest and region east of the 
flanges delta; Ceylon. 

Oxus Cobra, Naja nuja oxiana (Eichwald). 

[iloiti/iidliDii: Adults brown, sometinu's with traces 
of wide dark cro.ssbands ; hood mark never present; 
belly i)ale with dark bars on neck. Young tan or buff 
with regular dark crosst)ands ; no hood mark. The hood 
in this form is noticeably narrower than in other Asian 

Length about the same as the Indian cobra. 


>^' -m^/C'^.'^ 

Figure SO. Oxus Cobra, Naja naja oxiana. This west- 
ern representative of the Asiatic Cobra occurs in 
northeastern Iran and in Afghanistan. Photo by Allan 

Distribution: Northern frontier of West Pakistan 
across Afghanistan and into eastern Iran and southern 
parts of Russian Asia. Avoids desert areas ; occurs in 
mountains to about 7,-')00 feet. 

Monocellate Cobra, Naja naja kaouthia Lesson. 

Identification: Brown or black usually speckled or 
variegated with white or pale yellow and often showing 
alternate wide and narrow transverse dark bands : 
dorsal hood mark a pale circle edged with black and 


Southeasf Asia 

enclosing 1 to 3 dark spots ; ventral hood mark a pair of 
dark spots or a wide dark band. Young darker than 
adults and with more vivid crossbands. 

DiHtribution: West Bengal, East Pakistan, Assam and 
Burma ; Thailand ; Malaya and southwest China, mostly 
in lowlands. 

Chinese Cobra, Naja naja atra Cantor. 

Identification: Adults grayish brown, olive or black- 
ish with widely spaced narrow light hands sometimes 
in pairs; hood marks variable but usually similar to 
the monocellate cobra ; belly pale sometimes with brown 
mottling. Young black with distinct whitish crossbands. 
Slightly smaller than the Indian cobra ; maximum length 
about 51/; feet. (See plate VI. fig. 2). 

Distrihution: Thailand and south China east to Viet 
Nam, Ilaiiiaii and Taiwan. 

Malay Cobra, Xiija naja xputatrix Boie. 

Identification: Brown, gray or black witbimt definite 
pattern on body; hood marks as in the monocellate cobra 
or dorsal mark absent ; belly dark .sometimes with white 
blotches on the throat. In this race of the Asian 
cobra, the discharge orfice of the fang is small and well 
short of the tip. This type of fang is associated with 
the habit of spraying or "siiilling" venom, and such 
behavior has been reported for the .Malayan cobra. 

Average length JO to .")() inches; maximum about 60 

Distribiitiiin: The Malay peninsula and most of the 
larger islands of Imlonesia. 

Borneo Cobra, \<i]<i. naja m/oJep/x Boulenofer. 

Idcntificalioit: Blade or very dark brown above with- 
out a dorsal hood marking ; belly yellow to dark gray. 
Yoking with widely spaced white or yellow crossbands 
and a chevron-shaped light mark behind the head. The 
maximum length is about ."> inches. 

nixtiibiition: Bornei), Palawan ( Piiiliiipines). Xaja 
naja saniarcnsix of the Vi.sayan Islands of the Philip- 
pines is very similar. 

Philippine Cobra, Xaja naja philippinensis Tay- 

Identification: Light brown or olive above without 
hood marking; cream to light brown below. Young 
darker with reticulate iiattern of light lines. Size 
about the same as the Borneo cobra. 

Distriltiition: Luzon and Mindoro. Philippines. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Ophiopbagus Giinther, 1864. 
King cobra. 

A single species. O. hannah, is found in so\itheastern 
Asia and the Philippines. It attains a length of 1(5 to 
18 feet, and is considered one of the world's most dan- 
gerous snakes. 

Definition: Head relatively short, flattened, moder- 
ately distinct from neck : snout broad, rounded, canthus 
indistinct. Bod.v slender, tapering, neck region capable 
of expanding into snuill hood ; tail long. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown, plus a pair 
of large occipitals in contact with one another behind the 
parietals. Laterally, nasal in narrow contact with 
elongate preocular. 

FioiKE ^7. — Head Scales of King Cobra, Ophinphagiis 
hannah. The large scutes (occipitals) behind the 
parietal scutes identify this genus. Redrawn from 
Maki, 19.31. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 1.5 oblique rows at 
midbody and posteriorly, more (17-19) on neck. Ven- 
trals 240-2."V4 ; subcaudals S4-104, the anterior ones 
single, the remainder paired. 

Maxillary teeth: Two relatively short fangs (about 
'-J inch in a large specimen) with external grooves fol- 
lowed, after an interspace, by .3 small teeth. 

King Cobra, HomocJryad, phiophagus hannah 

Identification: The great size is an important recog- 
nition feature. Adults in most parts of the range meas- 
ure 7 to 1.3 feet and are larger than any Asian snakes 
except the pythons and exceptional specimens of the 
nonpoLsonous keeled rat snake (Zancyx) which may 
reach 12 fi-et. Smaller king cobras may be recognized 
by the presence of large occipital shields, a uniipie fea- 
ture of the species. The hood is pro])ortionally narrower 
than in Asian Xaja. 

Adults olive, brown or greenish yellow becoming 
darker on the tail: head scales edged with black; throat 
yellow or orange sometimes with black markings. 
Young black with buff, wliite or yellow chevron-shaped 
narrow crossbands. .\dult snakes from East Bengal, 
Burma and Thailand retain the cros.sbands especially on 
the posterior half of the body. 

Distrihution: Peninsular India to the Himalayan 
foothills thence eastward across southeastern China and 
regions to the south ; the Philippines and larger islands 
of Indonesia. In the western and northern part of its 
range largely confined to hilly jungle to elevations of 
6.000 feet. In Malaya and Thailand found in fairly 
open coiuitry and in cultivated areas. Nowhere is it 
very plentiful. 


Poisonous Snakes of iho World 

ICiiiiiirK.i: KliiK ruliriis iiri- lutlvo (lliiriiiil siiiiki-s. 
riif}' iii'i* |it'hiiarll.v liM'i't'stiiiil. Iiul lire .sniiifHiiit'.s fdiiiKl 
III trt-t's iiiul III Clii> WHttT. Whllf tlu'y liuvc been it- 
piirtt'd n> iimki- iiiiprDvoknt iittm-kM, siirh hflmvlor Is 
cMrciiK-ly iiiiiisuiil. If I'Di-iifrcil en- liijiircil tlicy niii 
In- vi-ry iliiiiKiToiis, lull tliry I'ri'inu'iilly kIvc lltllf I'vl- 
(li'iiif of hiislillly xvlifii fiiriiiiiitt'i-cd. When iincry they 
Klvf a (lt'f|> ri'soimiil lilss shniliir Id the mowl iil' a 
siiiilll >lo^. 

Figure 88. — King Ciitira, Oi)liioi))ia(jus Uannah. Tlie 
hood Is much smaller than In the Asiatic Cobra. 
yaja iiaja. Photo by San Diego Zoo. 

The king cobra is uniiiue aiiionR snakes in construct- 
iiiK an elaborate nest of dead leaves and other decaying 
vegetation. Tliere are two chambers, one for the eggs, 
the other occupied by the female snake. The male may 
also remain nearby. Nesting cobras frequently but not 
invariably defend their egg.s. 

King cobra bites in man appear to be most infrequent; 
indeed there seems to be no ade<iuate account of the 
symptoms of envenomation. Venom of the king cobra 
shows marked antigenic differences from Naja venom 
and is not well neutralized by Naja antivenin. Its 
toxicity for mammals is less than that of Asiatic Xtija 
venoms. King cobra antivenin is produced by Queen 
Saovabha Memorial Institute, Bangkok. 

VIPERIDAE; Genus Azemiops Boulenger, 1888. 
I'"t':rs \ i|M'|-. 

.\ single species. .1. fidi- Iloulenger, Is known from the 
miinnlaliLS of soiilbeaslei'ii .\sla. It Is a sniiill species, 
less than .°t i'e<'l In IcriKlli, and its danger to man is 

Drflnitidn: Ili'ad sdoicwlial tlal Iciicd. ilislirjcl from 
iici'k : siKiut bi'iiad and slmrl, I'anllius obtuse. I!n(ly 
cylindrical, modeialely slender; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils veiiically elliiiti<-al. 

Head scales: The usual !) scutes on the crown; 
rostral brciad. rrnniul broad. Laterally, eye In contact 
with supralabial row; nasal separated from preoculars 
liv small s(pinrish loreal. 

liody scales: Dorsals smooth, in 17 nonobliciue rows 
at niidliody, fewer (I.'i) ijosteriorly. \'eiitrals rounded, 
ISO l.Si); subcaudals paired tlu-cpiigbo\U or a few anterior 
ones single, 4\i:j:i. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Echis Merrem, 1820. 

Saw-scaled xipefs. 

Two species are recognized. One {E. coloratus) is 
restricted to eastern Egypt and the Arabian peninsula. 
The other (E. carinatus) ranges from Ceylon and 
southern India across western Asia and north Africa 
.southward into tropical Africa. Although neither 
attains a length of .3 feet, they possess a highly toxic 
venom and are responsible for many deaths. When dis- 
turbed they characteristically inflate the body and pro- 
duce a hissing sound by rubbing the saw-eged lateral 
scales against one another, (see p. 83, fig. 02). This 
same pattern of behavior is shown by the nonpoisonous 
egg-eating snakes Dasypeltin. 

Definition: Head broad, very distinct from narrow 
neck; canthus indistinct. Body cylindrical, moderately 
slender ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : A narrow supraocular sometimes pres- 
ent ; otherwise crown covered with small scales, which 
may be smooth or keeled. Rostral and nasals distinct. 
Laterally eye separated from labials by 1-4 rows of 
small .scales ; nasal in contact with rostral or separated 
from it by a row of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, lateral 
scales smaller, with serrate keels, in 27-.37 oblique rows 
at midbody. Ventrals rounded, 132-205 ; subcaudals 
single, 21-.02. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Erisficophis Alcock and Finn, 1897. 

A single sjiecies, E. macinahonii Alcock and Finn, is 
known from the desert areas of southeastern Iran, Af- 
ghanistan, and West Pakistan. It is a rather small 
snake, less than 3 feet in length. However, fatal cases 
attributed to this species (Shaw. 1925) and a recent 


Southeast Asia 

serious bite indicate that it is a dangerous snalie with 
venom similar to tliat of Ecliis (see p. 110, fig. 75). 

Definition: Head broad and flattenetl, very distinct 
from neck ; snout broad and short, canthus not distinct. 
Body slightly depressed, moderately to markedly stout ; 
tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : Crown covered by small scales ; rostral 
broad, bordered dorsally and laterally by greatly en- 
larged nasorostral scales. Laterally, eye separated from 
labials by .'5—1 rows of small scales ; nasal separated from 
rostral by nasorostral scale. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled, short, in 2.3-26 vertical 
rows at midbody. Ventrals with lateral keels, 140-148 ; 
subcaudals paired, without keels, 29-36. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Pseudocerastes Boulenger, 1896. 
Fixlse-lionu'd vipei'. 

A single species is recognized (see Remarks, pp. 110- 
111). It ranges from Sin.-ii .-uid the Arabian Peninsula 
eastward to West Pakistan. It attains a length of 3 
feet and is considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head broad, very distinct from neck; 
snout short and broadly rounded; nostrils dorsolateral, 
valves present. 

Eyes small to moderate ; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : Crown covered with small imbricate 
scales; an erect hornlike projection covered with imbri- 
cate scales above eye. Jjaterally, nasals sejiaralcd from 
rostral by small scales ; eye separated from labials by 
3^ rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals weakly to moderately keeled, 
in 21-25 nonoblique rows at midbody. Ventrals 134- 
158 ; subcavulals paired. 35-48. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Vipera Laurenti, 1768. 
True addei's. 

Eleven species are recognized. This is an especially 
variable group, with some members that are small and 
relativel.v innocuous (e.g., 1'. Ix-riim and others that are 
extremely dangerous (I", lebetina, 1'. nixsrlii). They 
are found from northern Eurasia throughout that con- 
tinent and into north Africa. One species ranges into 
the East Indies ( 1'. niiiselii) , and two are found in 
east Africa (see Remarks under T'. stiperciliaris). Rus- 
sell's viper and the Levantine viper (p. Ill) are the 
(inly nu'iuliers of this genus in the region. 

Definition : Head broad, distinct from narrow neck: 
canthus distinct. Body cylindrical, varying from mod- 
erately slender to stout : tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size to small : pupils vertically el- 

Head s<-ales : Variable: one species ( T. nrsinii) lias 
all !> crown scutes, most species have at least the supra- 
oculars, but even these are absent in one ( 1". Irhelina ) : 
head otherwise covered with small scales. Laterall.v. 
na.sal in contact with rostral or separated by a single 

enlarged scale (the nasorostral). eye separated from 
sui)ralabials b.v 1— I rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, in 
Ht-31 nonobliipie rows at midbody. Ventrals rounded. 
120-180: subcaudals paired. 20-64. 

Russell's Viper, ]'/j/eni iiisneln (Shaw). 

Iilentifieution: Head wide, rather long; no enlarged 
plates on crown ; no loreal pit ; scales keeled. These 
features and the bold distinctive pattern readily dis- 
tinguish this rei)tile from most other Asian snakes. 
It may be closely imitated by the harmless Russell's sand 
boa iEnjx conieim). however this species has narrow 
ventrals (less tlian the width of the belly) and a very 
short tail. 

Color deeii yellow, tan, or light brown with 3 rows of 
large oval dark black-ringed spots which may be nar- 
rowly edged with white; the spots of the middle row 
often fuse on the latter half of the body; light V or X 
.shaped mark on top of the head ; belly pinkish brown 
to white with black spots. 

Populations of Ibis viper from Indonesia, Taiwan, 
China and Thailand are more grayish or olive; there are 
small sixits between the rows of large spots and the 
belly is suffused with gray jxisteriorly. 

Average length 40 to ."lO iiuhes ; maximum 05 inches; 
males larger than females. The island races average 

Fkuuk <s!>. — Russell's Viper, Vipera riisselii. The oval 
black-bordered markings are typical. Photo by R. 
Van Xostrand. (See also iilate VI. figure 3.) 

Di.striliiition: Eastern West Pakistan, most of India. 
Burma, and Ceylon ; parts of Thailand, southeast China, 
Taiwan, and a few islands of Indonesia. Over most of 
its range, a snake of ojien gra.ssy or brushy country often 
common around cultivated fields and villages. Occurs 
in lowlands, but avoids permanently marshy areas. Pri- 
marily a hill or mountain snake in some places and has 
lieen recorded at 7000 feet elevation. 

Remarks: Mainly nocturnal but occasionally active 
by day in cool weather. Crawls slowly and is rather 
phlegmatic in disposition. Hisses loudl.v when disturbed 
and strikes with great force and speed. 


Poisonous Snakes of ihe World 

UuMsi'ir-i vlpfi- Is vi-ry prollllc k'vIiik lilrtli to -0 In 
t'lO yimiiK. As Is Inn- of nmny smiki-s, ttu> yoiiiiK iiii' 
iiiort' irrltiit>li' than tlio iidiilts. 

Itusscll's vliHT Is a leailliiK caiiso of .snaki-bltt- accl- 
tU'iits 111 India and Huriiia, l>iit tlit> case fatality rate Is 
lowt-r (liaii ill Idtos by kralts, cubras and saw-scaled 
vl|iers. The lethal diise nf KiisseU's viper venom for 
man Is estimated al 10 70 im;. ; a lai'Ke snake yields l.'O 
'-'."lO mtf. Anliveiilns are produced liy llie HetiiinKwcrke, 
Marbnri;-I,a)in. (iermiiiiy : Central Uesearch Institule. 
Kasaiili. India : IlatTkine Institute, Hombay. India : 
Queen Saovablia Memorial Institute, IJannkok. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Agkistrodon Beauvois, 1799. 
Miiccasiiis ;iiul Asian pit vipcfs. 

Twelve species are recognized. Three of these are 
in North and Centrai America; tlie otliers are in Asia, 
Willi one siiecies. .1, htihi.i (I'aiias) ranKiiiK westward to 
.southeastern Europe. The American copperhead (.'1. 
contortrix) and the Eurasian maniushi and its relatives 
(A. halDs) seldom inflict a serious bite but .1. aciitiis and 
A. rhiiilit.itiima of soutlieastern Asia, as well as the 
cottonmoiith (.1. i>ixcir(>rii.i) of the soutlieastern fiiited 
States, are dangerous species (see p. 13G for de.scription 
of .1. acKtim) . 

Definitiiin: Head broad, tlattcned, very distinct from 
narrow neck ; a sharjily-distingui.shed canthus. Body 
cylindrical or dejiressed, taiiered, moderately stout to 
stout ; tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown in most 
species ; internasals and iirefrontals broken up into 
small scales in some Asian forms ; a pointed nasal ap- 
pendage in some. Laterally, loreal pit separated from 
labials or its anterior border formed by second supra- 
labial. Loreal scale present or absent. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth (in A. rlioiloxltima only) 
or keeled, with apical pits, in 17-27 nonoblique rows. 
\'eiitrals 12.5-174 ; subcaudals single anteriorly or paired 
throughout. 21-08. 

Malayan Pit Viper, Aghistrodon rhodostoma 

Identification: Head triangular, snout pointed, facial 
pit present. The only Asian pit viper with large scales 
on the crown and .smooth body scales. 

Middle of back reddish or purplish brown, sides paler 
with dark speckling; series of dark brown crossbands, 
narrow in midline, wider on sides, edged with white or 
buff ; bell.v pinkish white mottled with brown ; top of 
head dark brown, sides light pinkish brown, the colors 
separated by a white stripe that passes just above the 

Average length 23 to 32 inches ; maximum about 40 

Distribution: Thailand, northern Malaysia, Cambo- 
dia, Laos, Viet Nam, Java, Sumatra — apparently re- 
quires climate with well-marked wet and dry seasons. 
Frequents forests generally at low elevations ; common 
on rubber plantations. 

/i'cm«rA»; .\ bad tempered snake, quick to strike If 
illsliirbed. In iioiihcrii .Malaysia it causes approxi- 

Fku'ke !tO. Malayan I'it Vii)er, Aylcintrodon rliodo- 
.stiinid. This smooth-scaled pit viper is the source of 
many bites in southeast Asia. Photo by New York 
Zoological Society. 

mately 700 snakebites annually with a death rate of 
about 2 percent. Weeders and tapjiers on rubber es- 
tates are most frequently bitten. The snake is remark- 
ably sedentary and has often been found at the site of 
an accident after several hours. 

This is another of the oviparous vipers. The eggs 
are guarded by the female. Antivenin is produced by 
the Institut Pasteur. Paris; the Institut Pasteur, Ban- 
dung, Indonesia ; and Queen Saovabha Memorial Insti- 
tute, Bangkok. 

Hump-nosed Viper, Agkistrodon hypnale (Mer- 
reni ) . 

Identification: Of typical viperine build with stout 
body and wide head with facial pit ; snout pointed and 
turned up; large frontal and parietal shields but shields 
of snout small and irregular. 

Grayish, heavily powdered or mottled with brown ; 
double row of large dark spots ; belly yellowish or 
brownish with dark mottling ; tip of tail reddish or 

Average length 12 to 18 inches. 

f r 





' fe" 







. "kf 

'if d 

■. *\ 


Figure 91. — Hump-nosed Viper, Aghi.strodon hypnalc. 
Photo by Edward H. Taylor (Preserved specimen). 


Southeast Asia 

Distribution: Southern India and Ceylon. Inhabits 
dense jungle and coffee plantations in hilly country. 

Remarks: Often found by day coiled in bushes. It 
is irritable and vibrates the tail when annoyed. Bites 
by this snake are seen fairly frequently, but serious 
poisoning has not been reported. There is no antivenin. 


This large genus, containing some 30 species, is 
closely related to tropical American lanceheads 
{Rothropx). All have large triangular heads 
much wider than the neck. Presence of the facial 
pit and absence of large ])lrttes* on the to]) of 
the head (fig. OG) distinguish them from most 
other snakes within their range. The pupils of 
the eye are elliptical; the subcaudals may be 
divided or undivided. 

Bites by tliese snakes are quite frequent ; how- 
ever, the fatality rate is very low. The American 
polyvalent Crotalid Antivenin (AVyeth, Inc.. 
Philadelphia) shows neutralizing activity against 
A-enoms of several Asian lanceheads. It should 
be used if specific antivenin is not available. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Trimeresurus Lac6pede, 1804. 
Asian lance-headed vipers. 

About 30 species are currently recognized. All are 
found in southeast Asia and the adjacent island chains. 
The large spe<'ies are dangerous ; many of the smaller 
kinds can deliver a venomous bite which is very painful, 
but seldom if ever fatal (see pp. 137-138 for description 
of other species that enter this region). 

There are 3 general grou|is of these snakes : 

1. Large, long-bodied and long-tailed terrestrial snakes 
that are often brightly-colored with contrasting pal- 
terns ; 

2. Small short-bodied and short-tailed terrestrial 
snakes, commonly with dull patterns of brown blotches; 

3. Small, moderately long-bodied arboreal snakes with 
prehensile tail, body coloration tending toward \inicolor 
greens, light browns, or light speckles. 

Drflnition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck ; canthus obtuse to sharp. Body cylindrical 
to moderately compressed, moderatel.v slender to stout : 
tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes small to moderate in size ; pupils vertically el- 

Head scales: Supraoculars present, a pair of inter- 
nasals often present : remainder of crown covered with 
small scales. Laterally, a nasal pore in prenasal. 2 en- 
larged preoculars, eye separated from supralabials by 
1—4 rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals feebly to strongly keeled, in 
13-3T nonoblique rows. Ventrals 129-231; subcaudals 
paired, 21-92. 

Chinese Green Tree Viper, Trimeresurus stejnegeri 

Identification: One of a group of very similar ar- 
boreal pit vipers found throughout much of tropical 
Asia. All are slender to moderately stout snakes with 
l)rehensile tails. In this species the first upper lip shield 
is not fused with nasal shield and the dorsal scales are 

Body bright green to chartreuse above, yellow to pale 
green ventrally ; white or yellow line on side of body 
edged with reddish in male ; upper lip yellow or green ; 
iris of eye orange to coppery ; end of tail reddish 

Average length about 20 inches. 

* Present in T. macrolcpis of south India. 

FiouRE 92. — Chinese Green Tree Viper, Trimeresurus 
Ktcjncprri. Photo by I.sabelle Hunt Conant. (See 
also plate IV. figure 2.) 

Di.strihiilion: Central and southeastern China includ- 
ing Taiwan. Occurs chiefly in mountainous country 
near streams. Fre<iuents woodland, scrub and semi- 
cultivated land. 

Pope's Tree Viper, Trimeresurus popeorum Smith. 

Iili ntijU-utiiiii: Separated from T. stejnrgcri pri- 
marily by the structure of the male sexual organs; how- 
ever, the following additional points of difference are 
noteworthy : 

1. Iris yellow rather than reddish ; 

2. Size larger, reaching about 3 feet ; 

3. Lateral stripe indistinct in adult. 
Distrihution: Assam and Burma east to Cambodia 

and south through Malaysia and Indonesia. Inhabits 
hills between 3,000 and ."i.OOO feet for the most part. 
Common on tea plantations. 

White-lipped Tree Viper, Tnmereswus alboldbris 

Identificatidii: First upper lip shield fused with nasal 
shield; white lateral line in males only; upper lip pale 
green, yellow or white; green of body generally some- 
what paler than in T. stejnegeri ; iris of eye yellow; end 
of tail dark red. 

Average length 15 to 2.5 inclies, maximum 36 inches; 
females considerably larger than males. 


PoMonous Snokes of tho World 

hinliiliiitiiin: .Niirlhciixlfi'ii liidlii In siiiillicilsti'l'li 
I'lihin, IncliiilliiK Tiilwiiii mill lliiliinii, lliciico Noiith 
tliroilKli tlu' Siiiulii Ai'clil|M'liiKi>. Ki'i'i|iii>nls IIkIiII.v 
wixiiIimI i«i- tinisli.v nrfiiM ; ruiiiiiioii nii lilllsltli's Iml rare 
iiliovi' I, MM) fi'i'l : i>rii-ii fimiid iiImiiiI Iiiiiiiiui lialilliilioiis 
llli'liiiliiiL,' smImii'Iiiim k'lil'ilriis. 

Indian Green Tree Viper, 7'ii/iu;rtiiiriti (/niiiiliiriii 

Iilintitliiilinii: lUlTfis Iroiii till" ollu-r Asian Kri-eii 
pit vipiTs 111 Hint most of till' (Inrsal scnlrs aro siimotli. 
ki'i'ls lii'liiy iiri'si'iil niilv nil ;i t'cw posi iTicir rows. 

(ti'i'iMi usually Willi iliii'i<i'r Ili'iUiiii; ; lii;lit iatcral lino 
Irri'tfiilar : t'Uil of tnii trri'iiisli ; iris nf cyr yi'llnw i sec 
plalf I\'. IIk. .Hi. 

AvcrilKC li'ii);lli '2'i In ;ili iiii'lii's: iii:i\iiiiuiii Mi imlii'S. 

IHstiihiiliiiii : I'i'iiiiisiiliir liiili:i. cliii'liy in liilly ciiiiii- 
ti-y with lU'iisc iiiKlciKriiwIli. 

I'liiiiiiLs: Tlic lialiils nf tlii'sc MrlinicMl Kreen vipers 
iippcMi- 111 lie iiiiicli tilt' sniiic. All are chiefly active at 
iiIkIiI reiiiaiiiiii;; cniled in veKetntinn (ir hidden under 
liarU nr ntlier cnver during the day. They nsunlly re- 
main (jiiiet when apprnaclied. Imt nfteii sIriUe if touched 
or otherwise threatened. They are report«>d to he a 
leadiiiK cause of siiakehite accidents in Taiwan. .Tava. 
and Thailand, rersons picking tea. cuttiii;; liniiihoo, or 
clearing uiideriirowth are most often in.jured. Fatalities 
are unknown anion:; adults, liul have heeii rejiorted in 

.\n antiveiiin a;;ainst '■Triiiurc-iunin i/raDiiiicKs" 
venom was produced hy the Taiwan Simumi Vac<iiie La- 
boratory. Taii>ei. Since true T. f/r'niiiiirioi does not 
occur on Taiwan, the antiveiiin was prohahly for use 
acainst the venom of T. strjiirr/rri, the common green 
tree vijier of the island. 

So far as known, the tree vipers are live-lieariiij; : 
there are fi to 2.'i yountc in a litter. 

Mangrove Viper, T r'niiffcxii nis jDiriiurcDiiiitritJii- 
tiis (Vivwy). 

fdriitifiriiUcii : fieiieral body build about the same as 
that of the green tree vipers; usuall.v 2."i or 27 scale 
rows at midhody vs. IV) or 21 in the green vipers. 

Color variable — one common variet.v purplish brown 
with or without a whitish lateral line and with or with- 
out green spots. Another color phase is olive or gray 
irregularly spotted with brown. Tail uniformly brown 
or spotted gray ami brown; belly white more or less 
i-loiided with brown. 

Average length .SO to .S."i inches, niaximum about 40 

ni.sliihiitiiin : ?jast Hengal, southern Burma. JIalay 
Peninsula. Sumatra and Andaman islands. Largely re- 
stricted to the seacoast and to islands; particularly com- 
mon ill mangrove swamps. 

i;<iiiiirl:.t: Tsually found in low vegetation or anuuig 
rocks. .V fairly common cause of snakebite in coastal 
Malaya, but fatalities have not been recorded. There 
is no antiveiiin against the venom of this snake. 

Sea snakes present in this fegion are discussed 
in riiapter VIII. 


r.( )l l;i;l'', r, kcnc \'X\i\. Lcs .Sd-pents (le rindo- 
rliiiie. II. j'aNllsan: 'I'lill louse, l! \ols. \<)l. 
I, III pp., II i\<ss.; vol. II, M)r, pp., iSi) fifrs. 

|)KK.\MV.\(i.\L.\, 1'. Iv P. limn. The'l'axnn- 
oiiiy of I he ('olir;is of .Soul jieasl em .\sia. 
Spoli;i Zcylanicii, \()l. -J.'.), pp. 11 <>;',, lifr. 1, 
pis. I I. HK'il. The Tii.x-onoiny of llic Coliras 
of .'-^oiii licaslrrn Asia, Part 2. ihld.. vo]. 29, 
p;irl L', pp. :>()') 2'.V2, fifjs. 1-.*], pis. 1-2. 

Il.V.VS, ('. P. J. De. 10.50. Cliecklist of tho 
Snakes of llie Iiido-.\iisl i iilinii Ai'cliipelago. 
Treiiliia, vol. \>l), pp. r>\\-C,-2r,. 

II.MI.K, X. S. i;);")H. The Snakes of I'.orneo witli 
a ICey to the Species. Sarawak Mus. Jotir., 
vol. 8 (12 n.s.), i)p. 7i;V7Tl, pis. 22-23, 
figs. a-li. 

MINT()N,Sheiinan .\. Ji-. 1900. A Contrilmf ion 
to tiie Ilerpetoloiry of "West Pakistan. Bnll. 
Amer. Mns. Xat. Hist., vol. lU, art. 2, pp. 
27-184, fifi.s. 1-2, pis. 9-3fi. 

IJO^fER, J. 1). 1901. Annotated Checklist with 
Keys to the Snakes of Honjj Kong. Mem. 
Hong Kong Xat. Hist. Soc. (5) : pp. 1-14. 

ROOLT, Nelly De. 1917. The Reptiles of the 
Indo-Ansti-alian Archipelago, vol. II, Ophi- 
dia. E. J. Brill; Leiden. ?,U pp., 117 figs. 

SMITH, ]\Ialcolm A. 194.3. The Fauna of Brit- 
ish India including Ceylon and Burma. 
Rpptilia and Amjihibia, vol. 3, Serpentes. 
Taylor and Francis: Ijondon. 583 pp., 100 
figs., map. 

SWAN. Lawrence W. and Alan E. LEVITON. 
1902. The Herpetology of Nepal : a History, 
Checklist and Zoogeographical Analysis of 
the Herpetofatma. Proc. California Acad. 
Sci., ser. 4, vol. 32, pp. 1(13-147, 4 figs. 

TWEEDIE, M. ^V. F. 1954. The Snakes of 
Malaya. Government Printing Office: Sing- 
apore. 139 pp., 12 pis. 27 figs. 

T.VYLOR, Edward H. 1905. The Serpents of 
Thaihind and Adjacent Waters. Univ. Kan- 
sas Sci. Bull., vol. 45, no. 9, pp. 009-1096, 
figs. 1-125, map. 

WALL, Frank. 1928. The Poisonous Terrestrial 
Snakes of our British Indian Dominions 
( incliidiiio- Ceylon) and How to Recognize 
Them. Diocesan Press: Bombay. 173 pp. 


Section 9 

Definition of the Region: 
Inchidcx the Philijiiiitiex ; T<iiiftiii: the Uyiihyii inid liovin /xfnn//x; Ja/xni; 
Korea; Mongolia ; S/her/a; litisxlaii Far East Asta and the Chinese prorlncex 
of IleiJunglciang. Kirin. Inner Mongolia, Liaonii^g. Llopeh. Shmitang. Shanxl. 
Shenxl. Xingxla Tiii. fianxu. Ilitjieh. Anhicei. and Kiangxu. 



Map of the region l.'?3 

Introduction 133 

Distribution Chart 132 

Key to Genera 134 


Bvngarua 133 

Caliiophix 133 

Matieora 134 

Naja 135 

( > phiophagax 135 


Vipera 135 


Aykixtrodon 135 

Trlmeresuriix 130 

References 138 


Poisonous Snokej of iho World 
















1 — i — 1 — i — ; — ; — i — 7' I" ' ; ; i > i ; ' ' ' ' ■; — ^ 

1 i 1 ! i 1 i i 1 X \ 1 t«l i i i i i i 1 i 1 i i 


1 1 j ; 1 1 ] 1 i 1 i i X i i i i i i i i i i i 


i 1 i i i i i i i 1 i 1 ^ i i i i i i i i i 1 i 

• eujMD a 

i I 1 1 1 1 g 1 2; k! X i 1 1 1 1 1^ w w '■• i 


i 1 1 i i i i 1 i i '^ 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 i 

SI nXJinX^ 

i X i X 1 i 1 ! 1 ''■ i M 1 |x! 1 1 I i tK| 1 


Kiiis^Mi;^ \x y. \^- \ \ \y. \y.y. \y. \ 


\ \^ \ \ \yyy iiMJliiiit^ 


Bungarus multicinctus 

Calliophis boettgeri 

C. calligaster 

C. iwasakii 

('. maiclellandii 

C. sauteri 

Maticora intestinalis 

Naja naja 

( )phiopliagus hannali 


Vipera berus 

\'. russt'lii 

Agkistrodon acutus 

A. halys 

Triiueresurus albolabrls 

T. elegans 

T. flavomaculatus 

T. flavoviridis 

T. gracilis 

T. jerdduii 

T. monticola 

T. mucrosquamatus 

T. okinavensis 

T. stejnegeri 

T. wagleri 

^ WW 

3 =» 

*-> o 

W -C 



tf. —' 

W :: 


m ■= as 

1 « ? 


0/ ^ 

Ld -w 

4- cr 

<L tf-. jfl 
l-r 0/ 4> 

- a/ £ 

K) (tj 

I =11 

a. y <1> 

^ a -- t^ 
w c *- *^ 

- ^ *« 
» -n .^ +* 

** .£ OS 

•" o - f 

■^ .- «- '^ a 

- o "O " 

In- irt '" K i: 

• t-O'o a 

% > ^ 


The Far Easf 


Zoogeographically, it is difficult to delimit or 
characterize the Far East. Insofar as the snake 
fauna goes, the southern part of this region 
closely resembles southeast Asia. There are 
archipelagoes (Philippines, Kyukyu) with more 
or less remote and diverse connections with the 
mainland. These have acted as secondary centers 
of evolution fostering development of distinctive 
island races of many snakes. Most of these races 
are sufficiently similar to mainland forms that 
they are not considered separately in this manual. 
The moist tropical climate that characterizes the 
southern part of the Far East excludes snakes re- 
quiring an arid or semiarid environment. To- 
ward the north and inland, the snake fauna rap- 
idly diminishes to a very few species because of 
the increasingly cold and dry climate. 

Many areas in the Far East are densely popu- 
lated and people live under conditions which e.\- 
pose them to snakebite. Many are engaged in 
farming and related occupations which may take 

=15* .i"f*.»* 


*5=»* ^— *~?J 


V - '^ . ->' i^- 


Map. 10.— Section 9, the Far East. 

\ •-•-• 

them into the habitats of snakes. The incidence 
of snakebite is high in some localities, however 
the mortality is well below that reported in i^arts 

of India and Burma. The reasons for this are 
not altogether understood. The most important 
venomous snakes of the Far East are pit vipers, 
especially those of the genus Trhneresurus. 
Cobras are important toward the south. Sea 
snakes are numerous, but cases of serious sea 
snake bite are rare. 


ELAPIDAE: Genus Bungarus Daudin, 1803. 

Twelve species are recognized ; all inhabit the region 
of southeast Asia. Occasional individuals of B. fascia- 
tiis attain lengths of 7 feet. Most species are of mod- 
erate (4 to '} feet) length, but all are considered ex- 
tremely dangerous. .V single sjiecies. H. niiilti<iiiliis. 
is found in this region (see pp. 12(t-121). 

Definition: Head small, flattened, slightly distinct 
from neck ; no distinct canthus. Body moderately 
slender, cylindrical ; tail short. 

Kyes small ; pupils round or vertically subelliptical. 

Headscales : The usual !• on the crown: frmilal luojiil. 
Laterally, nasal in broad contact with single preocular. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, vcrlobral row eiilarged 
and hexagonal (strongly so except in /J. lividus), in 
l."?-!" oblique rows at midbody. Ventrals 193-2.37 ; anal 
plate entire; subcaudals single or paired (all paired 
only in some sjjecimens of H. Innifiarnidcs) . 23-.">(i. 

Maxillary teeth : Two large tubular fangs with ex- 
ternal grooves followed, after an interspace, by 1-4 
small, feebly-grooved teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Calliophis Gray, 1834. 
Oriental coral snakes. 

Thirteen species are recognized: all inhabit the region 
of southeastern Asia. Most are small species but a few 
exceed 3 feet in length. At least the larger individuals 
are considered dangerous. Five species are known from 
this region (see pp. 121-122). 

Definition: Head small, not distinct from body. 
Body cylindrical, slender and elongated ; tail short. 

Eyes small to moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The normal 9 on the crown ; rostral 
broad and rounded, no canthus. Laterally, nasal in 
contact with single preocular or separated from it by 
prefrontal: preocular absent in C. bibroni. 

Body scales : Dor.sals smooth, in 13-15 nonoblique 
rows throughout body. Ventrals 190-320 ; anal plate 
entire or divided. ; subcaudals usually paired, occasion- 
ally single in C. marrlrllaiKlii 12-44. 

Maxillary teeth : Two large tubular fangs with ex- 


Poiionous Snakoi of tho World 


I. A. I<i>hmI pit iHcsfiit 2 

11. I.oical pil iilisi'iit 3 

•J. A. Nil cMliuirfd ciduii sliifkls Trlmeresiirun 

H. MiilarfTi'il crown sliiclds present .[(/l-'stnuliiii 

.".. A. Knliirfji'd crown sluckls iibseMit or reduced in 

iiiiiulior 4 

1>. Kifx'il <>!' '•' enliu'j^ed crown sliields ;") 

I. A. \'en(i-iils t'xlendin^ full widtli of lielly V///r/fi 

H. \'enti'ids not extending; lull width of l)elly or 

ul)sen( ^ NP* 

T). A. rail piiddle-shiiped Sea snakes 

see Cliai)ter YWl 

B. Tail not paddle-sliaped 

(>. A. T^oieal scale present NP 

n. Loreal scale al)sent 7 

T. A. Dorsal scales smooth 8 

n. Dorsal scales keeled NP 

S. A. \'crlel)i'al scale I'ow enlarged; suhcaudals single Biinf/finis 

H. Not as above 

0. A. Body scales in 17 or more rows on neck; hood 

seen in life 10 

B. Body scales in i;i or IT) rows on nc<k: no hood II 

10. A. Occipital shields present; anterior suhcaudals 

single O i>lii(ii>]iii(jiix 

B. Occipital sliields absent ; suhcaudals paired Naja 

11. .V. Venom glands in normal position; anal shield 

usually divided Cairiophh 

\\. \'enom glands extended well hack into Ixxly; 

anal entire Maticom 

* N.P. — Xonpoisonous 

ternal grooves followed, after an interspace, by 0-3 tliidugliont lindy. Ventrals 107-29.3; anal plate entire; 

small teeth. subeaudals paired, 15-50. 

Maxillary teeth: Two large tnbnlar fangs; no other 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Maticora Gray, 1834. teeth on the bone. 

Remarks: The only consistent difference between coral snakes. fliese snakes and those of the genus Calllophis Is that 

Two species are found in the region of southeastern Mutirora has elongated venom glands that extend pos- 

Asia: from Thailand and the Philippines to Sumatra, teriorly for about one-third of the body length. The 

Java, Borneo, and Celebes. These snakes are relatively '"'"''t '!"« been pushed l)ack to the middle third of the 

small and slender but individuals of one species. .1/. '"'fl.^. where it can be felt (in preserved specimens) as 

hirirgata. occasionally approach 5 feet in length ; such n l>ard object, thus identifying the genus, 
individuals are believed to be capable of inflicting a 

dangerous bite (see p. 122, fig. 84). One species, .1/. ELAPIDAE: Genus Naja Laurent!, 1768. 

iiilr.itiiiulix. inhabits the I'liilippines. / ■ i , 

Definition: Head small and not distinct from body. 
Body cylindrical, slender and elongated ; tail short. Six species are recognized ; all are African except the 

Eyes small to moderate; pupils round. .\siatic cobra. Xaja najii, and range throughout the Afri- 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; no canthus ; can continent except for the drifting sand areas of the 

rostral broad and rounded. Laterally, nasal in broad Sahara region. They are snakes of moderate (4 feet) 

contact with single preocular ; eye in contact with supra- (o large (8 feet) size, with large fangs and toxic venom, 

labial row. The species. .Y. niyricoVix, "spits" its venom at the eyes 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in 13 nonoblique rows of an aggressor; it is found in the southern jiart of the 


The Far Easf 

region of north Afri<-ii. The B^syptinn cobra (Xaja liajr) 
and the western subspecies of the Asiatic cobra {Naja 
naja oxiana) are found in the Near and Middle East 
region. .A'. *ioi« is the only si)ecies in this region (see pp. 

Definition: Head rather broad, flattened, only slightly 
distinct from neck; snout rounded, a distinct canthus. 
Body moderately slender, slightly depressed, tapered ; 
neck capable of expansion into hood ; tail of moderate 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; frontal 
short ; rostral rounded. Laterally, nasal in contact with 
the one or two preoculars. 

Rody scales : Dorsals smooth, in 17-2,") oblique rows 
at midbody, usually more on the neck, fewer posteriorly. 
Ventrnls l."!)-232; anal plate entire; subcaudals 42-88, 
mostly paired. 

Maxillary teeth : Two rather largo tubular fangs 
with external grooves followed, after an interspace, by 
0-3 small teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Ophiophagus GiJnther, 1864 



A single species, O. iitnimth. is fcjund in southeastern 
Asia and the Philippines. It attains a length of 16 to 
18 feet, and is considered one of the world's most dan- 
gerous siuikes (see pp. 125-126). 

Definition: Head relatively short, llallcned, moder- 
ately distinct from neck ; snout broad, rounded, canthus 
indistinct. Body slender, tapering, neck region capable 
of expanding into small hood ; tail long. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual !) on the crown, plus a pair 
of large occipitals in contact ^vith one another behind the 
parietals. I^aterally, luisal in narrow contact with 
elongate preocular. 

Body .scales : Dor.sals smooth, in 15 oblique rows at 
mibody and posteriorly, more (17-19) on neck. Ven- 
trals 240-254 ; subcaudals 84—104, the anterior ones 
.single, the remainder paired. 

Maxillary teeth: Two relatively short fangs (about 
V2 iiK'li iu '1 large specimen) with external grooves fol- 
lowed, after an interspace, liy '.\ small Iccdi. 

VIPERIDAE: Genus Vipero Laurent!, 1768. 
TflU' addefs. 

Eleven species are recognized. This is an especially 
variable group, with some members that are small and 
relatively innocuous (e.g., T'. herns, which is found in 
this region. See p. 74,) and others that are extremely 
dangerous (1". Uheiina, V. riisselii). They are found 
from northern Eurasia throughout that continent and 
into north Africa. One species ranges into the East 
Indies [V. ruKKelii), as well as into the southern part of 
this region (see p. 127). 

Definition: Head broad, distinct from narrow neck; 

canthus distinct. Body cylindrical, varying from mod- 
erately slender to stout ; tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size to small ; pupils vertically el- 

Head .si-ales: Variable: one species ( T. nrf!inii) has 
all 9 crown scutes, most species have at least the supra- 
oculars, but even these are absent in one {V. lebetina) : 
head otherwise covered with small scales. Laterally, 
nasal in contact with rostral or separated by a single 
enlarged scale (the uasorostral) eye separated from 
supralabials by 1—1 rows of small scales. 

Body scales : Dorsals keeled, with apical pits, in 
19-31 nonoblique rows at midbody. Ventrals rounded, 
120-lsO: sulnaudals paired. 20-04. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Agkisfrodon Beauvois, 1799. 
M<)C(';isiiis and Asian pit vipei-s. 

Twelve spe<'ies are recognized. Three of are 
in Xorth and Central America; the others are in Asia, 
uitli one species, A. IkiIi/k. ranging westward to 
.southeastern Europe. The American copperhead (.1. 
coiitortrix) and the Eurasian mamuslii and its relatives 
(.4. halyx) .seldom inflict a serious bite but .1. aeiilua 
and A. rhiiiloxtoinu of southeastern Asia, as well ns the 
cottonmouth (.4. piscirorns) of the southeastern Ignited 
States, are dangerous si)ecies. 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow ne<-k ; a sharply-distinguished canthus. Body 
cylindrical or depressed, tapered, moderately stout to 
stout ; tail short to moderately loiig. 

Eyes moderate in size: pupils vertically clli]itic;il. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown in most 
s|)ecies; interna.sals and prefrontals broken up into 
small .scales in some Asian forms; a pointed nasal ap- 
pendage in some. Laterally, loreal pit separated from 
labials or its anterior border formed by second supra- 
labial. Loreal scale present or absent. 

Body scales: I)or.-;als smooth (in .4. rhodostoma 
oidy ) or keeled, with .-iiiical lilts, in 17-27 nonoblique 

Figure 93. — Head Scales of Agkistrodon halys. Note 
presence of enlarged head scutes and loreal pit, char- 
acteristic of this genus. Redrawn from Makl, 1931. 


Poisonous Snakas of fhe World 

iiiws \fiilrals l'2't 171; muIm-ihiiIhIs sIiikIc iiiitrrlorly 
or imlrril tliniiiKliiMit, 'Jl *IS. 

Sharp-nosed Pit Viper, .[(/A'lxfntt/oii miiliii ((liiii- 

Iilintiftraliiiii: A pit vI|iit with (In- siiuul t-iulliii; in 
till ii|ilurii<Ml |H>liilr<l ii|>|i<'iiilMt;f mill liiruc sliiclil>; nii llii' 

(iriiiiiul i-olor livny or lini« ii wllli diirk tinnvii cruss- 
Imiiils imrrow at the ii-iitiT of the liaik. widi' on tlic 
sides. \vld»> iinrts often lincfd with dull nrance; belly 
(Team with larce lilack spots thai extend onto the sides; 
to|> of liead dark lirown, sides lielow eye yellow. The 
entire i-olor sihenie siiKKests tliat of tlie I'liiled Stales 

.\vcrai;e leiiKth ;5."> to 4.'i imlies; niaxiiiiuiii iilioul ."i 

Figure in. — Sharp-no.sed Pit Viper, Agkistrodon acii- 
ti/.*. The most dangerous i)it viper of the Far East. 
Photo by New York Zoological Society. (See also 
plate \', figure 1.) 

Distribidioii: Soiitlicru Cliina. norlliern Viet Xam, 
Hainan. Taiwan. Found mostly in ro<k.v. wooded, hilly 

Remarks: A sedentary snake but alert and irritable ; 
it strikes without hesitation when alarmed. Data from 
Taiwan indicate it is the most dangerous pit viper of 
the Far East. Antivenin is produced by the Taiwan 
Serum Vaccine Laborator.v, Tai(iei. 

Mamushi, Aykiatrodon halys (Pallas). 

Idoitifiration: Over much of its range the facial pit 
alone suffices to identify this snake. Presence of large 
crown shields distinguisli it from other pit vipers within 
its range. 

Yellowish or reddish brown with wide dark brown 
cro.ssbands. irregular in outline and margined with 
black; side of head above eye dark brown or black, 
below eye pale buff to white; belly white or cream with 
black blotches. While the pattern and colors of the 
sharp-nosed pit viper suggest those of the copperhead to 
an American her|)etologist, the mamushi suggests the 

I'khthe 0."). — Korean Mainuslii, Ai/kistrodon halys hrc- 
licaiidiiK. The .Japanese .Mainuslii. .1. Iidliix hidiiiliiiffii. 
is similar hut has fewer blotches. Photo by New Y'ork 
Zoological Soclely. (Sec also plale V. ligure .">. ) 

cottoiimouth moccasin. The resendilance is probably 
not coincidental ; the American snakes ver.v likely 
evolved from ancestors that migralc<l across a land 
bridge from Asia. 

Average length of the mamushi is liO to L'U inches; 
maximum about .S.~> inches. 

The above account is conlincd to the subspecies Ai/- 
Icislniiliiii liiihi-t hhiniiilKiffii and .1. Ii. Iiri rii-diiiliix. 

IHnhiliiilidii: .[apan and the Honin and Pescadores 
Islands; Korea; and eastern and northern China. II 
evidently occurs in a wide variety of environments from 
low marshy river valleys to mountains at elevations up 
to 12.000 feet. It is occasionally foinul in the environs 
of Tokyo and other large cities. 

UitiKirku: Generally an inoffensive diurnal snake that 
seeks to escajie whenever possible. It flattens its body 
and vibrates its tail when angry. Despite its mild disjw- 
sition, some 2,000 to 3,000 snakebites are reported an- 
nually In .lapan. Fatalities are known but are most 
exceptional — about 1 per 1.000 bites. Woodcutters and 
farmers are often bitten. Eight of O.'i patients 
tre.ited at a metropolitan hospital were bitten while 
preparing snakes for the table or for "Mamushi 
Whiskey," a concoction probably more deadly than the 
snake that goes into its manufacture. 

Antivenin is produced by the Institute for Medical 
Science. Tokyo. 

CROTALIDAE: Genus Jnmeresurus Lacepede, 1804. 
Asian lance-lii'aded vipers. 

.\liout HO species are currently recognized. All are 
foiuid in southeast Asia and the adjacent island chains. 
The large species are dangerous; many of the smaller 
kinds can deliver a venomous bite which is very pain- 
ful, hut seldom if ever fatal. 

There are 3 general groups of these snakes : 

1. Large, long-bodied and long-tailed terre.strial snakes 
that are often brightly-colored with contrasting patterns; 

2. Small .short-bodied and short-tailed terrestrial 


The Far East 

snakes, commonly with dull patterns of brown blotches ; 

3. Small, moderately lonn-bodied arboreal snakes with 
prehensile tail, body coloration tending toward unicolor 
greens, light browns, or light speckles. 

Definition: Head broad, flattened, very distinct from 
narrow neck; canthus obtuse to sharp. Body cylindrical 
to moderately compressed, moderately slender to stout; 
tail short to moderately long. 

Eyes small to moderate in size ; pupils vertically el- 

Head scales : Supraoculars present, a pair of inter- 
nasals often present ; remainder of crown covered with 
small scales. Laterally, a nasal jiore in i)renasal. 2 
enlarged preoculars, eye separated from sui>ralabials by 
1-4 rows of small scales. 

FiGTRE !)7. — Okinawa Habn. Triiiicrcxiinix flaroiiiiilix. 
I'hoto by Robert E. Kuntz. (See also plate IV, figure .5.) 

Figure 96. — Head Scale.s of the Okinawa Habu, Trimc- 
resuru.1 flavoriridis. Note absence of most crown 
scutes, characteristic of this genus. Redrawn from 
Maki, 1931. 

Body scales : Dorsals feebly to .strongly keeled, in 
13-37 nonoblique rows. Ventrals 12I>-231 ; subcaudals 
paired, 2l-i)2. 

Okinawa Habu, T rimcresui'us jiavovb'idi^ (Hal- 

Iilciitificatidii: One of the Asian lance-headed pit 
vipers; bead large, crown with small scales; body slen- 
der, gracefully proportioned, tail not prehensile. Scales 
around midbody .'W-37 ; ventrals 222-231. 

Ground color light olive or brown with elongated dark 
green or brownish blotches edged with yellow and some- 
times enclosing yellow spots ; the blotches often fuse 
to produce wavy stripes; underside whitish with dark 
mottling along the edges. 

Average length -i to ."> feet ; maximum TVS feet ; it is the 
largest of the Asian lance-heads. 

Distrihiitioii: Restricted to the Amami and Okinawa 
island.s where it is common on the larger islands of vol- 
canic origin, but is never seen on the smaller coral 
islands. It is most frefpientl.y found in the transition 
zone between cultivated fields and palm forest, living 
in rock walls, old tombs, and caves. 

Ilcmarks: An a<tive, mostly nocturnal snake that 

frecpiently enters dwellings and other man-made struc- 
tures probably in search of rats and mice. It is a l)old 
and irritable reptile striking with great rapidity and 
long reach. In the Amami islands the incidence of 
snakebite is very high — about 2 i>er l.tKX) ]H>imlation. 
Fortunately, habu venom is of low toxicity and only 
.iliout 3 percent of the bites are fatal ; however, another G 
to K jiercent have permanent disability as a result of the 

Antivenin against T. flavoviridis venom is produced by 
I be Institute for Me<lical Science. Tokyo, and the 
Laboratory for Chemotherapy and Serum Therapy, Ku- 
mamoto, .lapan. 

The habu is one of the comparalively few pit vipers 
that lays eggs. 

The hiniehabu {Tiiwcrcxiinis iil;iiiiiitiisis) has much 
the same distribution as the habu but is a smaller, 
heavier snake. It is sluggish and rarely causes snake- 
bite. The Sakishimn habu (T. clcgans) (plate IV, fig. 
6) is a smaller version of the Okinawa habn and occurs 
in the southern Rytikyus. It has 182-191 ventrals and 
6f>-77 subcaudals. 

Figure 98. — Himehabu, Trimcnxunm okinavensis. 
I'hoto by Robert E. Kuntz. (See al.-;<) plate IV, figure 6.) 

Chinese Habu, Trimerenuru/t mucrosquamatus 

Idcntificutiuii: Very similar to the habus of tlie 
Ryukyus; has 198-219 ventrals and 76-96 subcaudals; 
23-27 .scale rows at midbody. brown to buff or olive; three rows of darker 
gray or brown spots with narrow yellow edges; those of 
middle row largest, occasionally fused to form a broken 


Poisonous Snokes of iho Work! 

wiivy strl|ii': hcU.v wlilllsh >iin'ii>icl ullli lnowii ( sec 
l>la(i> y. Hi; II. 

Avrrimi' Ic'iiulli ;{0 III 10 liii'lii's; iiimnIiiiiiiii mIkmiI I 

lUnliibiitiiiii: Tiilwiiii iiiiil siiiiiIktii Cliiiia \v<>sl 
tliroiiKli iiiirtlifi'ii \°i<'l Niiiii 1111(1 I.iioN III ciislci'ii lliirinii. 
('(iiiiiiiiHK'st ill hilly iin-iis with ki'iiss up spnrsi' I'lircst 
liiit III nil Ki'<'»t iillitiiili' iil'li'ii I'oiiiiil ill suliiii'liMii mill 
llKl'icilllill'ill ilistrirls. 

I>'i)iiiiik.i: .Must 111' wlijil Ims liccii .said nl' the (Iki- 
nawa lialui apiirais In lu> Inic nf tlil.s snake iilsii. It Is 
nricii iiii|iliriitf<l ill siiaki'bilc accidents, .\iitivenin is 
IiriulMceil liy the 'I'liiwaii Seniiii X'acciiie I.iiliiii-Mtdi-y. 

Chinese Mountain Viper, /' r/iiurcsiiriis iiioiiticDhi 
< iiiiil lier. 

Iilfiili/iftiliiiii: .\ |ilt viiMT i>l' ili'iiilcdly slmUlcr luiild 
tliaii the rhincse h.-iliu :iiiil hickiiiir llie ;;reeii inlur mihI 
preliensilc l.iil ot' I lie lice viiicrs. I'siially liH I'T simIc 
rows at niidliiiily : t'cwcr lli;iii L'llii \ ciil i;ils : Ci." nr i'i'wit 

(iiay 111- olive siiccklcd willi black : series of laine 
si|Maiisli liinwii or reddisli liliilihes: Inji of head diirl< 
lii-nu II or lil:iik soiiicdiiics wilh liuhl V-sli;ipcd iii:u'l; ; 
liclly white iiiolllcd willi ilMik lirowii. 

.\vcr.-mc Icnu'lli .'i lo .'i'j feel, ma \iiiiiiiii .'iliout I feet. 


Fioi-RE on. — Chinese Mountain Viper. Ti-iiiicrciiiirKS mon- 
tUulit. riioto by New York Zoolofjical Society. (See 
also plate \ . tiyure H. ) 

Dixlriliiitioii : Nepal eastward across luainlaiid China 
and south thronf;h the Malay reninsula. Csnally found 
in wooded mountainous counlry to elevations of about 
S.noO feef. 

Ifiiiiiirhtc Lays e^ss that are ^;uarded by the mother. 
These nestinjr females are said to be somewhat sullen 
and irritable: otherwise it is a jilacid slnsKish snake. 

Xo antivenin is available. 

Wagler's Pit Viper, Trhnrrf^uru!^ iniglerl (Boie). 

I(h iiti/icdiitiii: Stout with unusually wide head and 
prehensile tail: scales between eyes and on cliin and 
throat strongl.v keeled. 

Adults sreen with hlack-edfied scales or black with 
scattered sreeu spots; broad crossbands. tfieeii above 
shading to yellow on sides: head blaik above, sides 
yellow or greenish; bell.v Kreenish mottled with yellow: 
tail black. Young, green with a regular row of spots, 
each one half white and half red : tail reddish. There 
i.s a good deal of color variation, especially in the Philip- 

Fii.ruK IIHI. Wagler's I'il \i|ici-. 'I'riiiii i( siini-i iiiif/lni. 
riiolo by .\ew ^ork Zoological Society. (See also 
pbile l\'. ligiii'c I. I 

pines. Some populations arc .'ilinost uniform gri'en, 
others tend to i-etain the .jiiNcHilc pattern. The keeled 
Ihroal scales are diagnostic Ihroughout the range. 

.\\ciage length .''.0 to ;^." inches; maximum about 10 

Distiihiilitiii : Thailand. Malaysia, Indonesia. Horneo 
and the riiilippines. A common snake of lowland .iungle 
and plantations. 

h'liiiitihn: A tree snake of remarkably sluggish and 
gentle ilisposit ion .-it least during the day. It is some- 
times kept iiiicouliiicd in tcmiiles or loleraleil about 
dwellings as an omen of good lin-lc. The venom is fairly 
toxic for animals and |iresent in good (|uantity, .so the 
snake is capable of intlicting a dangerous bite. No 
siiecific antivenin is available. 

Tlie sea sniilces ;ii'e discussed in Cliiiiilci' VIII. 


KINTZ, Roliei't K. li)(i.']. Snak-s of Taiwan. 

r.S. Naval ^fedical Reseaicli Unit No. 2: 

Taipei, Taiwan, |i|i. 1-7'.', color pis., text figs. 

(not nninhei'ed). 
LKVITOX, Alan E. lOfil. Keys to the Danjrer- 

oiisly Venomous Terrestrial Snakes of the 

Phililipine Islands. Sillinian Jour., vol. 8, 

P11. 9S-1()6, ficrs. 1-2. 
POPE, C'litfoi'd. 10.%. The Reptiles of China. 

Nat. Hist. Cent. Asia, vol. 10 New York, 

l)p. i-iii 4- 1-604, 27 jils. fij2;s., map. 
STEJNEGER, L. 1907. Ilerpetolojry of Japan 

;iii(l .Vdjacent Territory. Bull. U.S. Nat. 

^^us., \ol. 5S, pp. i-.\x, 1-577, 35 pis. 
A\'EKLER, John E. and IIu<rh L. KEEGAN. 

li»('i:'i. ^'iMlolllous Snakes of the Pacific Area. 

In A'enoiuoiis and Poisonous Animals and 

Noxious Plants of the Pacific Region. (H. 

L. Keegan and W. V. ^lacFarlane, eds.) 

Pergamon Press: Oxford, jip. 219-325, figs. 



Section 10 

Definition of the Region: 
Inchidcs the continriit of Aiiftnilid tind tin- ialdiuls of Oreanhi cant of ./(i/imi. 
the Rijiikyus. miil tin I'hilipiiinfx <md enst of ii line dnnni befireen Timor 
{inrhiding the onshore ishaid of Moa) mid the Tanindxir hhitidx. and he- 
tii'een Celehen and the is/niiilx of lliirii and I/uhiiiiheni. 



Map of the region 1-tl 

Introduction 141 

Distribution Chart 140. 14-_'. 143 

Key to Genera 144 


Arnnthophisi 140 

Apixtoccdrnnu-^ 146 

Aspidomorphnf; 146 

Brachydxpifi 147 

Brachyurophis 147 

Demnihiid 147 

Deni.sonio 148 

Fhipogndthds 149 

(ilyphodon 14!) 

Tloplocephnliis 149 

Micfopcchix 150 

Notechis 150 

Ogmodon 151 

O.ryvrnrinft 151 

Pdntpistocahimus 152 

Pseudechis 152 

Rhinoplocejdidhis 153 

Rhynehoehtps 153 

Toxicocdldmiis 154 

Tropidechix 154 

Tltrocaldunif: 154 

Vermicelld 155 

References 155 


Poisonous Snatces of iho World 

'P""!'! !!!J 

[ ~~] — [~j — 1 — [~~i — i — i — i — i — ] — 1 — 1 — 1 — 1 — i — 1 — i — 1 — 1 — i — i — i — i — i — 1 — i- 


•il >iijiiiusiy 

^ n 1 N ■ ' ^ M ' ' ' ' ' ■ 


spue|«i siiBjJS ssEfl 


Xo \\\\ ^^|«« «^«"i^-^^"§^^^^ 


1 1 ; 1 ] 1 1 1 ' , 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 i ' ! i 


c^* 1 1 ; 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 
I 1 ' 1 ' 1 I 1 I ' I 1 ' 1 ' 1 1 ! I 1 I ' 1 ' 1 1 ' ' 

1 ' 1 ' 1 1 1 ■ ' 1 1 < 1 ' r ' 1 1 1 1 ' 1 ' 1 1 ' ' 


>< i 1 i i i i i i i 1 i 1 i i 1 1 i 1 i 1 1 i 1 i i 


>^ i i i i i i t^ i 1 i i i 

EauinQ Aiafsi 

y. \y.><y.y.^ \ \ \ \ \y.y. \ \ \ \ \ \ I \ \ \ \ \/§ \§ 


k! 1 j 1 i 1 i 1 1 i 1 i 1 1 ; 1 i j i 1 1 1 i 

(jneq JOujtx) jaqiurunj^ ,, '^ i i i i i i ] i i i i ' i i i i i ' i j i ' i ' 1 ! ' [ 


t 1 I 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 ' 1 < 1 ! 1 ' 1 ' I 1 ' 1 

^ i i i i i i 1 i i i !>^ i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 t I > ' 1 ' 1 1 1 I ' 1 1 ' 1 
1 1 1 t 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 • 1 ., 1 1 


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' < 1 ' 1 ' 1 1 ' 1 

>^ i i 1 i i i i i i i ! 1 i i i 1 i i i i i i 1 ! 1 i i 1 

1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 , 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 


Acaiithopliis antarcticus 

A. pyrrlius 

Apistocalamus grandis 

A. lamiiigtoiii 

A. loriae 

A. iiratti 

Aspidoiiiiirplnis ehristieanus 

A. diartciiia 

A. liarriettae 

A. krefftii 

A. minutus 

A. niuellerii __ _ 

A. schlegelii 

A. squaiimlosus 

Brachyaspis curta 

Brachyurophis australis 

B. campbelli 

B. fasciolatus 

B. roperi 

B. seniifaseiatus 

B. warro 

B. woodjonesii 

Deniansia acutirostris 

D. guttata 

D. niodesta 

D. (ilivacea 

D. psanunophis 

D. textilis 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 


Most of the islands of the Pucific Ocean have 
no poisonons land snakes, althoujih those in equa- 
torial waters are likely to have i)oisonous sea 
snakes just offshore (See Chapter VIII). In 
addition, some of the poisonous snakes that do 
occur on islands are so small that they cannot be 
considered a hazard to man. 

Australia and Xew Guinea liave larije numbers 
of dangerou.sly i)oisonous .snakes lint of the is- 
lands east of New Guinea only the Solomons 
have poi.sonous snakes Mhich can even remotely 
be considered dan<jerous. The Fiji Islands, for 
e.\am])le, lime a poi.sonous snake {Ogmodon 
i'if}(i)iiix) but it is so small (15 inches) that its 
killinji powei- is limited to the small animals on 
whicli it feeds. Fuitlier. it is so rare that most 
island residents liave never seen it! 

Australia, on tlie otlier hand, is the only con- 
tinent whicli has more kinds of ))oisonous than 
non])oisonous snakes. More than (>() percent of 
Australian .snakes are poi.sonous and some are 
highly dangerous. Yet of the 00 species of 
poisonous laiul snakes that inhabit Australia, 
only about Kl are considered to i)e dangerous to 
an adult man. Several of these have rather re- 
stricted ranges and are not found in areas of liigli 
human pojiulation. For a country with such a 
higli numbei' of poisonons snakes, .Vusti'alia has 
amazingly few deaths from snakebite — the annual 
rate being estimated at 1 in 2,000,000. 

In New Guinea, just to the north, fewer than 
25 percent of its snakes are poisonous. Of the 
10 species of poisonous snakes, only (> are con- 
sidered liighly tlangerous and -1 of these are re- 
stricted to tlie southeastern adjacent to Aus- 
tralia. Thus, only 2 species, the death adder and 
the ikaheka snake, are of concern elsewhere on the 
island. The remainder of the poisonous species 
outside eastern New Guinea is made up of small 
burrowing snakes or species resembling whiji 
snakes wliose bites are of minor consequence. 

Aside from sea snakes which are found off'- 
shore and in some of the rivers and lakes (see 
Chapter VIII), the poisonous snake fauna of this 
region is made up entirely of members of the 
cobra family (Elapidae). Although they are 
all elapids, none is a true cobra; none has a cobra- 
type hood (though several flatten the neck — or 

even the whole body) and none stands up straight 
in cobra fashion as a threat. Many of the 
dangerous snakes of this region resemble North 
American whip snakes and since they lack any 
special physical characteristic (such as the rattle 
of the rattlesnake or the facial pit of the pit 
viper) or any unusual behavioral features, they 

1 r .- / ir Ocean 

^?^: ::. ~' 

Map 11. — Section 10. .Vustralia anil Tacific Islands. 
(Include.s the Pafilic Ocean eastward to tlie coasts 
of the Americas.) 

are particularly difficult to distinguish from non- 
poisonous species. 

True, the dangerous deatli adder has the ap- 
pearance of a viper (which it't), but other 
dangerous species look like harmless racers, rat 
.snakes, or king snakes. About the only way to 
identify a poisonous snake from this region is to 
kill it and look for fangs. (Chapter III, fig. 5). 
Even this is not a foolproof method because some 


PoMonoui Snakes of the World 




























•pu'i'i irij 

; , I 1 i-r T-1 — 1 — 1 — ;■ i r r— t — ^ — 1 — 1 — 1 — 1 — r — 1 — 1 — ; — - 
1 t 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 , 1 1 1 > 1 < 1 1 ) > 1 1 
1 • 1 1 , 1 t 1 1 1 1 1 1 , 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 , 
1 1 1 1 , 1 1 1 1 t 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 I 1 1 , 
[ 1 1 1 1 ,) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 , t 1 1 ) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 , 1 

1 . : I > I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 ! 1 1 t 1 1 1 1 ] 1 1 1 ! ! 

■fl DoaiO|0$ 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 T 1 ' -<- 
j 1 , 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 ) 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 

i j i i i i 1 i i i i i i i « i i i i i i i i i i »^ i 

'i| ^t^jBoitig 


1 1 1 >< 1 i i i i i i i i i i i i X i i i i i 1 i 

tpoBiti niuis csvg 



1 1 ' 1 ' 1 ! 1 1 1 I 1 ! ' I ' 1 1 I 1 1 1 ' I 1 1 ' 1 
1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ] 1 1 I 1 [' 1 

1 ' 1 I 1 ' 1 I 1 i 1 I 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 I 1 I !' I 1 I ! 1 
' 1 ' 1 f 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 ! ! 1 ' I ! 1 , 


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ] 1 [ 1 1 j j 1 j ] [ 1 

1 ' 1 ' 1 ' 1 ' 1 ' 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 ' 1 ! 1 ' 1 1 1 ' 1 
1 1 ' 1 ' 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 


1 i j i i i i i i i i 1 i 1 i 1 i 1 i i 1 i =-• i 1 H 


i i 1 1 i i i 1 i i i 1 i i i i i i i i i i i i i i 1 1 

esDino M3>j 

«= i M 1 ^ ^ 


(inE-IJOmix) JsqmiDEX 

1 I 1 1 ! 1 1 I ! I 1 I 1 I 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 ! I 1 1 I 1 1 ! 



ELAPIDAE (continued) 

Denisonia boschmai 

D. brunnea 

D. carpentariae 

D. coronata 

D. coronoides 

D. devisi 

D. dwyeri 

D. fasciata 

D. flagellum 

D. gouldii 

D. maculata 

D. nigrostriata 

D. pallidiceps 

D. par 

D. punctata 

D. ramsayi' 

D. superba 

D. suta 

Elapognatlius minor 

Glyphodon barnardi 

G. dunmalli 

G. tristis 

Hoplocephalus bitorquatus 

H. bungaroides 

H. stephensii 

Micropechis elapoides 

M. ikaheka 


Ausfralia and the Pacific Islands 

1 ;^ i i 1 1 i i i i i i i i 1 i i i i i i 1 i 

i i i >^ i i i 1 i i i i i i i i i j 1 i i i 

>^ i i i i 1 i i i i 1 i i i i 1 i i i i i i 

f^ i i i i i ! ' i i i ; ; i i i i i i i 

I 1 1 1 . 1 1 [ 1 1 1 1 j 1 1 1 1 ' ' ' ' ' 

i k« M i i i 1 j i i 1 i 1 1 1 

1 i 1 i >< 1 i 1 i 1 i 1 1 i 1 i j 1 1 

!^ i 1 i i i 1 1 i 1 i 1 i i i 1 i 1 j 1 1 ; 1 

ELAPIDAE (continued) 
Notechis scutatus 

Ogmodon vitianus 

Oxyuranus scutellatus 

Paradeinansia microlepidota •_- 

Parapistocalamus liedigeri 

Pseudapistocalanius nynianni ". 

Pseudechis australis 

P. colletti 

P. papuanus 

P. porphyriacus 

Rhinoplocephalus bicolor 

Rhynchoelaps approximans 

R. bertholdi 

Toxicocalainus longissinius 

T. stanleyanus 

Tropidechis carinatus 

T. duncnsis ' 

Ultrocalamus preussi 

Vermieella annulata 

V. calonota 

V. minima 

V. niultifasciata '' 





0-* 6 X *^ 


S u5„ M 


CJ c c ■— ~ 


C3 '» - C 



3 r: „ -^ 


^ a a ; 


- c s 

= £3 0) 

_ 00 =:>■ 


-_ " — ^ 

= ? S c 

~ ^ > > 

- ?•■= 


Poisonous Snok»s o^ (he World 

sptH'ics Imvo vtTV sliorl fanjjs llmt iiiiiy Iw difliciilt 
lo ilistiii>;iiisli f II nil I lie otlii-r I colli imli'ss :i iiiiiin 
S(-o|Hi is ill liiiiul. 

Kliipid simkes typiciilly l;ii'k a sialo on I ho 
siilo of iho faco (loroal) wliicli most coliilnul 
snakes Imvo. Tliis nioaiis that only '2 scah-s lie 
iK'twoeii the nostril luul the eye instead of ilio I! 
tliat iiro se»Mi in most linnnless siinkes. (A low 
kinds, e.p., (rh/phodon. on nu"e occasions lia\o a 
vortical siitufo throu<ih the jifeoctdar, forming a 
"loreal.") Any snake that lacks tliis scale should 
Ih> viewed with snsi)icioii. F<>rtiin;»tely, too, a 
rather lar<;e proportion of iho harmless snakes 
of this region are pythons, boas, blind snakes, or 
hiflhly specialized water snakes. These are much 
easier to distingviish from elapids than are the 

cohibcids, which arc (ho most lomiiioii Miakes 
els«'\vhorti (Son Cliaplor \' I ) . 

It is worth romomlu'rinj^, loo, lliat aliiio.-%l all 
of |||(^ danfjei-ously poisonous kinds of snakes in 
I his roj^ion livii on the iji-oiiiul. Only the Aus- 
Iralian broad-headed snakes (/Io///ocr//h(ilii.'i), 
amoiifj poisonous species, are adajjted for life in 
the trees and llioy are not considered hif^hly 
danf^erous. Otherwise, only the tiper snake of 
southern Australia has been reported to climb 
into low bushes. There are no highly specialized 
dangerous tree snakes such as the mambas of 
Africa or the tree viiiers of southeast Asia and 
tropical America. There -ah' many .species of 
burrowing elapids in Australia, but none appears 
to be highly dangerous. 


1. A. Tail paddle-shaped 2 

B. Tail not paddle-.shaped 3 

•2. A. Xo enlarged crown shields NP* 

B. At least some eidarged crown shields Sea snakes 

(.we Chapter VIII) 

.3. A. Dorsal scales smooth; no trace of a keel 6 

B. Dorsal scales with a distinct keel 4 

4. A. Pjve sei)arated from upper labials by a row of 

small subocular scales; pupil elliptical Acanfhophifi 

B. Eye touching upper labials; pupil round 5 

5. A. Dorsal scales roughly keeled; fewer than 220 

ventrals Tropidechis 

B. Dorsal scales with a low keel ; more than 220 

ventrals Oxytirmms 

6. A. ^'entrals extend full width of belly 7 

B. Ventrals extend half the width of the belly or less NP 

7. A. Ventrals with a lateral keel and notch Floplocephahis 

B. Ventrals rounded; no keel or notch 8 

8. A. Eye with a round pupil 12 

B. Eye with an elliptical pupil 9 

9. A. Only six lower labials Apistocalanms 

B. Seven or more lower labials 10 

10. A. Anal plate divided; subcaudals paired throughout Asptdomorphus 

11 Anal plate entire; at least some subcaudals single 11 

11. A. More than 18 rows of dorsals, slightly oblique at 

midbody Brrichi/aspi-i 

B. Fewer than 18 rows of dorsals, not oblique at 

midbody Denisonia 

*NP — Non poisonous 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 

KEY TO GENERA (continued) 

12. A. Eye small ; its length considerably less than its dis- 

tance from lip 18 

B. Eye moderate to large, its length about equal to or 

more than distance to lip 13 

13. A. First row of dorsals conspicuously broader than 

adjacent row ; dorsal count 17 posteriorly, 17 or 

19 at midbody Psevdechis 

B. First row not conspicuously broader; if dorsal 

count 17 posteriorly, more than 19 at midbody 14 

14. A. At least some of subcaudals paired 17 

B. All of subcaudals single 15 

15. A. Body very short (fewer than 150 ventrals) and 

rather stout Elapognathus 

B. Body moderately long (more than 150 ventrals) 

and rather slender 16 

16. A. Frontal long, 1.5 to 2 times longer than broad; 

dorsals not oblique Denisonia 

B. Frontal short, almost as wide as long; dorsals dis- 
tinctly oblique Notechis 

17. A. More than 227 ventrals Oxyuranus 

B. Fewer than 228 ventrals Demansia 

18. A. Body moderate to slender (fewer than 227 ventrals) 21 

B. Body exceedingly long and slender (more than 226 

ventrals) 19 

19. A. A preocular present; 2 to 3 small teeth following 

fangs after an interspace (Australia) Vermicella 

B. Xo preocular; 4 to 5 teeth of decreasing size follow- 
ing fang without an interspace (New Guinea) 20 

20. A. A long terminal spine which is keeled above; inter- 

nasals distinct Toxicocalamus 

B. Terminal spine obtuse, not keeled ; internasals fused 

with prefrontals Vltrocalamus 

21. A. Nasal in contact with preocular 24 

B. Nasal separated from preocular (if present) by 

prefrontal 22 

22. A. Fewer than 156 ventrals (Fiji) Ogmodon 

B. More than 155 ventrals (Australia, Solomons) 23 

23. A. Nasal barely touches 2nd labial GJyphodon 

B. Nasal extends well over 2nd labial Parapistocalamus 

24. A. Rostral broad and free at sides; subcaudals single__ Rhinoplocephalus 
B. Rostral not free at sides; subcaudals paired 25 

25. A. Tail very short, fewer than 31 subcaudals (Aus- 

tralia) 26 

B. Tail longer, more than 30 subcaudals (New Guinea 

and the Solomon Islands) Micropechis 

26. A. Rostral large and shovel-shaped, with a sharp edge Brachyuroph'is 

B. Rostral without a sharp edge 27 

27. A. Nasal in contact Avith first three upper labials Rhynchoelaps 

B. Nasal in contact with first two labials only Vermicella 


foiJOflouj Snaiios o^ the World 


ELAPIDAE: Genui Acanlbophis Daudin, 1803. 
1 Viilh ;ul(li'rs. 

'IVo spoilos arc ciirrfiilly iTcnKiilzt'd. Otii' i>f llirsc, 
I. antunliriiK. rank's widely ovit tlu- rcjilim ; the cillicr, 
.1. pi/rrliiiit. Is lltllt' kiidwii and Is rest rli lid I" IIh' 
ilestM-t arons i>f ciMilnil and wostciii AustiMlia. I. an- 
tiirclirii.i is imo of tho iiiust deadly ;ls will M^ mie cil' 
the iiiKsl xvidesiiread snakes of the ic^tiim. 

Ih/iiiiliiin: Head broad, thitleiied. and dislhul Irniu 
nock: a distinct lanlluis nislialis. I'.ody ililiU and 
depressed; tail slnn-t with a Ion;: leiininal s|ilne. 

Eyes moderate in size: pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on crown, somewlrit 
riuiirliened wilh raised edjies : supraoculars broad, over- 
lianiiin^ eye. Kye seimraled fmni supralabials by a row 
ot small suboculars. 

Body scales: Dorsals distindly keeled and pointed, 
in 21-23 rows at midbody. \'entrals 11,S i;{." ; anal plate 
entire: subcaudals mostly single, sonie Icrniinal (jnes 
paired. 40-32: a terminal sjiine made up of several 

Maxillary teeth: Two lonj; recurved l'anf;s followed. 
after an interspace, by 2-3 small teeth. 

Death Adder, Acanthophh anfarcficiis (Shaw). 

Idviitificatidii: Extremely viperlike in appearance. 
Average lensjth IS to 24 inches: record is 3G inches. 

Body color gray, brown, reddish, or yellowish with 
a more or less distinct pattern of irregular narrow dark 
crossbands. A pair of diverginjr dark markings on 
top of head. The long spine at the end of the tail is 
light yellowish or flesh-colored. 

Dixlribulion: Found throughout Australia except for 
the central desert regions, on Melville Island and New 

Figure 101. — Death Adder, Acanthophis antarcticus. 
The most viperlike of all Australian elapid snakes. 
Photo by W. A. Pluemer. National Audubon Society. 

(Jidnea. and on llie nearby Islands of .\iu. Ceram. 
IlaruUu. Kci. iibi. |||(. Soulbern Islands, and Tiinunbar. 
In .Vuslralia it usually Inhabits dry scrub areas but 
leas been found also In rain forest regions In Ceram and 
.\ew' (Juine;i. 

liiniiuUn: 'I'lie dcalb adilci- is aiilve mainly at night 
anil lends lo be sluggish duilnir I be day. II often con- 
ceals ilself in sand or dust and generally defends itself 
rather than iilieal from such concealment. When dis- 
lurbeil il llallens I be entire bod.v and strikes out with 
viperlikc speed, .\llliougli its fangs are short as com- 
liaiiil Willi lliose of a vi])er, they are ipiite long for an 
clapiil. II is an extremely dangerous simke and without 
Irealmenl with specific aniivenin the mortality rate has 
averaged about ."0 iiercenl. 

AiUiv<>nin i i)c.ilh .Xdiler" i is produced only by the 
Commonweallb Scrum Laboratories of .\uslralia. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Apis/oca/amus Boulenger, 1898. 

Five species are recognized, all in New Guinea. They 
are small burrowing snakes with poorly-defined fangs. 
Only one il. <innulis) attains a length of over 2 feet; 
it is know n to grow to 37 inches. None is believed to be 
highly dangerous, though any elapid more than 2 feet 
long should be treated with respect. 

Urflniliiiii : Head small, somewhat flattened, and not 
distinct from body: body slender; tail short with distinct 
ternunal spine which has a dorsal keel. 

Eyes very small : puiiils vertically elliptical. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on crown, supraoculars 
short, parietals long. Single preocular in contact with 
nasal or narrowly separated from it by second supra- 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth in 1.5 rows throughout 
body. N'enlials 173 22<i: anal divided lentire in one 
species. .1. UniiiiKjtiini) ; subcaudals usually paired (a 
few or all occasionally single), 22-.j0. 

Maxillary teeth : Two small fangs followed, without 
an interspace, by 3— t teeth that gradually decrease in 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Aspidomorpbus Fitzinger, 1843. 
Cfowiied snakes. 

Eight species are known. Two of these inhabit New 
Guinea and neighboring islands, the others are restricted 
to Australia. All are small : the largest attains a length 
of about 30 inches. None is considered dangerous to 

nrflnitiiin: Head flattened and distinct from neck; 
body moderately slender to stout ; tail relatively short, 
without an elongated spine. 

Eyes small; pupils vertically elliptical in most; round 
in .4. miKlhrii (Schlegel). 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 

Head scales : The usual 9 on crown, supraoculars 
long ; preocular generally in contact with nasal. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 15 rows through- 
out body or in 17 rows which may be reduced to lo jinste- 
riorly. Ventrals 139-203 ; anal plate divided ; subcau- 
dals paired throughout, 25-62. 

Maxillary teeth : Two large fangs followed, after 
a wide interspace, by 7-10 small teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Brachyaspis Boulenger, 1896. 

The single, little-known species (li. curta) is found 
in southwestern Australia. It Is small, attaining a 
length of about 20 inches, and is capable of delivering 
a very i)ainful, though not a lethal, bite. 

Definition: Head large and distinct from the neck; 
an obtuse canthus r(jstralis. Body short and relatively 
stout ; tail short. 

Eyes small : pupils vertically elliptical. 

Head .scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; frontal 
long and broader than supraoculars. Xasal usually in 
contact with preocular, but may be narrowly separated 
from it by prefrontal. 

Body scales: Dorsals smnoili in 111 slightly obli(iue 
rows at midbody reduced to l.'i or 13 posteriorly. Ven- 
trals, 12.8-138; anal plate entire; subcaudals single, ZO- 

Maxillary teeth : Two large fangs followed, after an 
interspace, by 2-5 small teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Brachyurophis GiJnther, 1863. 
Girdled siuikes. 

Seven species are currently recognized. They inhabit 
most of Australia except for the Inunid southeaslern 
coastal regions. All are small sand-dwelling, burrowing 
species and are not believed to be dangerous. 

Definition: Head short and not distinct from neck; 
snout distinctly pointed ; no canthus rostralis. Body 
moderatel.v slender with little taper; tail .short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; rostral 
shovel-like with sharp anterior edge and with an angn- 
late rear edge that partly divides interna.sals. Later- 
ally, nasal in contact with preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth. In lii-17 nonoblique 
rows at midbody. Ventrals 133-170 ; anal plate divided ; 
subcaudals paired. 17-27. 

Maxillary teeth : Two moderately large fangs with 
external groove followed, after an interspace, by a single 
small tooth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Demons/a Gray, 1842. 
Brown snakes and wliip snakes. 

Six species are currently recognized, two of which 
are highly dangerous to man. Both D. trxtilifi and D. 

olivacea are found in southeastern Xew Guinea as well 
as on mainland Australia ; the latter occurs also on 
Melville Island. The other species are restricted to 
mainland Australia. 

Definition: Head elongate with a distinct canthus 
rostralis, only slightly distinct from neck. Body slender 
and racerlike ; tail long and ta|)ering. 

Eyes large; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; frontal 
long and narrow. Laterally, nasal in contact with 
single preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 15-21 rows at mid- 
body, more anteriorly and fewer posteriorly. Ventrals 
167-225 ; anal plate divided ; subcaudals jiaired through- 
out, 44-92. 

Maxillary teeth : Two relatively short fangs followed, 
after an intersiiace. by 8-13 small teeth. 

Black Whip Snake, Demansia olivacea (Gray). 

UUntifieation: This snake superficially re.sembles the 
harmless racers and whip snakes of North America and 
Eurasia. However, the short snout, with only two 
scales between nostril and eye, warns of its elapid rela- 
tionship. Adults average 4 to 5 feet; occasional indi- 
viduals exceed C feet. 

Rich brown above, fading to a greenish-blue under- 
neath. Each body scale edged with bhick ; skin between 
scales with many irregular light stipiile marks. A dark 
collar sometimes present ; the entire coloration becomes 
darker toward the tail. Head sometimes spotted, with 
or without light markings on sides. 

Dorsals in 15 rows at midbody ; ventrals 180-200 ; 
subcaudals 09-105. 

Distribution: Found in open sandy areas of northern 
Australia, southeastern Xew Guinea, and on Melville 

Remarks: The black whip snake is active during the 
day. It Is fast-moving and normally inoffensive. Or- 
dinarily it will flee if able. However, if injured or cor- 
nered it will defend itself fiercely and may inflict several 
bites in rapid succession. The bite of a large individual 
is iiresumed to be dangerous. 

A polyvalent antivenin ("Brown Snake") is made for 
this group of snakes by the Commonwealth Serum La- 
boratories of Australia. 

Australian Brown Snake, DemauMa textUis (Du- 
meril, Bibrou and Diinieril). 

Identifieatiim: Head narrow and deep, slightly dis- 
tinct from neck. Adult snakes average 5 to 6 feet ; 
record length about 7 feet. 

Body color almost any shade of brown, ranging from 
light grayish tan. through reddish brown, to dark brown. 
Juveniles may have a series of distinct narrow cross- 
bands (about >V> on body. 15 on tail I plus a dark collar. 
Most adults almost unicolor above. Many have con- 
spicuous dark spots or blotches on the cream, gray, or 
yellowish belly. 

Dorsals in 17-19 rows at midlMnly: ventrals 184-225; 
subcaudals 45-75. 


Poisonous Snakes of iho World 

Disti iliiitiiiii: Widely illslrilmlfil llirnUKli lilt- drier 
an-us of Avistriillii. iiiiil In fiisli-rii New (Jiiliicii. Kmiiiil 
ill wlii'iit Holds itiid rli i> tli'Ids, iiiiil In sonic ol' llic ini 
Killed lands. 


FioVRE 102. — Australian Brown Snake, Deniansia tex- 
tiUs. This fast-nioviiitf snake is iirotiably resiumsible 
for more deaths in Australia than any other snake. 
Photo by Eric Worrell. 

Remarks: This is a fast-moving and agile snake that 
becomes aggressive if disturbed. "When aroused it flat- 
tens its neck and raises it from the ground in an S- 
shaped loop. Large individuals should be treated with 
respect. Due to its common occurrence and to.xic venom, 
it may be responsible for more deaths than any other 
Australian snake. It will strike repeatedly if antagon- 

An antivenin for this group of snakes ("Brown 
Snake") is produced by the rommonwealth Serum La- 
boratories of Australia. "Taipan" antivenin, also pro- 
duced by Commonwealth, may be used also. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Denisonio KrefFt, 1869. 

AuHtialian cojuM'iheads and ornamental snakes. 

Nineteen species are recognized by Klemmer (19G3: 
290-204) ; except for a single species, they are all Au- 
stralian. The interrelations of the snakes of this genus 
are not clear and Worrell (1963: 190, 192) does not 
believe that all belong to the same genus. Only 2 of 
the species apiiear to be highly dangerous. One of these 
is fotuid in southeastern Australia and Tasmania iD. 
superba), the other (Z). par) in the Solomon Islands. 

Dffhiiliiiii: ileiid sniiill lo niodenile In sl/.i> iiiid n»l 

disllnci or only sllglilly disllnci fr Ilie neck. A fairly 

ilisliiicl c-iiiilliiis III some spi'cies. relatively iiidisllnct 
In others, Hody nioderalely stout lo relallvely slender; 
tail short. 

Eyes moderate in size; pupils vertically elliptical In 
some, round in others. 

Head scales: The typical 9 on the crown, frontal 
distinclly longer I I..", to '_' limes) than broad. Laterally, 
nasal In contact wllli |ireociilar. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in 1,5-17 rows at mid- 
body, fewer iiosleriorly. \'entrals 129-1!M ; anal plate 
entire; suhcaudals single in most species, paired in D. 
par icoodfordii of the Solomons, 2r)-.''(0. 

Maxillary teeth: Two short fangs followed, after an 
interspace, by 3-10 small teeth. 

Solomons Copperhead, Denisonia par (Boulen- 

IrlcitlificatiDii: Body moderately slender, slightly com- 
pressed ; head somewhat flattened, distinct from neck. 
.Vdiilts average approximately .'^0 inches in length; 
record length a lillle more than .30 inches. 

Body with a lustrous sheen. The color varies from 
sandy-brown through pink, reddish, and gray, to almost 
unicolor black. Faint, irregular crossbars may be visible 
but usually coloration is uniform with scale edges darker 
than centers. 

Eyes miMlerate in size; impils roniul or subelliptic. 

Dorsals in 17 rows at midbody, reduced to 15 poste- 
riorly. Ventrals 104-181; anal plate divided or entire; 
suhcaudals 38-53, single (D. p. pur) or paired (D. par 

Distrihiitioti: Widespread in the Solomon Islands; 
not yet reported from Bougainville, Choiseul, or the is- 
lands south of Malaita and CJuadalcanal. Found in 
rain forest, grasslands, and cocoaiiiit plantations. 

flciiturks: Two other elapid snakes occur in the 
Solomons. D. par differs from Parapisfocalamtis hedi- 
gcri (so far known only from Bougainville) In having 
a longer tail (more than 37 suhcaudals) and 2 postocu- 
lars; from Micropechis elapoides in having fewer ven- 
trals (less than 18.5). See Williams and Parker (1964) 
for additional features. 

This snake is considered potentially dangerous but 
nothing has been recorded on the effects of its bite. 

Australian Copperhead, Deni-'ionia superha (Giin- 

Idcntifiralioii: Body moderately stout with short tail. 
Head flat and fairly broad, only slightly distinct from 
neck. Adult length averages 4 to 5 feet ; record length 
(a Tasmanian specimen) about 6 feet. 

Body color extremely variable. Coppery or reddish 
brown over much of its range ; blackish or reddish with 
an obscure dark stripe down back in Blue Mountain 
region; a black back with yellowish or whitish sides 
in Bowral region. Sometimes (in Queensland) entirely 
black. Coloration of labial scales distinctive in Alpine 
specimens : each scale bicolored, upper and rear parts 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 

dark, lower and frunt i)aits edged with ()bli(iue dash of 
cream color. 

Eyes with round pupil. 

Dorsals in 15 rows at midbody ; ventrals 1-15-160; 
40-50 single subcaudals. 

Distribution: Tasmania and the southern coastal 
region of Australia. Mainly an inhabitant of coastal 
mountain swamps ; found in area from Victoria to New- 
England ranges and at Mount Gambler and Kangaroo 
Island, South Australia. 

Remarks: This is one of the best known of the 
venomous snakes of southern Australia. It is a dan- 
gerous but rather sluggish and inoffensive snake. It is 
unlikely to bite unless stepped on or picked up. Few 
l)ites are reported, but they have been serious. 

"Tiger Snake" antivenin is commonly u.sed for treat- 
ment of its bite. This is manufacttired by the Common- 
wealth Serum Laboratories of Australia. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Elapognafhus Boulenger, 1896. 

Little l)rown snake. 

The genus contains a single, little-known .species (E. 
minor) that grows to a length of about 18 inches. It 
is found only in the southwestern section of Western 
Australia and is not considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head small and only sliglitly distinct 
from neck. Body cylindrical and moderately stout ; tail 
moderate in length. 

Eyes rather large; pupils round. 

Head scales ; The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
the long nasal is in contact with the single preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth but finely striated. In 
15 rows at midbody; fewer (13) posteriorly. Ventrals 
120-l.'i0 : anal plate entire ; subcaudals single, 52-68. 

Maxillary teeth: Two moderately large fangs; no 
other teeth on the bone. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Glyphodon GiJnther, 1858. 
Austral i;in collafed snakes. 

Three species are recognized. One (O. tristis) is 
found in southeastern New Guinea and some of the 
nearby islands in addition to the mainland of Australia ; 
the others are restricted to Australia. One species 
grows to a length of ,S feet, but all reportedly refuse 
to bite even when teased, and are not considered dan- 

Definition: Head small and slightly distinct from 
neck; no cantlius rostralis. Body cylindrical and mod- 
erately slender ; tail rather short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
the prefrontal extends down to separate the nasal from 
the preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth in 1.5-21 rows at mid- 
body ; species with 15 or 17 rows at midbody show no 
reduction posteriorly. Ventrals 163-190; anal plate di- 

vided; subcaudals paired (a few anterior ones single in 
a single specimen), 28-52. 

ilaxillary teetii : Two large fangs followed, after 
an interspace, by 6-10 small teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Hoplocephalus Wagler, 1830. 
Australian hroad-lieaded snakes. 

Three species are currently recognized ; all are Aus- 
tralian. They appear to be the only Australian elapid 
snakes that are specialized for arboreal life. Only one 
of the species, H. hungaroidcs. attains a large enough 
size to be a danger, though pmbably the others also can 
deliver a painful bite. 

Definition: Head broad and distinct from the slender 
neck; no canthus rostralis. Body relatively slender; 
tail moderately long. 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The normal 9 on the crown ; frontal 
rather long. Laterall.v, nasal in contact with preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 21 rows at midbody, 
fewer posteriorly. Ventrals laterally angulate and 
notched (a typical indication of a treesnake), 210-227; 
anal plate entire; subcaudals single, 40-60. 

Maxillary teeth : Two short fangs followed, after an 
interspace, by 4 snmll teeth. 

Remarks: Three genera of harmless colubrid tree 
snakes also occur in Australia. All may be distin- 
guished from Iloploeephahis by a loreal scale, (giving 
3 s<ales between nostril and eye) and a longer tail 
(more than HO subcaudals. all paireii). 

Australian Yellow-spotted Snake. Hoplocephalus 
fjtniffaroidcs (I5oie). 

Itlentifieutinn: The broad liead and eyes with round- 
pupils ; angulated, keeled, and notched ventral scutes, 
and moderately long tail distinguish this snake. Adults 
average 3 to 4 feet in length ; some individuals attain 
a length of 5 feet. 

Grouud color black or dark brown. Numerous con- 
spicuous yellow spots form irregular crossbands or a 
broken network over the body. Tail solid black or 
almost so. 

Dorsal scales in 21 rows at midbody; 214-221 ventrals; 
40-00 subcaudals. 

Distribution: Australia: the mountains and coastal 
regions of southern Queensland and New South Wales. 

Remarks: This snake is active mainly at night. It 
is often found in trees and on rocky slopes. It is said 
to be aggressive and will attack with little provocation. 

The reported bites have been inflicted by small (3- 
foot) individuals. They caused violent headaches with 
vomiting ; both vision and breathing were affected. In 
one case the victim hemorrhaged from the gums and had 
local pain, di.scoloration. and .swelling that persisted for 
several days. The bite of a large snake might be lethal. 

No specific antivenin is available for this group of 
snakes, but "Tiger Snake" antivenin (Commonwealth) 
is recommended for use. 


Poiionous Snaket of ihe World 

ElAPIDAE; Genus Micropechis Boulenger, 1896. 
I'lU'irK' I'onil snakes. 

Two s|)t'>li's iiri' ciirrcnlly rt"ciiKnl/.o(l. Ono of 
occurs on Now (iiiiiioa iiiul some of Its offshore islands; 
tho otluT, Mivroi>cchis ctapoiilcx ( Hoiili'iiKt'r), willi a 
distinct blinded pattern, is found on Floridii, Giuuia- 
canal. .Maiaita and Ysaliel Islands in tlio Solomons. 
There are few reports of hites from either of these 
species. However, they attain lengths of ,"> feet and arc 
considered dangerous. 

Diftiiiliiin: Head fairly distinct front necl< ; snout 
pointed. Hody moderately stout, ( ylindrical ; tail short. 

Eyes very small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; rostral 
broad and obtusely jiointcd. Laterally, nasal in con- 
tact with preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth in 15-17 rows through- 
out body. Ventrals 17.S-223 ; anal plate entire or di- 
vided; subcaudals generally paired (a few occasionally 
entire) 35-55. 

Maxillary teeth : Two moderately large fangs fol- 
lowed, after an interspace, by 3 small teeth. 

Ikaheka Snake. Micropechis ikaheJca f Lesson). 

Identification: Adults average between 3 and 4 feet 
in length ; occasional individuals attain lengths of 5 

Body coloration made up of yellow (or tan) and black 
(or brown) scales. Black scales roughly arranged in 
irregular crossbands but each is edged with yellow — 
sometimes to the extent that the pattern is lost. In 
specimens from eastern New Guinea the pattern may 
be lost on the anterior one-third of the body which Is 
brown, but the crossbands persist posteriorly. Belly 
color yellow with some scutes edged with black. 

Dorsals smooth and glossy, in 15 rows at midbody. 
Ventrals 178-223 ; 37-55 subcaudals. 

Distribution: New Guinea and nearby islands; Aru, 
Batanta, Mefoor, Mios Num, Misool, Jobi, Mansinam, 
and Valise. 

Retnarks: This appears to be the only kind of small- 
eyed burrowing .snake in the Australian-New Guinea re- 
gion that grows to a size large enough to be a possible 
hazard. Little seems to be known of its habits ; it is 
apparently a nocturnal or a burrowing species that is 
seldom seen out during the day. However, at least one 
death has been reported from its bite. "Tiger Snake" 
antlvenin (Commonwealth Serum Laboratories of Au- 
tralia) has been recommended (E. Worrell) for treat- 
ment of envenomation from this snake. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Notechis Boulenger, 1896. 
Australian tiger snake. 

A single species. X. srntatiis. is currently recognized; 
it has several geograjihic races and is found in southern 
Australia and some of the fiffshore islands. It possesses 
one of the most toxic venoms known in snakes. 

Definition: Head relatively broad, flattened, and 

moderately dlstliut from the neck; a distinct canlhus 
loslralls. Itody relatively sloiil, llnlleMi'd dorsoven- 
I rally ; tail rather short. 

FioriiK 1(«. — A Ulack Tiger Snake. Xotcrliix. Although 
only one species of tiger snalce is recognized by most 
workers. Eric Worrell believes these black forms to 
be a distinct species (Xotcchis aler). Photo by Eric 

Eyes moderate in size ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual on the crown ; frontal 
wide and shield-shaped. Laterally, nasal in contact 
with preocular. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth in 17-20 oblique rows 
at midbody; fewer posteriorly. Ventrals ir>0-l,'<4; anal 
plate entire; subcaudals single, 43-!39. 

Maxillary teeth: Two rather long fangs followed, 
after an interspace, by 3-5 small teeth. 

Australian Tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus (Pet- 

Idcntifirution: Adult snakes are 4 to 5 feet long in 
most parts of the range, but they may exceed 6 feet in 
Victoria and Tasmania. A record length of 8 feet was 
reported for a specimen from Chappell Island. 

Figure 104. — Australian Tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus. 
The most dangerous snake of southern Australia. 
Photo by Isabelle Hunt Conant. (See also fig. 103) 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 

Groiiml color viiiies fnim yellowish, greenish-gray, 
orange, and brown to black. The most common jiattern 
is a creamy-yellow groiuul color banded with gray. 
Most individuals show a large number of narrow dark 
bands but those with dark ground colors may be almost 

Dorsal scales with pointed tips. 

Distribution: Tasmania and southern Australia from 
the border of Queensland to the coastal areas of South 
Australia. This species inhabits wet areas with rocks 
and lirush. 

/{(marks: The tiger snake is the most dangerous 
snake of southern Australia. It is active at night and 
not aggressive until molested. The greatest danger 
appears to be from stepping on the snake in the dark. 
Often there are few local effects from the bite, but the 
■sy.steniic effects are swift and grave. 

A specific antivenin (Tiger Snake) is produced by the 
Conunonwealth Serum I>aboratories of Australia. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Ogmodon Peters, 1865. 
Fiji snake. 

A single species, 0. vitianiis Peters, is known from 
Viti Levu and perhaps from other islands of the Fiji 
grou]). It is a small burrowing snake; reported lengths 
are under 20 inches. It is not believed to be a dangerous 

Dvfuiitiiin: Head small and not distinct from neck; 
no canthus rostralis; snout pointed. Body cylindrical 
and moderately slender ; tail short. 

Eyes small ; pupils round. 

Head scales ; The usual 9 on the crown ; internasals 
very small, prefrontals very large and in contact with 
eye. Laterally, nasal fused to first upper labial ; small 

Figure IO.j. — Head Scales of Fiji Snake. Ogmodon viti- 
aniis. The top of the third upper labial is often 
seiiarated as a preocular. Drawing by Samuel B. 

preocular elongate, not in contact with nasal, commonly 
fused with third upper labial. 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in 17 rows throughout 
body. Ventrals 139-1.j2 ; anal plate divided; subcaudals 
paired, 27-38. 

Maxillary teeth : Two small fangs with external 
grooves followed, without an interspace, by 5-6 grooved 
teeth that gradually decrease in length toward the rear. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Oxyuranus Kinghorn, 1923. 



A single si>e<-ies, O. scntrllatiix. is ro<-ognized : it is 
found in northern Australia and southeastern Xew 
Guinea. The taipan reportedly reaches a length of 11 
feet. With its long fangs and large supply of very toxic 
venom, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous 
snakes living today. 

Definition: Head elongate and narrow but distinct 

FiGiRF. lOG. — Taipan. Oj-yuranus scutcUatus. The great 
size and toxic venom make this snake, iiotentially. one 
of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Photo 
by Eric 'Worrell. 

from neck; a distinct canthus rostralis. Body elongate 
ami cylindrical ; a moderately long tapering tail. 

Eyes large ; pujiils round. 

Head scales: The usual 9 on the crown. Laterally, 
na.sal in contact with preocular. 

Body scales: Dorsals with low but distinct keels, 
in 21-23 rows at midbody, reduced to 17 posteriorly. 
Ventrals 230-247; anal plate entire; subcaudals 50-72, 
all paired. 

Maxillary teeth : Two long recurved fangs followed, 
after an interspace, by 2-3 small teeth. 

Taipan, Oxyuramix ficitfeUatuft (Peters). 

Iilintification: Adult taipans average C to 7 feet in 
length : a record specimen was 11 feet long. 

Body color is co|)i)ery or dark brown in Australian 
specimens, grayish-black with a reddish-orange stripe 
along the rear part of the body in Xew Guinea types. 


Poisonoui Snakoi of the World 

Tlu' Nklii lu'lwccn till- scnlcs Is wlilliv Ilclly Is yellow, 
iiiul sihtKUmI »llh <>riint:i' In .Viislnilliiti Niiiikrs. 

Tilt* sciiU-s iirt' MM (Icsi'I'IIiimI In llii' K<'>><>rl(' (li-llnillnn. 

Dintrihutiiin: The lni|iiin liiliiililts KnisHlnnds anil 
MAviiiinnh iirciiH In niirtli«>rn Anslrallii, Melville Islnnd, 
and coastal Now (ininca frmn I lie Fly Ulver eastward to 
the vU'lnlty of Port Moresliy. It appears to be moat 
abiiriilant around rocks an<l bonldcrs. wliere It lives in 
rodent bnrrows. 

litniarks: The tiiipiin is iicllvc dnrinu dnyllj:lit hours 
and also on hot niclits. It will usually attempt to es- 
cape If disturbed, but may become a dangerous adver- 
sary If seriously threatened. When provoked it flattens 
Its bend, compre.sses the neck vertically, and expands 
the body so that the white skin shows between the 
.scales. Adoptinn a defensive attitude of loose loops, it 
arches part of the body oft" the ground and waves its tail. 
It then attacks so swiftly and suddenly that the victim 
may be bitten several times before he can defend himself 
or e.scape. 

This larse snake lias faiiKs that are very long for an 
elapid (over '•; inch in a 7 foot individual) and its 
venom is one of the most toxic known. Few people sur- 
vived its bite before a special antivenin was available. 

A specific antivenin ("Taipan") is now produced by 
the Commonwealth Serum Lalxiratories of Australia. 

lii/liiiliiiii: Head rnlher eloiiKale, only sllKlilly dis- 
tinct from Mci'k : a dlsllmt cniilhiis roslnilis. Itudy 
depressed niiil iiindci iitcly slender; tail iModciiitc in 

KyeH moderate in size; pupils round. 

Head scales: The usual !) on the crown. Laterally, 
nasal In contact with preociilar. 

Hody scales: Dor.sals smooth and glossy, in 17 21 
rows at midbody. reduced to 17 posteriorly. Ventrals 
l.SO-i;.'{0; anal plate divided; anterior subcaudals usually 
entire, posterior ones paired, 48-70. 

Maxillary teeth : Two .short fangs followed, after an 
intersimce, by 3 ft small teeth. 

Australian Mulga Snake, Pseudechis australis 

Identification: Adult snakes usually measure 5 to 6 
feet ; a record specimen was "over 9 feet in length." 

Body color copper brown. I'sually each scale has a 
red or orange tij) and a lighter center, giving a reticu- 
lated pattern. Helly ireani or yellowish with faint 
oranges blotches. 

Dorsal scales in 17 rows throughout body. There are 
180-220 ventrals ; 50-70 subcaudals, of which about the 
first 30 are entire, the remainder paired. (The two 
known spe<iiiiens from New (Jiiinea have all I'litire.) 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Parapisfocalamus Roux, 1934. 
Hediger's snake. 

A single species, /'. Itcdiyrri Roux, is known from 
Bougainville Island. Solomons group. It is a small 
burrowing snake; the largest known specimen is about 
20 inches in length. It is not believed to be a dan- 
gerous species. 

Definition: Head small and not distinct from neck; 
no canthus rostralis ; snout conspicuously blunted. 
Bod.v cylindrical and moderately slender ; tail short. 

Eyes very small : pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; frontal 
and prefrontals very broad ; rostral broad. Laterally, 
preocular present or fused with prefrontal ; if present 
preocular in contact with nasal or separated from It 
by prefrontal. 

Bod.v scales: Dorsals smooth, in 15 rows throughout 
body. Ventrals l.")9-169; anal i)late divided or entire; 
subcaudals paired. .32-35. 

Maxillary teeth : Two fangs of moderate size ; no 
other teeth on maxillary bone. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Pseuc/ech/s Wagler, 1830. 
Aiistialiaii black snakes and mulga snakes. 

Four species are recognized. Three are Australian 
but one of these (P. aiixlralin) also occurs in south- 
eastern Xew Guinea. .Vnother species. P. i)ai>iia>iiis, 
is found only in southeastern Xew Guinea and some of 
the offshore islands. Both of these species are dan- 













^^ . 




Figure 107. — Australian Mulga Snake, Pseudechis au- 
stralis. Photo by Eric Worrell. 

Distribution: This snake is an inhabitant of the dry 
areas In the northern half of Australia, southern New 
Guinea, and Melville Island. 

Remarks: This large brown snake is often mistaken 
for the taipan ; however, its perfectly smooth scales and 
fewer ventrals distinguish it from the latter. 

The mulga snake is large and relatively aggressive, 
and will defend Itself if held or cornered, flattening the 
body and neck and striking repeatedly. It will hold on 
when it bites and chews hard, thus Injecting more 
venom. However, it does not attack unless provoked 
and its venom rarely causes death. 

No specific antivenin is produced but Taipan, Tiger 
Snake or Papuan Black Snake antivenins are used in 
treatment ; they are all produced by the Commonwealth 
Serum Laboratories of Australia. 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 

Papuan Black Snake, Pseudechi^ pupuanus Peters 
and Doriu. 

Identification: Adults are 5 to 7 feet in length. 

Body color black or brown, both above and below. 
Chin whitish. There is no distinct color pattern. 

Dorsal scales in 19-21 rows at midbody, 17 rows 
posteriorly. Ventrals 216-226; subcaudals 49-58, of 
which the first 21-38 are single, the posterior ones 

Dittrihiition: Found only in southeastern Xew Gui- 
nea, Frederick-Hendrik Island, and Yule Lsland. 

licmarks: This snake is closely related to the Au- 
stralian mulga snake. It is active during the day. 
Although little is known of its habits, it has a more 
toxic venom than its relatives. 

A specific antivenin ("I'apuan IJlack Snake") is pro- 
duced by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories of 

Red-bellied Black Snake. Pxeudech'is porphyrlaciis 

Identification: The average adult size is ii to 6 feet; 

record Icngtli .Tbout 7 feet. 

Figure 108. — Red-bellied Black Snake, Pscudcchis por- 
pliyriaciix. Probably the best known of the i)oi,s()n()Us 
snakes of Australia. Photo by Eric Worrell. 

Body color w luiiform glossy imrplish-black above, 
and red, pink, or bright orange below. 

Dorsal scales in 17 rows throughout body. Ventrals 
180-210; 48-66 subcaudals, of which the first 5-20 are 
usually single, the remainder paired. 

Distribution: Swamps, coastal areas, and forested 
regions of eastern and southern Australia (Queensland, 
Xew South Wales. Victoria, and South Australia). It 
is a good swimmer and is often seen crossing rivers and 

licmarVa: This is one of the most common and best 
known of the venomous snakes of Australia. It is 
active during the day. It is shy and will avoid human 
contact if given the ojjportunity. However, it will de- 
fend itself with a niimber of feinted strikes if cornered. 
Although it bites only under considerable provocation, 
more bites are recorded for this snake than for any 
other Australian snake. Less than one percent of the 
bites are fatal, however, and it is not generally con- 
sidered a deadly snake. 

"Tiger Snake" antivenin, iiroduccd by the Common- 
wealth Serum Laboratories of Australia, is used in the 
treatment for its bite. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus fihinop/ocep/ia/us, Muller, 1885. 
Miiller's snake. 

A single species, R. hicolor Muller, is known from 
southern Western Australia. It is small, up to about 
16 inches in length, and is not believed to be dangerous. 
Almost nothing is known of its habits. 

Definition: Head small and only 
from neck ; snout broad and flattened, 
and moderately slender ; tail short. 

Eyes small : pupils round. 

Head .scales: Inlernasals absent, giving 7 instead 
of the usual 9 scales on the crown ; rostral very broad 
and slightly free from the other scales on the sides. 
Laterally, nasal in contact with preocular (with the 
lower preocular when there are two). 

Body scales : Dorsals smooth, in l.T rows at mid- 
body ; reduced to 13 posteriorly. Ventrals 149-159 ; anal 
plate entire: subcaudals single, 28-34. 

Maxillary teeth : Two fangs of moderate size fol- 
lowed, after an interspace, by 2-4 small teeth. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Rhync/ioe/ops Jan, 1858. 
l>escit banded snake. 

Two species are currently recognized : both inhabit 
the dry regions of Australia. Neither attains a length 
of more than 16 inches ; they are not considered dan- 
gerous to man. 

Definition: Head small, flattened above but not dis- 
tinct from neck: snout prominent, with obtusely angular 
edge: canthus rostralis indistinct. Body cylindrical, 
moderately slender ; tail short. 

Eyes small : pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 on the crown ; rostral 
broad, obtusely angulate posteriorly ; frontal long, much 

slightly distinct 
Body cylindrical 


Poijonous Snokos of iho World 

hrniiilfr lliiiii .sii|irii>>i'iiliii's. I.iili'iiillv. iiiimiI \i>\iti. I<< 
.niiiail Willi in'coiiiliir. 

Hotly si'Ult'S : l><>r.<ialN niiiooIIi, hi !.'■ iioimbliiim- nnvs 
llii'i>imlii>ul liiuly. Vciilriils lf_'-l:;(l; aiiiil pliiti- divided: 
siilii'iiiiilals imli'cil, 1. "►■_'">. 

MM\illMiy Iri'lh: 'I'wci iiimli-iali'ly laict- fauns wllh 
oMi'i'iinl iiriivfs fiiUiiwftl, aClt'i- an liitiM'spnco, by 3 or -t 
small tot'tli. 

ELAPIDAE; Genus Toxicoco/omus Boulenger, 1896. 
K.liiii^iiU' snakes. 

Two s|ioii»'s nit' known from New (luitifn mikI I lie 
ni-arliy KcrKiisson. Mlsiin;i. :nid Wuiiilhnk isl:irMl<. 
Xt'itlu>r is known lo attain a IciiKtli of as niucli as ;i() 
iiulu's: llifv liavf short fanus and are not coiisidi'rcd 

Difiiiiliiiii: Hfad small and not distlncl from Ufik : 
no cantliiis rostrnlis. Horty i-ylindrical and vt'iy slender: 
tail short, with distinct tprniinal spine. 

Eyes very small ; pnpils ronnd. 

Head scales: The usual i) on the crown. Laterally 
there is no preocnlar. tlie prefrontal extends downward 
to supralabials lieliind nasal. 

Hotly scales: Dorsals smoolli. in 1.". IT rows tlirou^'li- 
out body. X'eiitrals 230-30."> : anal philc divided or en- 
tire: siibcandals pairiMl. 2.' ."1 : terminal sulnantlal elon^'- 
ated anil compressed, with a keel above. 

FuiiRE 109. — Maxillary Bone of Toxicocalamiis. Notice 
fangs and maxillary teeth Rradually decreasing in 
length posteriorly. This is characteristic of a number 
of elapids in the racific Region. Drawing courtesy 
of Charles M. Bogert. 

JIaxillary teeth : Two short fangs followed, without 
an interspace, by 4-."i teeth that gradually decrease in 
length toward the rear. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Tropidechis GiJnther, 1863. 
Eolitrli-scaleil snakes. 

Two species have been described from eastern coastal 
Australia, neither fif which grows to a length of more 

llian I feet. 'I'hi' common species, 7'. iiiihiiiliiH (Kreffl), 
has been re|M.r'li'(| lo Inlllcl a filial bile. 

Ih/hiilitiii: Head disliiicl from iiecU : a disliiicl can- 
lliiis lost rails. Iloily nioderalcly sloiil and cylindrical; 
(all moileralely long. 

K.ves motlerale in sl/.e: pupils roiiml. 

Ileatl scales: The usmil !) scales on ihc crown. 
I.alerall.v. nasal in contact willi prcociilar. 

Hodv scales: Dorsals heavilv keeled in L'.'l rows at 
midlHPily, \'cnlrals Ifl.'i 'JIH; anal plale eiilire: snli- 
cainlals single or p.-iiied. ."i(i .".I. 

Maxillary teeth: Two large fangs followed, iifler an 
inlerspace. by I ."i small leetli. 

ELAPIDAE: Genus UHrocalamus Sternfeltd, 1913. 

.'~^ll()l•t laiio'i'd snake. 

.\ single species is known from \ew (Jninea and Ihe 
offshore island of Seleo. .None of ihc specimens are as 
long as .'{(I inches. The species is not lonsidcred dan- 

Dcfiiiitiiiii : IIc;id small and not tlislinct from neck; 
no distinct canlhus rostralis. Body cylindrical and 
quite slender; tail short with blunt tip. 

E.ves ver.v small : iiu|iils rountl. 

Head scales: Internasals absent, leaving 7 scales 
on crown. Laterally there is no preocnlar, the pre- 
friuital extends downward to supralabials: a small post- 
ocular present biU parietal extends down to supra- 
labials so that there is no anterior temi'oral. 

FicuRE 110. — Head Scales of VUrocalamvs. Notice ab- 
sence of preocnlar. temporals, and internasals cliar- 
acteristic of this genus. Drawing courtesy of Charles 
M. Bogert. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in 13-li> rows through- 
out body. Ventrals 2<S0-330 ; anal plate entire ; sub- 
caudals paired, 20-")-!, terminal spine short and flat- 

Maxillary teeth: Two small fangs followed, without 
an interspace, by 4-0 teeth that gradually decrease in 
length toward the rear. 


Australia and the Pacific Islands 

ELAPIDAE: Genus Vermicella GiJnther, 1858. 

Five species are recognized. All occur in Australia. 
None appears to exceed 3 feet in lenstli and they are not 
considered dangerous. 

Definition: Head .small and not distinct from neck; 
no canthus ro.stralis. Body rather slender and cylindri- 
cal ; tail very short and obtusely pointed. 

Eyes very small ; pupils round. 

Head scales : The usual 9 scales ordinarily present 
on crown ; the small internasals sometimes fused to 
prefrontals, giving 7 scales. Laterally, nasal in contact 
with preoeular and first 2 supralabials. 

Body scales: Dorsals smooth, in 1.") rows at mid- 
body. Ventrals 120-234 (one specimen bad 2S4 1 : anal 
plate divided ; sidxaudals paired, 14-30. 

Maxillary teeth : Two moderately large fangs fol- 
lowed, after an intersijace, by 0-3 small teeth. 


(•'^re aho (ieneial References) 

BOGERT, Charles M., and Bessie L. MA- 
TALAS. l'.)45. Results of the Archhold Ex- 
peditions. No. 5.'). A Review of the Elapid 
(Jeiius Tltrociihtiiiux of New (iuiiiea. .\iii. 
Mils. Xovitates 1244: 8 p., 10 figs. 

KINGIIORX, J. R. 11)50. The Snakes of Aus- 
tralia. 2nd ed. Angus & Robertson Ltd., 
Sydney. 197 p., illustrated in color. 

194H The Dangerous Snakes of the South- 
Wcst Pacific Area. Victorian Railways 
Printing Works, North Melbourne. 43 p., 11 
text figs., 3 pis. 

LOVERIDGE, Arthur. 1945. Reptiles of the 
Pacific "World. MacMillan Co., New York. 
259 p., 7 pis. 

LOVERIDGE, Arthur. 1948. New Guinean 
Reptiles and Ampliibians in the Museum of 
Comparative Zoology and L'nited States 
National ^luseum. Bull. Museum Comp. 
Zool., 101 (2) : 305-430. 

ROOIJ, Nelly de. 1917. The Reptiles of the 
Indo-Australian .Vrchipelago. Vol. II. 
Ophidia. E. J. lirill Ltd.. Leiden. 334 i>.. 
117 text figs. 

AVERLER, John E., and Hugh L. KEEGAN. 

1963. Venomous Snakes of the Pacific Area 
pp. 217-325, figs. 1-78. In H. L. Keegan and 
W. V. MacEarlane, Venomous and Poisonous 
Animals and Noxious Plants of the Pacific 
Regicm. MacMillan (^o.. New York. 

WILLIAMS, Ernest E., and Fred PARKER. 

1964. The Snake Genus ParnpiMocahtmus 
on Bougainville, Solomon Ishinds (Ser- 
l)entes, Elapidae) . Semkenbergiana-BioL, 
45 (3/5) : 543-552, figs. 1-5. 

WORRELL. Eric. 1963. Dangerous Snakes of 
.Vustralia and New Guinea. 5th ed. Angus 
& Robertson Ltd., Sydney. 68 p., illu.strated. 

AVORRELL, Eric. 1963. Reptiles of Australia: 
Crocodiles, Turtles, Tortoises, Lizards, 

Angus & Robertson Ltd., Sydney. 207 p., 
04 pis. (some in color). 


Poi50nouj Snakes of (he World 


Chapter VIII 





Distribution Chart 158, 160 

Introduction 159 

Key to Genera 159, 161 


Lnt'icauda 163 

Enhydr'ma 163 

AipymiruH 164 

Astrotia 164 

Tlydrofliis 164 

M icrocephalofhis 166 

Lapemis 166 

Pehtniis 166 

References 167 


Poisonoos Snaiies of ihu World 
















Ashmore Reefs only 
Ashmore Reefs only 

Also W. Indian Ocean to Seychelles 
Northwest Coast of Australia 

Coasts of Ceylon only 

Also Sea of Japan 

sypej iejiuJ3 

1 I , 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

i 1 i i i i i 1 1 i i ! i i i i i 1 1 i i i ! i 

jypcj iso.uqinos 

1 i 1 i 1 1 1 1 ! 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1 1 1 1 i 1 i ! 1 1 i "^ 1 1 1 i 1 i 1 i i i 1 


' ■ i I ' 1 ' 1 ' 1 ! 1 i i ' i i 1 i i 1 ■ 

1 1 1 1 1 1 « 1 : 1 1 1 1 1 ^< 1 ; 1 1 1 
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 > 1 1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 

eas IPJ03 

>< \ \ \ \ \ \/i y. \ y. \ \ \ \ \ \ \ y, \ \ \ \ \ \ 

Esj auiddii'Md 

i i i i i 1 i i ^ i i i '^ i i i i 1 i i i i ! i 

Eijeiaodje^ jo JlinQ 

>< \ y y \ \ y, y ^- y \ \ \ \ \ \ \ y \ y \ \ y \ 

Bag BjnjEjy 

yi \ y y \ ^- y y y y \ y y \ \ \ y \ y 1 \ y \ 

' ' 1 < ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 ' 

B3S saqapD 

\ \ \ ^ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ y \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ 

E3S E03n|OW 


B3S EpuEg 

' ' 1 ' 1 ! II ' ' 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 ' 
1 i 1 « i « ] >< 1 X 1 1 =-■ 1 1 "• 1 i 1 i 1 1 ! i 

'It , 1 1 1 ! ' ' 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 ' 


\ \ \ y \ <A \ y \ y \ \ y \ y y y \ y \ \ \ \ \ 

E3S nins 

! M M M M M i i 1 M ^ i ^ M M 1 

Bag joiuix 

\ y y y y y y y y y y y \ \ \ y y y \ \ y 

1 ! 1 . 1 1 III 

B3S *0119A =B EU!q3 3 

1 i 1 ' ! 1 1 1 ' ; 1 1 1 ; 1 ' 1 1 1 

1 i i 1 ; 1 1 1 X 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 X 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 

E3S Eum3 s 

'A \ \ y \ \ \ y ■>■ y \ \ \ \ y y y \ y \ \ \ \ \ 

lUEig ^0 }\n^ 

y \ \ y \ \ \ y \ y \ \ \ \ y y y \ y \ y \ \ ^■ 


\ '^ '^ \ '^ '' \ \ '^ y '^ \ \ \ y y y \ y \ y \ \ ■>■ 

lESasg JO XEg 

\ \ \ \ \ \ \ y \ y \ \ \ y \ y 'A \ y \ \ V, \ y 

Bag uEiqBJy 

\ \ \ \ \ \ \ y \ '^^ \ \ \ \ \ y '^^ \ A \ \ y \ y 

jin£) uEisjaj 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 r ' 1 ' 1 1 ; 

i : 1 1 i 1 1 1 : =-• : 1 1 1 : 1 X ; 1 i : X ] 1 

1 1 1 1 i \ \ . \ i : 1 ' 1 1 1 


Acalyptophis peronii 

Aipysurus apraefrontalis--. 

A. dnboisii 

A. eydouxi 

A. foliosquama 

A. fuscus 

A. laevis 

Astrotia stokesii 

Emydoeephalus annnlatns-. 

Enhydrina schistosa 

Ephalophis greyi 

Hydrelaps darwiuiensis 

Hydrophis belcheri 

H. bitubercnlatus 

H. brookei 

H. caeruleseens 

H. cyanocinctus 

H. elegans 

H. fasciatus 

H. kingii 

H. klossi 

H. lapemoides 

H. major 

H. mamillaris 


Disfribuiion and Idenfificafion of Poisonous Sea Snakes 


The se<a snakes comprise a gi'oup of some 50 
species all of which liave strongh- flattened oar- 
like tails used as sculls. In addition most species 
have nostrils opening on the top of the head, a 
body that is flattened from side to side, and very 
small ventral scutes that may be difficult to dis- 
tinguish from the adjoining scales. The scales of 
several kinds of sea snakes are juxtaposed rather 
than overlapping as in most land snakes. The 
only snakes likely to be confused with sea snakes 
are the elephant-trunk snakes (Acrochordus) and 
the river snakes {E7ihydris and others) ; these 
liave round or slightly flattened tails, but young 
elephant-trunk snakes liave tails as paddle-shaped 
as those of some sea snakes. However, all sea 
snakes have enlarged crown shields and the ele- 
phant-trunk snakes have only small juxtaposed 
scales. Eels are fretjuently confused with sea 
snakes; however, no sea snake has fins or gill 
openings, and none has a smooth skin without 

Sea snakes are reptiles essentially of south 
Asian and Australian coastal waters with a few 
species found well out into Oceania (Society and 
GillHM't islands). One species, the pelagic sea 
snake (PeJamJ-s), occurs far out into the o]ien 
ocean ranging across the Pacific to the western 
roasts of Central and South America and south 
to New Zealand and the Cajie of Oood Hope. Xo 
sea snake is found in the Atlantic, although the 
]ielagic sea snalce m;\y eventually find its way 
through the Panama Canal and become estab- 
lished in the Caribbean. The greatest iuunl)ers 
of both species and individuals are found in 
warm shallow waters without surf or strong cur- 
rents. Mouths of ri\ers, bays, and mangrove 
swamps are especially favored. Afany species of 
sea snakes enter brackish or fresh water occa- 
sionally; two species are restricted to lakes. 

The biology of sea snakes is poorly known. 
There is general opinion that they can remain 
submerged long periods — perhaps a few hours 

depending upon temperature, degree of activity, 
and other factors. The depths to which they can 
dive are also unknown. An observer in the Phil- 
ippines saw the snakes swim down out of sight in 
very clear water. Types of bottom dwelling fish 
found in stomachs indicate the snakes dive at 
least 20 to 30 feet to capture food. They are 
often seen at the surface in calm weathei", and 
some species aggregate there in vast numbers. 
The reasons for this behavior are unknown, but 
they may l)e related to breeding. 

There are reports of both diurnal and noc- 
turnal activity. In the Arabian Sea, some species 
range 10 to 20 miles off shore during the calm 
winter months but tend to seek coastal mangrove 
swamps dui'ing the monsoon storms. Their 
young are born in these swamps. Sea snakes 
feed largely upon fish. Eels ai'e a favorite food 
of several species. At least a few species eat 
jjrawns and one species feeds on fish eggs. 

Sea snakes are generally mild tempered rep- 
tiles, although both individual and s]iecies varia- 
tion exists with respect to this trait. In open 
water they either seek to escape or remain almost 
inditTerent to swimmers. Stranded on l)eaches, 
some species are almost totally helpless. Others 
crawl with varying degrees of facility. None can 
strike on land l>ut most can turn to make an 
awkward snajiping bite. Rites are usually seen 
when the snakes are s]ai>iied, kicked, or trodden 
u])on in shallow water or when they are removed 
from nets, tiaps. or other fishing gear. 

Some kinds of sea snakes are extensively used 
for luunan food in China, Japan, and parts of 

While some sea snake species can be identified 
I'eadily l)y the amateur, many are puzzling even 
to experienced herpetologists. Color and pattern 
are extremely deceptive in this family. There are 
close similarities between remotely related species 
and marked differences between young and adults 
of the same species as well as a good deal of vari- 
ation among adults of the same species. 


1. A. Ventrals at midbody large, half to one third the 

width of the belly 2 

B. Ventrals at midbody small or not differentiated 5 


Poisonous Snakws of th» World 












Largely confined to brackish water 
Coast of S. Vietnam only 

Pacific coast, Nicaragua 

3i)ped lejiua^ 

i i i X 

i i tf i i 1 

: X 

jiipej iso.uqino^ 

1 i 1 X 

! X i X X 



i 1 1 « 

1 i X 1 tf j 


eas 1BJ03 

i i i X 

i « X i X =•■ 

i X 

E3S "'!<'<i!nqd 

I ] I ^* 

i 1 X 1 X X 

1 X 

eijBiuodjB^ }0 linQ 

1 i 1 X 

j « X 1 X 

i '^ 

Bag BjnjEjv 

X i i X 

1 « X 1 t^ 

1 X 

Bag saqaiso 

- i i i 


1 « 1 1 i 

i - X 1 k1 X 

i ^ 

Bag Ejjnioiv 

1 0- ' 1 ! 

1 - X \^y y 

: X 

sag BpuBg 

' ^* I 1 1 

\ y y 1 X X 

; X 

eas S3io\i ;» EAEf 

y \ \ \ y 

ix ;x |« xxi'xx 

X X M >< 

Bag njng 

j i i 

J_ « ; 

i X X g >< X 

1 ^ 


Bag jomix 


i? 1 ' 1 ' 


1 % I 
; - X 1 ^ 1 

tf X 

Bag MOiiaA V BuiqD 3 

i ; X 

1 ' 

M 1 ; 1 1 


a 1 1 1 

i X X =! X X 

i ^ 

Bag BDiqa -g 

y 1 1 \ y y ~ y \ y y y \ y y -. y y 

1 [ , ■;:; 1 ! "oj . 

X X X X 

raBig JO j^ng 

1 i 1 i « 

^^ - i X X X 1 X X 1 - 

X X X X 

Bag nEniBpoy 

='• i "■ ; X 

' 1 ^ 
g X i X X •- 1 ''• X tf 

- X X X 

lEaoag JO ^Bfl 

i X X X 

■S X X i X 

« i « 1 « 

X X X X 

Bag DBiqcay 

1 i « 

^ ill 

X 1 i i 

- i i^ 1 

X X X X 


jin3 DBisjaj 

i i i « 

•2 III 

« K^ 1 1 1 

^ III 

X 1 i 3 1 

1 X « X 


^ 1 

S 1 
!H a 

H. mertoni 

H. nigroclnctus 

H. obscurus 

H. ornatus 

1 1 > ! 1 
1 ■ 

1 1 1 i 1 

1 1 ' 1 1 3 

1 1 1 1 1 r 

i \ d \ii 

i .J „; 5 ^ = 

^ e -a H 1 ^ i 

It zfi vi wi -w 'r^ 

■ K S K" K W U 

1 1 a 1 ! 

1 ' .9 1 1 
1 I *n 1 1 
1 .a 1 1 
■•/. a 1 1 c 

3 .J r; 1 B -^ 

X ^ 1 .S g :£ 
- H i 1 S = £ 

?■ . a . . 

4 hJ hJ a a H^ 

W 1 1 

] ] 

1 1 ! =^ 

Ml 1 W 5 

2 1 g .£ 

a a' 5 £ 
.a 3 a c 

§ S a ^ 

- « a J 
rt ^ Ck fc 









n <9 >^ 

: — .2 

: ir' 


2 ^ s 

■/. — ^ 

— ^. "rt 

- s « 

^ pea 

2 9 I 

-h^ .^ CO 

"J ■/. o 

5 = a 

■^ O BJ 

.i '- a 
•a t. 03 



2. A 


3. A. 

4. A. 


5. A. 


6. A. 

Disfribufion and IdentiFicafion of Poisonous Sea Snakes 
KEY TO GENERA ^continued) 

Nostrils lateral; nasal shields separated by inter- 
nasals (fig. lllA), 4 species; widely distributed 

from Bay of Bengal to central Pacific Laficauda 

Xostrils dor-sal; nasal shields in contact with each 

other (see fig. IIIB) 3 

Tail distinctly paddle-shaped; head shields entire 

or broken up ^ 

Tail but slightly paddle-shaped, almost romul ; 
head shields entire (single species, small and 
rare) E/Jia/ophis 

Snout smoothly rounded; fangs followed by sev- 
eral small teeth on maxillary Iwiie (Six or 7 
species of moderate to large size; fount! from 
Gulf of Siam to Coral Sea but mostly in Aus- 
tralian and New (luinea waters. T.arger species 
potentially dangerous but nothing known of 
venoms.) Arpysurm 

Snout has blunt spine directed forward: fangs very 
small, no other niaxillai-y teeth (single species 
ranging from Ryukyus to Australia; inefficient 
biter; probably not dangerous; venom un- 
known) HmydocephahiH 

Vent nils distinct on at least the posterior half of 
the body, not normally split, usually a little 
larger than adjacent scales 1 6 

Ventials, except quite anteriorly, divided by a fis- 
sure or very small and not well ditferentiatod 
from adjacent .scales _ _ |;^ 

Mental shield elongated and concealed in cleft (ficr. 
IIIC) ; ventrals often not well dift'erentiated on 



FiGXTRE 111.— A. Toil of head of sea krait (LaU,;n„},i) showiiiR .separation of nasals l.v interuasals: B. Top of 
head of sea snake showing nasals in contact with each other: C. Lower jaw of l,eake<l sea snake .showing 
elongate mental in cleft hetween chin shields. 


Poisonous Snakes of ihe World 

KEY TO GENERA (continued) 

lllllcrior lialf uf IkhIv. A\'iilcly disl rilnilcd, 
ai>tinil;(nl s|)i'ci('s most (l;ui);;i'i()iis of sea 

simki's l\' nil 1/(1 (inn 

I'l Miiit;il sliield noinial ; voiitrnls well (lillVrciitiatocl 

iIh' ('iilir(< liMii^lli (if llic lidily 7 

7. A. IIi'.-kI sliiflds iMilirc; ikismI shields ii\ coiiImcI willi 

each ollii'i' 8 

n. I Feud shields more or less divided 11 

8. A. I'lvociihir sliii'ld aliscnl ; tail iiol shoiiji'ly iKuhHc- 

shaped; \eiilrals aliiiosi oiu^ I'oiiilli width of 
helly. Siiiirle, small, hrifjjhtjy colored s|)e('ies; 

iKit li('li('\('d daiiii'ci'oiis II (jil i(U( ps 

75. Pi('()( ular shield piesent ; tail distinctly paddle- 
lik(>; veiitrals smaller, at least on posterior half 
(.r helly 9 

9. A. Scale rows around iiii<lille (if liody 19-'2o. Siiifjle 

species found in Indo-.Malaysian waters and 
locally plentiful. JVites liave heen rei)orted, but 

are not serious KerUla 

V>. Scale rows around middle of hody "25 or more 10 

Id .\. VeiUrals decidedly larp'e on anterior f[uarter of 
hody, nnich smaller jjosteriorly. Sin<>'Ie s])ecies, 

widely distriliuted, \-enom unknown PraCKCdtntd 

Vk Ventrals more or less same size entire leuij-th of the 
body. Twenty-two species widely distrilnited; 
in several species bite produces death Ili/rlropJus 

11. A. Xasals cont;\ct each other. Scales aroinid eye with 

spiny ])rojections; hody scales with pointed 
keels. Single rare species; large and consid- 
ered dangerous .1 cah/pfopli is 

7?. Xasals separated by iuternasals; no sjjines on head; 

body scales without jiointed keels 1'2 

12. A. Dorsal scales in 31-35 regular rows at midbody. 

Single species Tli (dasfoph is 

V>. Dorsal scales very small, in 75-03 irregular rows 

at midbody. Single species Kolpophis 

13. A. Head very small, neck long and slender. Two 

species, one widely distributed Mic core phalo phis 

B. Body form not as above 14 

14. A. Dorsal scales overlapping (imbricate). Single 

large species Astrotia 

B. Dorsal scales juxtaposed 15 

15. A. Head elongated, flat ; all body scales quadrangular, 

generally equal in size. Single species with 

widest distribution of any sea snake Pelamis 


Distribufion and Ideniificafion of Poisonous Sea Snakes 

KEY TO GENERA (continued) 

B. I lead short, cluiiiky; 3 or 4 rows of larger scales 
on flanks; anterior ventrals often enlarged. 
Two species range from Persian Gulf to 
Japan and south to Australia. Considered 



Yellow-lipped Sea Krait, T.nt'icnuda eoluTirhm 

Identification: Species of this fjeiius are less flattened 
and more like conventional land snakes than are other 
members of the family. They can he readily identified 
by the combinatUm of fliittened tail, enlarged ventral 
scutes, and laterally plated nostrils. In this species the 
pattern consists of black or dark brown bands encirclinK 
body and separated by interspaces of pale blue or blue 
gray ground color: these are about as wide as the 
bands; snout and upper lip yellow; dark stripes tbroii;;h 
eye and on lower Ii[i: belly yellow. 

Figure 112. — Yellow-lippod Sea Krait, Laticaiida colii- 
hrina. I'hoto by liobert E. Kuntz. 

Maximum lengtli about 4V^ feet, averafie ^ to 3Vj feet. 
Females are larger than males, 

Jicmarku: One of the few sea snakes tbnt rej;ularly 
leaves water to climb onto rocks and pilings. Ter- 
restrial activity usually takes place at night. Eggs are 
deposited in caves and crevices. Ver.v mild disposition — 
no report of bite in man although the snakes are freely 
handled by many natives. Venom of fairly high tox- 
icity but very small in quantity. 

Beaked Sea Snake, Enhydrina schisto-m (Dau- 

Identification: The distinctive feature of this sea 
snake is the form of the lower jaw. The shield at the 
tip of the chin (the mental) which is comparatively wide 
and large in most snakes is, in Enhydrina, reduced to a 
siilintcrlike shield Imried in a cleft between the first pair 
of lower labials (fig. IIIC). This gives greater flexi- 
bility to the lower jaw and widens the gape thus permit- 
ting the snake to seize and swallow large prey. The down 

curved tip of the rostral is unusually prominent in this 
snake giving it a characteristic beaked profile. Head 
shields large, synnnetrical ; head rather small, very little 
wider than neck ; body moderately stout, strongly com- 
liressed; skin especially on neck rather loose; scales 
keeled; ventrals jxiorly differentiated, often indistin- 
guishable on anterior part of bod.v. 

Adults uniforml.v dull olive green above or pale 
greenish gray with dark crossbands that tend to fuse 
anteriorly; cream to dirty white <in sides and belly; 
head greenish above without marking; tail usually mot- 
tled with black. New born young are milk white with 
irossbands that almost encircle the body ; toji of head 
dark olive, tail black. 

Average adult length ."i to 4 feet willi females appreci- 
ibly larger than males; maximum a little under ."i feet. 

Ilrinaiks: \ shallow water snake found o\"r both 
mud and .sand bottom and often very plentiful at the 
tnouths of rivers. In great deltas such ns those of the 
(Janges and Indus, Knliydiina has been found in chan- 
nels many miles from the oi)en sea. It has not been 
reported to leave the water voluntarily and is very 

FiGiRE 11.3. — Beaked Sea Snake, Enhydrina schistosa. 
I'hoto by Sherman A. Mintoii. 

awkward although not completely helpless on land. In 
Indian waters, young are born from March through 
July. The average brood numbers 4 to 9. 

The venom of the beaked sea snake is the most 
toxic of the better known snake venoms, the lethal dose 
for experimental mammals being oO to 12.") micrograms/ 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 

kilo of lioily wclclil. Sliii'c Ihi- riiliil dosi' for iiii ailiill 
limil U i-stliimti'il III III' iilioiit l..'i ini;. tiiiil 10 In I.' tiiK- 
I'liii lit' oliliiliii'<l from II siiiikc of iivt'riiK<' nI/o, this is 
fU'iirly u iHilfhlliilly iIiiiikci-ous s|i<'rifs, mid il does ii|i- 
lit'ur III Im' rt's|ionslli|(' fur iiiorr serious and filial liilt'S 
tliiiii all oilier sea siialxcs riiiiiliiiii'il. Tills iiiii.v lie as- 
crllird luirlly to Its very loxic Vfiioni. anil |iarlly lo lis 
aliiindanri' ni-ar liatliiiii: hearlK's and lisliin^ villimcs. 
It is ordinarily an iniifrciisivt' rcpliU' luit will liito if re- 
strained. An aiilivenin iiKiiinst tlie venom of this sea 
snai<e is iirodnreil liy ('ommoiiweailh Serum Ijaiioni- 
tories, Victoria. Australia. It is reported lo lie effeclive 
against venoms of the liirfier species of Itiiiliaiiliitt also. 

Olive-brown Sea Snake, A //ii/xiirii\ hiirix \a\- 


Iihnli/iciiliiiii: In sea snaiies of lliis genus the nos- 
trils are dorsal in position and Ilii- shielils ipii the lop 
of the liead are small Inil reKular in arran«emeiit. Tlie 
venlriils are well developed extending at least one-lhird 
the widtii of llie hody. AiiinnKnix lacris is a very heavy 
snake, often as thick as a man's arm ; the body is slightly 
flattened vertically. The head is large and a little wider 
than the neck ; the end of the tail is usually ragged. 

Adults are uniformly olive hrown or may have a row 
of dark s|iots on the thinks and helly. 

Maximum lenjitli ahout (! feet : average 4^2 to •"' feet. 

KiiiKirhs: Clumsy on land, it apjiarently does not 
leave water vuluiilarily although it is often found 
stranded on beaches. 

Nothing is known of the venom nor are there reliable 
reports of bites. 

Stokes's Sea Snake, Asti-othi xtokcxii (Gfiiy). 

Iih iitifiriitidii : I,ike the olive-brown sea siinUe (M/iii- 

.111111.1 liiiii.i\ ill lii-iiig of massive liiillil ullli II large 
head; differs In having veiilials llial iiic friigmenled 
and not well different luted anil larger head sliielils. Tlie 
body .scales are large, keeled, iiml sirongly imbricate. 

Color lighl brown, yellowish or orange above wllh 
broad black rings or bars and spots; belly piilcr: bead 
olive to yellowish. 

Average ailiill Iciiglli 1'^ lo ."i fed; ma xiiriuiii mImiiiI 
(i feel ; large specimens are alioiil 10 inches in girth. 

I'(iii(irh.i: .Ml hough generally an uncommon snake 
there is a report of a vast aggregation sigliled in Ma- 
lacca St rail OIL I III' lib of May. The snakes were dis- 
posed in a line .iboui Id I'cei wide ;iiid some (!0 miles 
long. This appears lo be a snake of moderalely deep 
open water and is not often taken by native lisliermen. 
There arc no i-eported bites by this species and its venom 
has never been studied. 

'I'lio sea snake genus f/i/i/zo/th/.s is u puzzliiio; 
one from tlie standpoint ol' classKication, and 
e.xact identilicatioii of most of the 25 or so species 
n'((iiires expert opinion. Tliese .snakes liave tlie 
chaiart eristic sea snake features of laterally com- 
pressed body and tail, nostrils located on the top 
of the head in nasal shields that are in contact 
with each olher, small eyes with round |iiipils and 
ahsence of the loreal sliield. The venlrals are 
small but (jenerall}' larger than the adjoining 
scales and foi-m a distinct series that in large 
adults of many species is transformed into a keel 
or ridge. The four species described here are 
common, widely distributed, and show something 
of the range of variation encountered. 

Figure 114. Stokes's Sea Snake, Astrotia stokesii. 
Photo by Edward H. Taylor (Preserved specimen). 

Figure ll.j. — Yellow Sea Snake, Hydrophis spii-aUs. 
Photo by Sherman A. Minton (Preserved specimen). 

Yellow Sea Snake, Ilydrophls Hpiralis (Shaw). 

Identification: Head of moderate size and distinct 
from the neck which is not particularly slender or elon- 
gated ; body moderately .slender, not strongly compressed. 
Head shields large and symmetrical ; the tip of the 
rostral shows a slight downward prolongation that fits 
Into a notch in the tip of the lower jaw ; usually one 
anterior temporal ; body scales smooth or weakly keeled. 
There is an increase of no more than 8 scale rows be- 


Distribution and Identification of Poisonous Sea Snakes 

tween a count made on the nefk and one made at tlie 
middle of the body. 

Color Kolden yellow to yellowish Kreen shading to 
pinkish white below ; body encircled by l)lack rings that 
are widest along the vertebral midline and narrow on 
the flanks, always much narrower than the interspaces 
separating them : head uniformly yellow in the adult, 
dark with a yellow horseshoe shaped mark on the crown 
in the young. 

This is apparently the longest of the sea snakes, al- 
though AipymirKs and A.itnilia exceed it in bulk. Adult 
yellow sea .snakes frequently reach a length of r>i,4 to 
6 feet, and a record length of 9 feet is reported, 

liemarhx: Ver.v little information is on record con- 
cerning the habits and biology of this sea snake. It 
seems to frequent deep water and often basks at the 

Venom yields from this snake are s\iri)risingly small 
(.3 to 10 mg. I and toxicity lower than for sea 
snake venoms, nevertheless several fatalities are on 
record frnm the bite of this species, 

Annulated Sea Snake, ffi/t/ropliis ci/anocinchts 

Idciiti/irdliiJii: Head smaller, neck longer and more 
slender and bod.v more comi)ressed than in the yellow 
sea snake. Head scales similar to those of the yellow 
.sea snake except that there are usually 2 anterior tem- 
porals. Kody scales with central keel or row of tuber- 
cles. Incre.'ise of more than H (ustially 10 to 10) scale 
rows between cnunt at ncik and <'oiint at midbody. 

Venom yields reported from this snake are aiiproxi- 
mately double those rejiorted for the yellow sea snake, 
and the toxicity is somewhat higher. Data from Malaya 
indicate If. ri/iintii-iiii-tiis lauses more deaths than any 
sea snake si)ecies except the beaked sea snake. 

Reef Sea Snake, Hydrophix onuifuH (Gray). 

Identification: A large headed, stout bodied sea 
snake; body scales small. juxtai>osed. with a central 
tubercle that is more strongl.v developed in the male: 
increase of 12 to 20 scale rows between coinil at neck 
and count at midboily. The combination of regular 
head shields with nasals in contact with each other and 
small, undivided ventrals of uniform size the 
entire length of the body will usually differentiate this 
species from other sea snakes of similar body build. 

FioiiRF, IIG. — Head Scales of Uydrophis cyanocinctus. 

(See ;ilso iibile VI, tig. 4.1 Redr;iwii froiii Maki. i;«l. 

Color (lirly white. |)ale greenish, yellow or olive with 
blackish crossbands that may or may not encircle 
the body, are widest along the vertebral midline and are 
as wide as, or \\ ider than, the interspace.s between them. 
Head in adult olive, reddish, or dull yellow ; in young 
blackish with the yellow horseshoe mark seen in some 
other species. 

The adult length averages -1^2 to T>^{- feet with record 
specimens of about 6Vj feet. 

UrnidrkK: This snake frequents mangrove swamps 
but has been collected 12 to 20 miles offshore during 
winter. Although it has not been seen to leave the 
water voluntarily, it crawls fairly well and can lift its 
head well free of the ground. It often bites if re- 

Figure 117. — Head Scales of Ilydrophis ornaius. Note 
regular head scutes and contact of nasals. Redrawn 
from Maki, 1931. 

The typical form is pale greenish white, olive or yel- 
low with wide dark crossbands or rhond>oid spots. The 
head is olive. The Philippine subspecies is uniformly 
grayish green above and whitish below. A subs])ecies 
with spotted or ocellate markings on the sides occurs in 
Australian waters. 

Average length is 2.S to 3."> inches: maximum abimt 
4."i inches. 

I'rnnirks: This sea snake lias a very wide range 
extending from the Persian (Julf t<i the central Pacific 
and from the Yellow Sea to Australia. It is plentiful 
in some localities, e.g. Manila Ha.v. but very rare and 
apparently onl.v a straggler in many others. It evi- 
dently frequents shallow water, feu- dozens have been 
taken in one haul of a bea<h seine. At least one fatality 
is ascribed to its bite. 

Banded Small-headed Sea Snake, Ilydrophin fas- 
rldfiis (Sc-liiioider). 

Identification: Certain species of the genus Hydro- 
phis and the two species of Mirroreplialophis are re- 
markable for their tiny heads and long slender necks. 
This peculiar body form is most evident in the adult ; 


Poisonous Snakes of fhe World 

yoiiiii; nrr imt ^trlkliiKly illtTcrciit I'n'iii ulliri' xra siiiikrs. 
KcroKliltloii o( till' ynimi; iiiiil ilHTfrciitliillnn ol' llic 
Mliioiis s|M>clfN of siiiilll'lirmlcil sfii sliilkcs Is illlUriill. 
Ill tills spcrlcs llic vi'iilrnls iirc (llstiiii-lly « idrr lliiiii llif 
iiiljiuflit Ni'iili's IIii-i>iikIii>iiI till' li-iiulli III' 111)- IiimI.v iimiI 
till- tiiliil vi'iiti'til romit Is IiIkIi. usually MKI nr iinn'c. 

Tliirk part i>f Imily uniy tn illrly yi-llow ctdssciI liy 
ilark IiiiikIs tlial arc widosi in tlit- iiildtllc of llii> liiick, 
Imt tapor to iHiiiits laterally; neck dark ollvi' to black 
with yellow spots or irosshars ; liead iiiiit'oniily dark. 

'riie iiiaxliiniiii leiiKlli docs not exceed I I'ci'l ; Mvcraue 
specimens are about S feet. 

I\'riiiii>k.i: Tlie lieiivy body elves slablllly In lloaliiin 
while the small head and loiiK slender neck permit tin' 
snake to explore holes and crevices In seaiih of the 
eels and other eloiiKnte tishes thai arc lis fond. In 
swininiInK free, the head and neck arc held sliai;;hl aii<l 
almost motionless. This species is icpiirlc<l to be pri- 
marily nocturnal in the riiilippines. 

Smallheaded sea snakes are amoiiK llie least prolilic 
of snakes, females ;;ivinK birth to only I or 2 youiif; in 
a season. 

.VlthouKh it is ditficult to imagine these reptiles biliii;;- 
effectively, there is at least one fatality ascribed lo the 
bite of a small-headed sen snake. Venom yields are 
niiiiule (less than 1 iiiK- per snake), but the venom is 
extremely toxic, beiiiK about eciual to that of Enhydrina 
(p. l(!8l. 

Other widely distributed small-heads of the (jenus 
I ti)il mollis include IT. hcJclwri of Australian and I'acili<' 
seas and H. hrookei, H. caerulescens, and II. klosai of 
Indo-Malaysiau waters. 

Graceful Small-headed Sea Snake, M/rfon/ih/i/o- 
ph is gnirilis ( Slia w ) . 

Iihtitifirutiiiii: This snake differs from llic banded 
small-headed sea snake in certain features of the skull 

.\nlerior pari of body liicliidini,' lii'jid black lo dark 
olive with while or yellow h|ki|s or baiiils; posterior 
Ipiirl pale yellow lo t;reeiilsli with darker crossbands or 
uniform i;ray above and IlKht lalerally and vent rally. 

.MosI iidiills of Ibis species measure .'iO In .'i.'i inches; 
maximum Icnulli is about VI inches. 

Hardwicke's Sea Snake, La jhui'is Ikh-iI irirkii (iiay. 

Iilinlifictiliiiii: .V rallicr shcu-l, stocky sea snake; 
head chunky, wiilcr lliaii neck; rostral with .'{ stubby 
downward projeclicuis lillini; into notches in the chin; 
vcnirals ikjI well different iaied except on neck; irregular 
rows of enlarged scales low on Hanks. 

FioriiK llil. — Hardwicke's Sea Snake, Lapemis hard- 
irickii. I'hoto by Edward H. Taylor (Preserved 
specimen ) . 

Figure 118. — Graceful Small-headed Sea Snake, Micro- 
ccphalofihin graciUa. The small end is the head. U.S. 
Navy photo. 

and in the type of ventrals which are distinctly wider 
than the adjacent scales on the slender part of the body 
but become smaller and fragmented posteriorly ; the 
ventral count does not exceed 300. 

Greenish or yellowish above, with series of dark cross- 
bands that are much wider than the light areas between 
them: paler below; head dark with or without lighter 
mottling; tail barred with black tip. 

The average length of adults is 2.5 to .30 inches with 
a maximum of about 35 inches. 

Remarks: A very abundant snake in shallow estu- 
aries along coasts of Viet Nam, Malaya, and the Phili])- 
pines and often taken in fish nets. It is most abundant 
during the rainy season (.July to November). 

Despite the very small venom yield (about 2 mg. from 
an adult snake) several fatal bites are on record; tox- 
icit.v of the venom is less than that of the beaked sea 
snake I p. 163). 

Pelagic Sea Snake, PeJaiui.s phitunis (Linnaeus). 
Idtiiti/icdtinii: Head elongate, flat, slightly wider 
than neck ; body of moderate build, very strongly com- 
pressed laterally ; the entire appearance is very eel- 
like. Head shields large, symmetrical ; body scales 
small, quadrangular; ventrals not larger than adjacent 


Disfribution and Identification of Poisonous Sea Snakes 

The commonest color variety is black or dark brown 
above, dark yellow to brown below with a pale yellow 
lateral strijie. Another common variety is yellow with 
a straight-edged l)rown or black dorsal stripe. In less 
common forms, the dark stripe may be wavy or broken 
into transverse bars. The head is usually dark on top 
and yellow on the sides; the tail is whitish barred or 
mottled with black. 

The average adult length Ls 25 to 30 inches with a 
maximum of 44 inches. 

Figure 120. — Pelagic Sea Snake, Pclamis platurus. 
The most widespread species of sea snake ; the one 
found along the west coast of tropical America. XJ. S. 

Navy jihoto. 

Ixinuirkx: This is the only truly iM-caM-g<iing snake; 
it has repeatedly lieen seen hiuidrcds of miles from liuul 
and has reached many remote Tacific islands including 
Hawaii. It is. nonetheless, the most plentiful in the 
comparatively shallow waters over the continental 
shelves. Although a graceful, rapid swimmer, it seems 

to spend much time floating at the surface. It is virtu- 
ally helpless on land. Great schools of these snakes 
have been seen in the shallow waters along the west 
coast of tropical America at certain seasons. This is a 
species that seems to be definitely repelled by fresh or 
brackish water and does not enter creeks or rivers. 

Only minute amounts of venom can be obtained from 
this species in the laboratory, and the toxicity is about 
one fourth that of Kiilnidriiui (p. 10.31. Only one human 
fatality has been ascribed to the bite of Pclamis; the 
report dates back almost a century and the snake may 
not have been correctly identified. 


HARME. Micliel. I'M?,. Venomous Sea Snakes 
of Viet Xaiii and Tlu'ii- Venoms. In Venom- 
ous and Poisonous Animals and Xoxious 
Plants of the Pacific World (H. L. Keegan 
and W. V. MacFailane, eds.). Pergamon 
Press: Oxford, pp. 373-378, figs. 1-5. 

HERRE, Albert. 1042. Xotes on Philippine 
Sea-snakes, (^opeia, no. 1, pp. 7-0. 1040. 
Notes on Philijipine Sea Snakes of the Genus 
Laticau(Ja. Ih!d.. no. 4, pp. 282-284. 

SMITH, :\ralcolm A. 1020. A Monograph of the 
Sea-snakes. Taylor and Francis: London, 
pp. i-xvii -f 1-130, figs. 1-35, pis. 1-2. 

V()LS0E. IMge. 1030. The Soa Snakes of the 
Iranian Gulf, /n Danish Scientific Investi- 
gations in Iran (Knud .lessen and Ragnar 
Sparck, eds.) Copenhagen. Part 1, i)p. 0-45. 



Poisonous Snakes of iho World 


Chapter IX 


Antivenins are available for use in the treat- 
ment of most cases of snake venom poisoning. 
They may be supplied as the whole serum taken 
from horses immunized a^^ainst the venom (s) 
and packaged as a solution or as a dried product, 
or they may be supplied in a concentrated or pur- 
ified form as either a liquid or a lyophilized 
powder. The ability of these various i)roducts 
to neutralize a specific venom may differ consid- 
erably. In general, the more species and genus 
specific the antivenin the more elective it will 
be in combating the effects of poisoning. Also, 
the more concenti'utod and purified the jjroduct 
the more effective it will be and the less I lie likeli- 

liood to i)roduce anaphylaxis. Before admin- 
istering any antitoxin the physician or corpsman 
should consult the brochure accompanying the 
antivenin for specific instructions. 

The following tabulation shows the antivenins 
available, the country in which they aiv pro- 
duced, the protluccr, the name of the product, 
I lie venom (s) used in the i)reparation of the 
antivenin, the common name of the snake, com- 
ments on the additional venoms that the antivenin 
may neutralize, and data on the processing of the 
Miilivcnin. The venom (s) used in the prepara- 
tion of the antivenins appear singly (mono- 
valent) or in groups (polyvalent). 


Antivenins. Trans. Royal Soc. Trop. 
Hyg., GO: 797-810. 



* Tliis list of sources ami types of antivenins is acciiratc williiii tin' limits of llu> Intfsi avnilalile information 
from maiuifac'ttu'ers at the time of ptiblitalioii. 


Poijonous Snakes of tho World 










































i .i -^ -s 

£ sj « 5 

a 5, — -^ 

S ^- ?! 
g .a " 

'/J a 

0- a ■" 

ii O o 

§ §2 

3 ^ ~ 



^ tt a* a -,< 
H = S ^ 

<" a 


c ;3 ° ? 

i a a 

£ a 

0) OJ 

a 5 y 

-»> 13 

= ^ - a 

:s Q .=■ 

a V 

t^ a 0) 


a 5 -<1 ■« !5 S 

::3 ^ 

O ^ 

SQ -B O 




























s « 









_x ^ 






















P -S 




































- f-; rt t- 























































-^ '■'• '-^ 

^ ^ ^ 

C "r -^ F '- C 

•~ -a 

a vj 

C — p i CQ ^ _ .S. 








Si a 




























































— ' ^ ^^ 


qj v5 













































BC5 S 

-S M 5 

«»1 o if 
^ O < 

^ !^ « 

a . . 

O C3 CO 

^ "^ 2 

o !q "* 

■ti o 

M 3 M < 











































Anfivenin Sources 



3 t 







































































































































s s z; o *- 





























































































(5 = 

a * 

























M £^ 










X "^ 










■C 1^ 













53 X 


















if '? 











■^ > 



































































"— ' 













00 ^ 

u a o ^ ■" (2 
>J S; cc 1^3 






a > 

01 — 



.5 a 


=: < 


o ^ 





c: a; 



V 1- 


c3 >> 



s ° 





C3 '^ 

















































































Poiionous Snokci of th» World 



a l, a a - 

O »j 


i 3 


_ - i 
a "" 

a a, - 

" -< 


— a 

* ^ •- 

v-3 ■= i - 

■^ -3 > <- ^ t- (ii^ 
■2, c3 i. tc C - K 



ti r a , 
= ■■'■ = t? 

a a:s 

^ — 4- 

•7 .::; j x 

- X . 3 
~ = 5 c 

H - a - 

c a J3 

r 1= o 

bS 2 « 

- -S Ch S 

■ « g 

— 2 

4- t; 3 9 

i* 5 '2 * 

a i! s. o 

o s £ .:i 


41 o 

t u 

a ii 

o ♦- 























































— % 
















— * 










Q 2 

S o ^ 

3 H -a 









o ^ 























































































































































3 10 





4) rH 

1 .2 










3 Oh 





a w 
a, p 
ft &< 




0; 3 



— — * c^ — . 

o Ml 

« a r » ^ - 

.5 "o 02 




































ft ^ 

«J — C - = — 

ft C "J 
a = .2 

d .5 a 

fl : 
a ■ 

a • 

O 0/ '^ 


w ^ ^ — 

*D a 
•2 !B 


t- a 

"S 5 

a s 





Anfivenin Sources 



















» -^ 




4) 3 






o ^^ 










■c " 











•^ O^ 


f^ CO 






a th 





a .S" ^ 
























■z » 

J i ■c 5 

S- O CQ 


a !- - a 5 



_ o 

■2 -o O 


- fe ■a O S 

43 C 

£ fe 

^ ~ e 

= = ^ 

t- s 

a, -. 

S 2 u S 

Si. > ::: s — S 

— C3 

._ t-. 

._ c 

X C 

< t 

o — 

.c »= 


I .le 

fe: S 

c C- 
c — 

% = 

o I £ I s > r ^ i s -■ ^ 5 1 .1 :5 -I 

5! K •;- C •' 

~ - _ e c -s 

^^ <- e^^ — -i^j 

« - " s . 
>;• >=! i- c u !r 

H 3; ^ _ ^ H 

« — — = 

.1 '^ 

5 tt 

_ — a ^ > 

X ;- C 5 - X 

=5 4 5 






















S 5 
c o 

a ^ 3 s 
2 H S S 









I « 

n "1 


















= S; 


a a 

3 X 







-fl .i^ *^ 

■g CU ec 


Poiionoux Snaket of the World 

* a 
M a 

5 o 


- C3 

.5 ? 




N ^ 


*j c a * 

o O O o 


o z 

^ (B C 

— a- (J 

53 ■- 

_ a 

c. — 





a ^ 

a ■- 

a. ^ 2 

— o 

S pa 


■= -t: "o ~ ^ 

- .2 < 

=. a 

.S lac 

s n ^ 

2 o- .5 

r ■« ~ 

"i a- - — 

— = i — ~ -o 


K a ;► ^^ -^ 

e 0) 

a a — 

o ■ e 

i: a; ~ 

e '— 

■ a K 

a a OS ~ 

<=^ ^ r g t 


J- -^ 

■— * • Xr 

« 2 - 

o -~ "§ 'O' 

g. g o oi 

_ g o .2 

■m a 2 o 

OT ,^ . . ■— 

O >> ? ~ g 

Ch K .^ • -g 

9 ~ 

f— I— (- X^ 

S ^ -a -r; crz 

ao a ►"• ^j — 

^. a "— > 7^ C3 00 

= - 2 ^ fe £ 


















00 0^ 


— -J: 

— o> 



O ^ 

r- O 


g a, 
t. o 
■2 '- 

I— < 
















■h a 
Si a 

o "' 




0! W 

■?, « 

IH Ph 

o u 


a >> 

ts a -t; 

a o ^ 

^« § 

« ^°^ '2 



c3 Vi 

03 d; 

4) w 

a — 

^ 03" 

s i 

a 03 


a t- 

03 T)H 

O S 

05 o 

^ CLi 

^ U 

3 a 

■w 01 

tTj ■*-* 

M 2 

a " 

M 111 





Antivenin Sources 

M 9 

C o o ^ 

« ■« = C -3 

E' £ 

£ a 

. .- „ « t -3 ■ 
c ■!; — t £ ■;: 

■g e c I e S 3 .,, .2 •= I 

£ ~ 5 •; ? s, ^ 2 "J? "^ p 
S - £ S .-s S r - -S .2 £ 
t.s-HB'5 „ ^s rs'g.^- 













































































•da -s 


ki _ 

o ~ 

C3 o 

5 ^ . 5 !. •= 

C ■'^ ~ « 

5 a- 

** ~ 

c. S 

•- C3 


2 4) "^ S a "T "^ ■ 


•S 5 t- 

ft. 5 


e j: t 4- 

•^S t 

? = e C -3 -w 

a c a 

S; O 

oj C 

c3 a — t. 

g ~ S 



'== i B °= • ~ - a - • 

»_, 3- C 5; — ^ .— *-■—.— 



























































































































































































i .2 -- 

K^ a 

«- a ?-5 

3 t. i- Oi 

— a 

- a »; a 

"« S = r^ 5 

o a s, y S 

y fe K t- H 


- a 
a a> 






o a . 

« §§1 

2 o ** a 

3 a J £ 

CO QJ : A 






Poitonous Snak»s of th* World 








K- -^ 








•B4 "^ 






-o t: 

a ii 


a z. 


^ . 

2 "8 

g §* 




Z, Y 't^ 

2 S. r,. « 



■3 3 
ci C 



•2 •= -« 

•3 >. "2 .^ 

0.- -^ ■^ "ti 

.J: « 2 ^ S .2 

3 2 3 = 

53 2 
4; , 

"•8 5 
I Ik 


i-«^ — ■ t*. ••« '^^ . 

t; "o 

<j a 

g w I- 

= S, s ^ i 

S 2 o 2 S 

. O S ^ rt. 

o &. M i? 

■E i = = 

a a; 5. w r- a 


<> 2 

" n 

W5 2 ^^ 

■< ■« 

^ es c 

<« < Q 

■r a. O 


•5 >■ 















































































P u ~ 9 

« 5 t; -S 

* m 

^ ^ «UJ ^ 



S a 

■S a 

e a 

£ J 

~ a 








6 oQ 




a a 

a a 
K <5 































S .2 


'S. o 
- a 





a g 
2 .2 


Ed o 

















o S 

fl. -^ 


a r? ^ 




5 & 5 

a H 


i a" 

a ^ 

? a 

° a 

2 S 
« 2 





a ^ 

a a 

s c 

E r 

a O 

^ 53 

a «< 

CO CO O 02 rt 

S £ S i. 


a C 

H 5 5 

a 4; 





^ &g 


fe 4 0" fe 

■S 02 5h Q 


Antivenin Sources 





































.2 o 








t. c 









4, .- 


































C-i a: 



— N 





"5 a — = B >; 
* »■■ £ ,c- a = 

5 * o ^ 

X a ^ ti 

— —ox- 

>? a • E £ 

■,n fc- 


Z 3t £ i: 5 


c 5 ;: ~ _ 


























a <!., . *- 

tn — e _ 

c — -s ? 

X s 

= c a 5 (N 

« a 


5 § 
a P3 

« a 

o *: c 

'^ «J « K 

?S — * ^ ^ 2 

= c § "^ * 

■§ S "5 ^ 1 

^ J^ •- C3 E ^-^ 

=■• = - I g » 

■ C o •§ o a 

ft; ^ -< o -c .a 

- & I 

ox — ' 

ft a .s- 

■a c 

2 5 ^ i 

. c 

6- g 
--^ a oe 


« CI 

g X 

a S 


ca * 

ci g 

O "■ C_i — . 

^ »: "■ .-^ 

2 2 =-r 


%:z ■= 


n S. 

t* O X ^ ^^ 

H _■ 3 K 






























1— 1 












































H d 







cu ^ 



2 P^ 


I:^ K 



K ^ 



a « 

B a 

< a 

a . ^ 

a; X 2 

a = 2 

>. W J3 

•3 - « 

a ^ 


a 3 "m 

■< a S 

fcj >-. — 

o ~ •" 


tS X 

B -S 

< S? 


■" o 

s t- 

41 -^ 

« g 


Poisonous Snakes of the World 


« * a 





o — 

H ^ 

^ r- :h 



w •„ 


"sT 3 X. 

S o 


? y. .X 




3 ae "3 


r 2 3 
5 ^ ^ 


>— 1 

> 3 i* 








»j 3 
a ii 







e a 

c3 a 

4, a 





o ■" 





J ^ - 


a t 










•o *" <§ 

C t-, r-l 

5 3r 

2 .2 








.2 c 









*- & 'O 

tl c 






O 3 -o 

< (- 






&( t» 03 






















































































• ^ 

























































' ' 









k. a 

a a 


















































































































.^ s 





























S, o 

E-H u 

















o :- 2 
































































































































? b 

5 i: 

^ a 
b IN 





































































Anfivenin Sources 


c, a s 

c3 a S — 




























H - S 

•OS c 




a- S3 


2 ^ 



CI o 

& a 


c o 


~ r _r c .:: 

"- c= c: ^ g „ 

- fe '^ £ ^ '- 

H a .2 i:- 

S fe c3 




5) !!!1 

t c = I 

S S "^ 

£5 -i 

c « ^ >» 
- - .a L'5 
2 C O! 

.5 '' S 

•w S ° 

■'- ^ ^ ^ la 
~ ix -^ - i: ^ Z ^ 
•■5 '.a £ t: c .^ = o 

£ £ Ji 

^ : t-. _ ^ ? •- 

a S 1; 5 c- 

c tt s^ o 

S o 0, ~ — 2 

= S=-5x£:-=ititt-S 

5 - t- 

= = a r 

"1-1 50 13 ~ 

° ■" g 3 »• 

= .s g C = 

.X "*~ ? " 1* 

X *- 

0) - -w 

~ t. a 

.^ s c " ? 

C S 0; 

i I _c ^ i I 





















■— ' 






















































~ 2 ^ 0; ■-• T 



iJ o 

i= .2. 2 

c t* -^ 


~ a ^ o 


C O' '-; .-S Q 

V .- o ; s H 

a .3 

< B 

M < 

■a "B 

B ::3 

a a 

j= o 


2 a 
g w 

2 a 
•S o 

^ ^ B 

.a « I 

B g [» 

•S « B 

■S -s -^ 




























a a 


5 V 

S .2 s 





Poisonous Snakas of the World 

S V = - »■■ 

d w o « oj 

— a; ■" 

£-• " C C3 X* 

a- S 

_ I- 0* 
J3 I- 




P "2 

= □ 

S o 




'O 03 

•St: ^2 

w S « 

a S.§ 








■< « 

























































K § I = 

« -1 2 ^ 
n ^ s C- 

~ 3 E- o « 

•« a : i~ O 

WW a 13 


•2 c 




^ o 



U -a 

D -i, 

a c 
O o 




"O . 

a fa 

_ ~ • « 

.s JC o o 

■^ O' a 

a i; c O 
t: ^ =^ 

•= O O i^ 


CO I?; 

^ ■? 
o ^ 
o t- 

>> . 



'-*-- a "oj 

M M •J; 


3i a 




^ g 



Anal plate: The large scute covering the vent. 
It mai-ks the division between body and tail. 
It may be entire, or divided by an olDlique 
suture (fig. 10). 

Anaphylaxis: A severe hypersensitivity reaction 
which may cause circulatory, respiratory and 
neurologiral symptoms. Often fatal if un- 

Antivenin: An antitoxic serum whir-li neutral- 
izes a venom. 

Antivenom: Autivenin. 

Apical pits: Tiny depressions, usually paired, 
near tlie terminal end of each dorsal scale 
wlien present; function unknown. 

Aqiuitic: Livintr in water, (rompaie terres- 

Arboreal : I>iving in trees or bushes. (Compare 

Autopharmacological substances: Chemicals ])ro- 
duced and released by body cells in response 
to a stimulus, such as venom. These sul)- 
stances may produce deleleiious efl'ects, such 
as shortness of breath, changes in heart rate 
and shock. 

Canaliculated: Traversed by a small tubular 
l)assage or channel. Here applied to the 
fangs of snakes. 

Canthus (or canthus rostralis) : Tlie angle be- 
tween the flat crown of the head and the side, 
between snout and eye; may be sharp, obtuse, 
ohsoh'/c. or (ihsent. 

Canthal scales: Enlarged scales along the lateral 
border of the crown between internasals and 
supraocidars in some vipers and pit vipers 
(fig. 12). 

Chin shields (Genials) : Paired enlarged scales 
near the ventral midline of the lower jaw; 
anterior chin shields in contact with mental 
or separated from it by first infralabials; a 
pair of 'posterior chin shields may be present 
behind the anterior (fig. 6). 

Compressed: (In reference to body shape.) 

Flattened from side to side, giving a greater 
height than breadth. 

Constriction Band : A wide piece of rubber or 
other material u.sed to depress flow along 
sui)erficial lyniphatic and venous channels. 

Crotalid(s): Refers to snakes of the family 
(Votalidae or pit vipers which includes the 
rattlesiuikes and lance-heads. 

Crown : The top of the head, or the anterior 
])art of the top; usually occupied by 9 en- 
larged scutes, fiom the rostral (on the snout) 
to the parietals (fig. 6). 

Cyanosis: Bluish discoloration of the skin 
caused by insutlicient o.xygenation of the 

Depressed: (In reference to body shape.) 
P^lattened from top to bottom (dorsoven- 
trally), giving a greater breadth than height. 

Distal: Farther away from the body. (Com- 
])are ])r()xima].) 

Diuinal : Active during the daylight hours (see 

Doi-sals: The rows of small scales that cover the 
top (dorsal) surface of a snake's body. 
They are counted in a diagonal (or zigzag) 
lino from the edge of the ventral plate, 
across the back to the opposite edge (fig. 7). 

Ecchymosis: A discoloration of the skin re- 
sembling a bruise. It is caiised by the ex- 
travasation of blood. 

Edema : The pi-esence of excessive fluid in the 
intercellular tissue spaces. 

Ela])id(s) : Refers to the snakes of the family 
Elapidae which includes the cobras, kraits, 
coral siuikes, and mambas. 

Envenomation : The deposition of venom within 

Extravasation: Passing of a body fluid out of 
its proper place, as blood into surrounding 
tissues after rupture of a vessel. 

Eye (Sizes): An ej-e of moderate size has a 
diameter that is about equal to the eye's 


(listiiiiif fnim till' li|i; !i large oyo's (liaiiictfr 
is iilM>ut oiu> iiiiil one lialf tliis disliiiice; a 
sniitll ovi' is iiIm)iiI oiii' liiilf lliis ilisliuic*-. 

Fanjjs: Knliirjjivl hollow or jjroovod tt-i'lh spo- 
ciiilized for injection of venom (tig. 1). 

FiisciDtoniy : An incision ciittinjj; the fascia or 
dense connective tissue tliat siii'i'ouiids mus- 
cles. Sometimes used in li'calincnt of snake- 
Itite to release pressuii' from severe swelling. 

Frontal: The sinijie enlar<j;ed median scule on 
tiie crown hclwcen the supraoculars and he- 
hind the prefrontals (li<;. 0). 

Gulars: Tlie rows of small nonspecialized scales 
on the ventral surface of the lower jaw an- 
terior to the ventral plates (fifj. fi). 

Ilemojilobinuria : The presence of hemoglobin 
in the urine. 

Ilemotoxin : A toxin capable of destroying blood 
cells. Often also ai)plied to toxins that cause 

ITerpetology : The scientific study of reptiles 
and amphibians. 

Hypotension: Abnormally low blood pressure. 

Imbricate: Overlapping, as the tiles on a roof; 
the usual condition for dorsal and ventral 
scales. (Compare juxtaposed.) 

Infi-alabials: The (usually enlarged) scales 
along the border of the lo\Yer lip behind the 
mental (fig. 6). 

Intemasal(s) : The (usually paired) scutes on 
the crown just behind the rostral (fig. 6). 

Intraperitoneal: "Within the peritoneum, or 
peritoneal cavity, as intraperitoneal injection 
of drugs. 

Juxtaposed: "With edges adjacent but not over- 
lapping; the usual condition for head shields. 
(Compare imbricate.) 

LD50: The amount of a drug or poison neces- 
sary to kill 50 percent of the animals in a test 
group; usually stated in mg. per kg. on a 
dry basis. 

Loreal : The scale on the side of the head lying 
between the (post-) nasal and the preocu- 
]ar(s) ; characteristically absent in elapid 
snakes (fig. 6). 

Lyophilization : Process of quick freezing and 
dehydration under a high vacuum. 

Mental : The triangular scale at the symphysis 
of the lower jaw, corresponding in position 
to the rostral of the upper jaw (fig. 6). 

Aryoglobiiiuria : l'Il•^enc(^ of a type, of nniscle 
l)rotein in the urine. 

Nasal: The scale enclosing the nostril; may be 
n/>if//t\ /Hirfldl/i/ (livitled (by a suture ex- 
Iriidiiig down from the nostril), or com- 
phlclij diridid (gi\ing a pre and post- 
nasal) by a vertical sulind that, (extends 
thi'ough the nostril (lig. (>). 

Nasal valve: A s|)hincter device for closing the 
nostrils; found in some vipers and nearly all 
sea snakes. 

Nasorostral (scale) : An eidarged scale (usually 
paired) that lies just, behind the rostral scale 
(e.g., between the rosti-al and llut nasal) in 
some vipers. 

Necrosis: Death of a circumscribed portion of 

Necrotizing: ('ai)able of causing necrosis. 

Neuromuscidar transmission: The relay of a 
stimidus from the end of a nerve to its 

Neurotoxin : A poison that has a more marked 
effect on nerve tissue than other body tissues. 
Often improperly used to denote that the 
poison affects only the nervous system. 

Neutralize: The ability of a substance (anti- 
venin)- to nullify the effects of another sub- 
stance (venom). 

Nocturnal: Active during the night. (Com- 
pare diurnal). 

Occipitals: Paired enlarged scutes that lie im- 
mediately behind the parietals in a few 
snakes, e.g. king cobra (fig. 81). 

Paresis: A slight, or incomplete paralysis, some- 
times noted as a weakness of a muscle. 

Paresthesia: An abnormal sensation, as prick- 
ing, numbness or burning. 

Parietals: The large paired scutes at the rear 
end of the crown, immediately behind the 
frontal and supraoculars (fig. 6). 

Petechiae: Small spots formed by the effusion 
of blood. 

Pit (or Loreal Pit) : The deep depressions on 
the side of the head in the loreal region in 
pit vipers (family Crotalidae) ; they are 
heat-sensitive and aid the snake in finding its 
prey in the dark (fig. 4). 

Plate: A large flat scale, usually on the head 
or ventral surface. 

Polyvalent : Used in this text to denote a serum 


containing antitoxins against the venoms of 
a number of different snakes. 

Postoculars: The scale (s) immediately behind 
and in contact with the eye. Usually be- 
tween the supralabials and the supraoculars 
(fig. 6). 

Prefrontal (s) : The (usually paired) enlarged 
scutes just behind the interaasals, or that 
area if it is covered with small scales (fig. 

Prehensile (in reference to tail) : Adapted for 

grasping Ijy wrapping around; usually vis- 
ible as a curled and compressed tail tip. 

Typical of tree snakes. 
Preoculars: Tlie scale (s) lying immediately in 

front of and in contact with the eye (fig. 6). 
Proteolytic : Capable of causing the digestion or 

dissolution of proteins. 
Proximal : Nearest to the main part of the body 

or the median line of the Ixxly. (Compare 

Ptosis: A drooping of the upper eyelid. 
Pupil (of eye) : The black opening enclosed by 

the iris; may be round, horizontally ellijiti- 

cal, or vertically elliptical. 
Rostral : The single enlarged plale at the tip of 

the snout (fig. 6). 
Savannah: Open grassy country interspersed 

with small groups of trees or bushes. 
Scutes: Overlapping or juxtaposed scales that 

cover the surface of the body. Formed 

of horny skin in reptiles, differing from the 

bony scales of fishes. 
Shield: An enlarged scale or scute, commonly 

specialized and with a distinctive name. 
Shock position : Victim lying on his back with 

head and chest slightly lower than his feet. 
Snakebite: A bite inflicted by either a venomous 

or nonvenomous snake. 
Snake venom poisoning: A condition I'esulting 

from the injection of snake venom. 
Subcaudals: The scales or scutes under the tail; 

they may extend across the entire ventral 

surface (single), or go only half way across, 

where thev are met by another scale (paired) 

(fig. 10).' 
Suboculars: The scale (s) immediately below 

and in contact with the eye; between the eye 

and the supralabials (fig. 6). 

Subterranean : Living under the surface of the 
ground. (Compare terrestrial.) 

Supra-anal tubercles: Small raised keel-like 
structures on the dorsal scales above the vent 
in some snakes. 

Supralabials: The scales (usually enlarged) or 
scutes along the border of the upper lip be- 
hind the rostral (fig. 6). 

Supraoculars: The enlarged scales or scutes 
(sometimes divided) on the crown directly 
above each eye (fig. 6). 

Suture: A line of division between two scales. 

Swelling: An enlarged area. 

Temporals: Scales or scutes on the side of the 
head between the parietals and the suprala- 
bials, and behind the postoculars; anterior 
temporal (s) are in contact with the post- 
oculars; posterior (sometimes secondaiy and 
tertiary) temporals are in vertical rows, not 
in contact with postoculars (fig. 6). 

Terrestrial: T.iiving on land or on the ground. 
(See aquatic, arboreal, subterranean.) 

Toxin: A naturally occui'i'ing poisonous s\ib- 
stance. A sj-nonym for venom or poison. 

Trismus: Tetanic spasm of jaw muscles; lock- 

rrticaiiu: A skin ei'uptioii, usually associated 
with allergy, characterized by sudden ap- 
])earance of smooth, slightly elevated patches 
usually paler than the surrounding skin and 
accompanied by itching. Commonly called 
hives or nettle rash. 

Vasopressor: A drug that raises blood pressure 
by stimulating the contracting muscles of the 
ca]iillaries and arterioles. 

Veldt : The open grassy regions of the African 

Venom ajiparatus: The structural components 
that produce, transport and deliver the 
venom. In snakes, it is usually composed of 
two venom glands, two venom ducts, and two 
or more teeth or fangs. 

Vent : The common posterior opening of the 
urinary, gastrointestinal, and reproductive 
systems of reptiles; marks the beginning of 
the tail in snakes. 

Ventrals: The enlarged scales (scutes or plates) 
that extend down the undersurface of the 
body (fig. 9). 

Vesiculation : The formation of blisters. 



HOCKHT, ('. M. 10i:V Dontitional Plipnomona 
iti ('(il)riis and Otlicr Elap'uls witli Notos on 
Adaptivp Modifications of Fanps. Bull. 
Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol 81 (art 3), pp. 
285-360, figs. 1-73, pis. 48-51, maps 1-1. 

BOULENGER, G. A. 1800. Catalogue of I ho 
Snakes in the British Aruseinu (Natural His- 
tory). Vol III. Taylor and Francis, Lon- 
don, xiv -f 7*27 pp., :)7 figs., 25 pis. 

BRATTSTROAr, B. H. 1964. Evolution of the 
Pit \'ipers. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. 
Hist., vol 13, pp. 185-268, figs. 1-41. 

BUCKLEY, E. E. and FORGES, N. (editors) 
1956. Venoms. Pub. Amer. Assoc. Ad- 
vancement Sci. No. 44, xii + 467 pp., text 

COCHRAN, I). M. 1943. Poisonous Reptiles of 
the AVorld: a Wartime Handbook. Smith- 
sonian Inst. War Background Studies No. 
10, V -I- 37 pp., 2 figs., 17 pis. (1 color). 

DITMARS, R. L. 1931. Snakes of the World. 
Macmillan, New York, 907 pp., 84 pis. (Re- 
printed in paperback, 1962, Pyramid, New 

GLOYD, H. K. and CONANT, R. 1943. A 
Synopsis of the American Forms of AgMstro- 
(lon (Copperheads and Moccasins). Bull. 
Chicago Acad. Sci., vol 7, pp. 147-170, figs. 
1-16, maps 1-2. 

KAISER, E. and MICHL, M. 1958. Die Bio- 
chemie der Tierischen Gifte. F. Deuticke, 
Wien, 258 pp. 

(editors) 1963. Venomous and Poisonous 
Animals and Noxious Plants of the Pacific 
Region. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 456 pp., 
text figs. 

KLAUBER, L. M. 1956. Rattlesnakes: Their 
Habits, Life Histories and Influence on Man- 
kind. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, 2 
vols., 1476 pp., 187 figs. (2 color) . 

KLEMMKR, K. 1963. Listo der Rezenten Gift- 
srlilangcn : I^lapidac, Hydropiiidae, Viperi- 
dao und Crotalidae. In, Die Giftschlangen 
der Erde. N. G. Ehvert, Marburii/Lahn, pp. 
2.")4 KU, i)]s. 1-37 (color), map 1. 

LUDKTCE, M. 1962, 1964. Serpentes. In, 
Handbuch der Zoologie. Walter de Gruyter 
and Co., Berlin, ^■()] 7, pait 1, fasc. 5 and 6, 
298 pp., illus. 

MAKT, M. 1931. A Monograph on Snakes of 
.Tajjan. Dai-ichi Shobo (jiublisher), Tokyo, 
.Tai)an. 240 pp. 

MARX, H. and RABI?, G. B. 1965. Relation- 
ships and Z()Oge()grai)hy of the Viperine 
Snakes (Family Viperidae). Fieldiana Zool., 
vol 44, pp. 161-206, figs. 32-16. 

MASLIN, T. P. 1942. Evidence for the Separa- 
tion of the Ciotalid Genera Trimeresurus and 
ll<)f][ropn with a Key to the Genus Trimere- 
surus. Copeia, No. 1, pp. 18-24, figs. 1-2. 

MERTENS, R. 1960. The World of Amphibi- 
ans and Reptiles. (English translation by 
H. W. Parker). George G. Harrap and Co., 
London, 207 pp., 80 pis. (16 color). 

1963. Interim Statement on Snakebite Ther- 
apy. Toxicon, vol 1, pp. 81-87. 

OLIVER, J. A. 1959. Snakes in Fact and Fic- 
tion. Macmillan, New York, xiii + 199 pp., 

PARKER, H. W. 1963. Snakes. W. W. Nor- 
ton Co., New York, 191 pp., illus. 

PHISALIX, M. 1922. Animaux Venimeux et 
Venins. Masson, Paris, vol IT, xii + 864 pp., 
521 figs., 17 pis. (8 color). 

POPE, C. H. 1955. The Reptile World. Alfred 
A. Knopf, New York, xxv -f 324 pp., 221 



R. S. 1964. Bibliography of Snake Venoms 
and Venomous Snakes. Bibliographic As- 
soc, West Covina, California, 220 pp. 
SCHMIDT, K. P. and INGER, R. F. 1957. 
Living Reptiles of the World. Hanover 

House, Garden City, New York, 287 pp., text 
figs., 145 color pis. 
SWAROOP, S. and GRAB, B. 1954. Snakebite 
Mortality in the World. Bull. World HeaUh 
Org., voi 10, pp. 35-76. 




Tliis iiiik'X Ikis lieiMi prt'innvd (o lu'lp tlic lnyiniui seckinjj iiifoiiiiiition ahoiit 
poisonous snakes. Tlif tcclmiral nanii's of all (lie poisonous snakes are listed 
alpiuibet irally willi tiie speeies name liisl and the i;'enns name I'niliiw inj:' it. 
The most widely used conunon names ol' the snakes are also listed alplialieti- 
cully, followed liy the te<'hni(al names in their eustoniarv order (ixenus name 
first). Since conunon names are somi'times niisleadintr, ident ilicat ion hased on 
cominon names is not reconunended, and all inrormalion ahout the snakes will 
be founil under the technical names only. The index also contains the majoi- 
subjects treated in the text and the key words most liel|)l'ul to the leader 
seeking specific infonnation. .Maps and <j;eo;ri'a])liical dist rihnt ion tables are 
also cross-indexed lici-e. 

Common names in foi'eiiiii lani;iia<^'es have not been listed accordint;- to the 
rules of alphabetizing in tliose languages, but have l)een treated as if they 
were English words in order tf) make it easier for tlie English-sjieaking 
hiyman to find the iiifornuition he needs cpiickly. 

Arnliiptoithi.i l."l.S, Ifi^ 

.leant hophis 139, 140, 144, 146, 10!) 

achll (See Xaja nigricoUis.) 

aehipeten (See Waltcri)incsia argyptia.) 

Acrochoriliix l.TO 

aciitirontriK. Drmaiisiu 140 

aciitiis. Ai/lixtrothiii 3.S, 53. 112, 116, 128, 132, 135. 136. 10!) 

atlamaiitciiK. Cintalua 6, 36, .39, 40. IG!) 

adder (See Mpirii hiriix; also iiifjlit adder, [inff adder. 

adder : 

Arineniaii innuiilaiii (See Vipira xiinthinii.) 

Atlas (See Viprra Ichrtina.) 

Balkan cross (See Vipcra Vcrus.) 

Berg (See I! His atnipos.) 

Bibron'.s burrowinj; (See Atractaapis hihroiiii.) 

InuTowinfr tfive Alrartanpis bibroiiii.) 

butterfly (See I'itis gabonica.) 

Cape night (See Caiisus rhombeatus.) 

Cai)e puff (See liitis innrnata.) 

Ca\Kasus (See ^'iprra kaznakovi.) 

Ceiitraliau death (See Acfuithophh pi/rrbiis.) 

couinion death (.See Acatithapliis antarcliciis.) 

common Kurijpean (See Vipcra bcnis.) 

common night (See Caiisu.i rhfimbcatus.) 

Congo burrowing (See Atrarlaspis congica.) 

cross (See Vipera berus.) 

deaf (See Acanthophis antnrcticiis.) 

deatli (See Acanthophis antarcticus.) 

demon night (See Causiis rhombeatus.) 

desert (See Vipcra Ichctiiia.) 

desert death (See .Kcunlhophis i)iirr'nis.) 

Eastern sand (See Viprra ammoilgtcs.) 

European (See Vipcra bcrus.) 

green night (See Causiis ri'siriiiis.) 

horned (See liitis randiitis; liitis corniita.) 

horned puff (See liitis caiiilalis; liitis nusirnrnis.) 

Iberian cross (See ]'ipcra berus.) 

Karst (See Vipcra ursinii.) 

Levantine (See Vipcra Icbetina.) 

Lichtenstein night (See Causus lichtcnstcinii.) 

lined night (See Causus Uncatus.) 

meadow (See Vipcra ursinii.) 

mountain (See liitis atropos; Vipcra Icbetina.) 

Xfw Guinea death (See .icanthophis antarcticus.) 

niglit (See Causus ilcfilippii; Causus rcsinius; 
Causus rliombeatus.) 

Peringue.v"s (See liitis pcringueyi.) 

puff (See liitis arictans.) 

rhombic night (See Causus rliombeatus.) 

Sahara (See ]'ipcra Icbetina.) 

snouted night (See Causus defilippii.) 

snub-nosed (See Vipcra lutuxti.) 

Steppe (See }'iptra ursinii.) 

velvety green night (See Causus rcsimus.) 

western .sand (See )'ipera ammoilytcs.) 

Ad.'U 105-13 

Adiiiorhinos 89, 98 

aegyptia. Waltcritincsia 70, 81, 106, 108 

afee (See Echis carinatus.) 


Afghanistan 105-13 

Africa, Central 6. 18, 85-103, 108, 12G 

Africa, North C, 18, 74, 75, 77-84, 108, 126, 134 

Africa, South 6, 18. 80, ,S2. S.V103 

Apkintrodoii 38, 51, S3, 72-3, 75, 107, 112. 128 

Agkistrodnii in Asia_- 6-8, 7.5, 118. 128. 1.34. 169 

Agkistroihm in Central and Xorth 

America 7, 8. 37. .38, 51. 53. 7.5. 109 

aguason (See Naja naja.) 
aipomiro (See Biiis arietans.) 

Aipysiinis sp 158. 161. llil 

akipom (See Bitis arictniis.) 

Albania 71 G 

alhirinrtim. Mirnirus 60 

albocari)wtii.i, Unthrops 60 

alholahrin. Trimcrcniirux 118. 129. 132 

Algeria 74-84, 169 

alleni, Mic7-urus 48 

alnawana (See Bitis arietans.) 

Aluojilii.i 11 

altcniatiix. Bnthrops 60. 65. lil'.i 

alticola. Bothropx 61 

aluponR (See Naja naja.) (See Biin/iarus muUicmctus.) 

America. Central 6. 7. 47-58. C,s, 112. l.Ti 

America, Xorth__6, 8. is. 35-45. 49. 75. 112. 135. 136. 169 

America South 6-8. .38-9. .52. .54. .55. 59-69. 169 

(iiiiiiKiihilcs. Viixni 72. 75. 106. 111. 169 

amnuxliitdidc.i, Bothrops 61 

anal plate 28. 181 

anaphylaxis 181 

anooralis, Micninix 48, 60 

Andaman I.s 115-.30 

Andaman Sea 157-67 

and ia II us, Bothrops 61 

Angola 8.5-103 

(iiifiiisticciin. Dciidroaspis 6. S6, 92. 169 

<niii(ni(l(il<i. Kdlpliopliis 160 

annellatiis, Micriinis 60. 63 

anniilata, Boiilriii/rriiia 86. 92 

a nil iilat a, VrrniirrUn 1 l.'l 

annidatiis, Einiidorriihnhis 1.5.S 

(iitonidliis, TIialuxfioiiliiD ICO 

aiitarcliciis, Acanthiiiihis 140, 146. 169 

antivonin administriiliou 5-16. 21-2 

antivenin expiration date 21 

antivenin .sensitivity 16-7 

antivenin sources 169 

antivenom (See antivenin.) 

apical pits LSI 

AltixtdcdUiiniis 139. 140. 144. 146 

(ipprdxiinans, Rhynclioelaps 143 

npnirfritniaUs. Aipiifiin-iis 15,S 

aquatic 181 

Arabian Sea 157-67 

Arafura Sea 1.57-67 

arboreal 181 

Argentina 38. 52. 59-69, 169 

(irirtans, Bitis 6. 9. 78, 82. 87-8. 101, 106. 109. 169 

Aru 140-55 

Aruba Is .59-69 

Asia 82. 95. 112 

Asia. Southeast 6, 11.5-30 

asigirikolongo (See Bitis arirtans; Xajn liaje.) 

asp (See Cerastes vipcra.) 

a.sp. Cleopatra's (See Cerastes vipcra.) 

asp. European (See Vipcra aspis.) 

Axpidrlaps 87. 89. 91 

Aspidnmiirphiis 140. 144. 146 

aspis. Vipcra 72, 74, 169 

Astrotia 158, 162. 165 

liter. Xotcchis 150 

aterrinia. A trui-tnxpis 88 

Athcris 87. 89. 98-9. 103 

.itractaspis 79. 81-2, 87. 89. 99. 100. 106-8 

atropos, Bitis ,SS, 100 


Bothrops 6. 26. 48-9. 54. 61-2. 66. 169 

alio.r. Crotahis 6. 36. 39-41. .50. 1(59 

Australia 6. 139-1.5.5. 169 

austral is. Brarhyiirophis 140 

australis. I'scii<lechis 143. 152. 169 

Austria 71-6. 169 

autoi>harmacological substances 5, 181 

iiicrjii. Micrurus 60 

A:eniii,p.i Hi). 126 

bnik-fangcd snake (See Displinlidiis tiipu.i.) 
balaiwona (See .\tractaspis micrnJcpidota.) 
lialcwol (See .Xtriictaspis microlepidota.) 
lialor (See Xaja naja.) 

Iiiil:inii. }[ierurus 60 

bamboo snake (See Trimcrcsiinis gramineus; Trimere- 
siiriis stejncgeri : Trimcrcsiinis iragleri.) 

Handa Sea 157 (>7 

banded snake (See Micropecliis elapoidcs.) 
b;indcd snake : 

desert (See I'ln/nelioelnps fiertlioldi.) 
.lan's (See Bliiinchoclaps ticrtholdi.) 
Stephen's (See Uoplncephalus stephevsii.) 
bandy-bandy (See Bhjiiieliorlaps hertholdi : VennireUa 

iiiinultita. \ 
bandy-bandy, nortliorn (See Hhiiiieliorlaps Iiertlioldi.) 
baitia aniarilla (Sec Hotlirops atrox.) 

harliouri. .Idcnorhinos 86, 98 

tiiirhuuri. Bothrops 48 

bardick (See Braehj/aspis ciirta.) 
bargil (See Walterinnesia acgyptia.) 
Rarnard snake (See Gli/phodon harnardi.) 

fiariiardi. Ghiphodon 142 

hariietti. Hotlirops 61 

bartczgooremil (See .Acanthophis antarcticiis.) 

Iiiixilixi'iis. Crotaliis .50. 56. 169 

Basutoland 8.5-103 

Bass Straits I.slands 140-.55 

hattcrsbiji. .itractaspis 88 

Bay of Bengal 157-67 

bead snake (See Micrurii.i fulriii.i.) 

hrddnmei. Calliophis 116 

belalang (See Ophiophagus hantiah.) 

helcheri. Hydrophis 158. 166 

Belgium 71-6 


lnTijiiticr I Si't- I i/xru siinlliinn.) 

hiiiiiiih. Miiriinm . 1^ 

III ilhnliti. l\hiiiu'ltoihipn I i:; 

liifiiii. I'tpini 

«. 1), 7-_'. 74. SI. 10.'!. 1(1(1, 111. li;7. l.-fJ. l.T.. Kl'.i 

lics|)fcliii'li'»l .Miiiikf (See \iijit iiuja.) 
Ili'cliuaimluiul (See Itutswaiiu. ) 

Itlinlaii.. -.lir>-:«) 

liibroiii. (•illlini}hh ItC. IL'-J. 1.T5 

hiliriiiiH, .[lntrlii.ii)i» HH, 99 

hicolor. liiilhriips Is 

hiriilitr, iKliiHiiiiUirrphulun 143, 153 

liiliiiiiitiin, Aijkiilriiiliiii (1. 1^, 'I 

hiliiii iiliix, liiithriiitH til, 65 

himaviilata, Vrrmirella 143 

l>inl siiiike ( Sw Tlirliiliiniis kirtlaiiilii.) 
liirit till (See Trimircnurxs sumatranux.) 

Hi.-imark Island 140-."." 

Iiite ( See fanes, mortality from bites, symptoms, 

treatment, venom.) 

liitiuK mechanism 4 

Ititis 79, 82, 87, 80, lOO-.'J. 107, 109, l(i9 

bitorqitatim. Hoptnrcphaliis 142 

hitiibrrciilatiifi. Hiiilrdphis 158 

hivirijiita. ifaticara 110. 122. i:i4 

lilaok-Uellied .snake (See Denisonin pallidicep-i ; Denisonia 


Iilack-lieaded snake I Sec Dciiixiiniti iiimhlii.) 
l>laek-naiied snake (See Thnisunia r/inililii ; Wriiiirdlii 

Mack-striped snake (See Denisrmia nif/rustriata ; \'tr- 

tiiirillii raliiiiiita. t 
Macksnake I See Dixiilniliil iin lii/iiix of Africa; 

Pki iiihrhiH purpliiiriiiciix of Australia.) 
lilacksnake : 

desert (See 'Walterinncsia acgyptia.) 
Egyptian (See WaltcrinneHia argyptia.) 
Papuan (See Pseiidechis papuanus.) 
red-tiellied (See Pxciiilrchis porphyriiicus.) 
spotted I See Pseiidcchis cnllctti.) 

hlomhoffii, AijkiHirodiiii lialy.s 136 

tiocaraca (See liatliropx xflilvgelii.) 

hiirinirti. MicniniH GO 

boettgcri, CaUinphis 132 

bolcininga (See Crotaliis durinsus.) 
boipeva (See Hothrops itapctiningae.) 

Kolivia 3s. ."",2. .".(1. ."ill c.'.t 

boma (See Bitis arietaus.) 
boonislang (See nisplmlifliix typiis.) 

Borneo ll.'-.SO 

lioriiuira (See Crotaliix riiirissiix.) 

hoschmai. Dcnixaiiia 42 

bosre (See Elapxoidca .iiiridrr-allii.) 

Rrithmpx 6-8. 40, r,l, 54, 65. 120. ICO 

Botswana 8.".-103 

houhiigcri, Atractaspis 88 

HitiiJriiyirhta 80, 91 

[{rarlniaxpis 144. 147 

llrurhyiiropliix 130. 143, 14.5. 147 

braza de piedra (See liothrops niunmifcr.) 

Brazil .50-00. 169 

liii I iriiiiilii.i, \<il:inli iiilini liiilyx . 186 

bcllli'iisclilaiigc (Sec \ii)ii iiiija.) 

llrlllsli Ciiiana 50-69 

liiitisb llondiiriis 47-03 

Itrilisli Isles (excepi IrcNiuill 71-0 

broad-bended snake i Sec llniihii; plmlux liiini/iiniiihs.} 

briiiikri, II yilriipliix . l."S, IOC, 

brown snake (See DenuinHia tPTtiHn of Australia; 

Dixplidliiliix lypiis of .\frica.) 
brown banded snake (Sec Xalicliix .iciiliiliiii.) 
bripwnlicaded siiaUc (Sec (i'Ii/ijIiikIhii Irixti.i.) 

hrmnii, Micninix 48 

bcownsnake : 

collared (See Doninisia tcrtiiis.) 

common (See Dciiianxia tcxlllix.) 

Kiant (See Oxyiiruniis xciitcllatiiH.) 

king (Sec I'siialirlnx inixtriiliH.) 

lilllc I Sec llldiKifiiiiilli iix iiiiiior.) 

Pod I'arwiii (Sec I'sriifhch is a iistntlis.) 

s|iollc(l (Sec III iiKinsiii Iv.rtitix.) 
bruinka|iel (See Xaja luvca.) 

hriiniicii, Driiisiiiiia 142 

Imkizi (Sec Ih mlninsiiin jniinxdiii.) 
bidabnndoo (See Kitix (irictiiHX.) 

Bdlsaria 71-6 

biiliilu (See fiiti.i urictans.) 

hinii/aniiilc.s. I! idigiini.i 110. 120, 133 

hiiiiiiiiriiiilis. lliiiiloriiiliiihis 142, 149 

ninigai-Kx 0. 10. 11. 117, 119, 120, 133, 1.34, 169 

Burma 11.-h-.30. 133 

Imrrek (See Aciiiitliopliis antarcticiix.) 

burrowing snake. Roper (See lirachyiirophis ropcri.) 

Burundi 8.->-103 

busbniaster (See Tjiichcxix niutiis.) 

riienilvxriiix. Jl yilinphiH l."(8, 166 

viicnilrtix. Hiiiitfiinis 6, 116, 120, 169 

caicac.a (See liolhriipx atrox.) 
calabucab (See IJiidroyhix ormitiix.) 

ciiUigiixtcr, Culliopliis 1-32 

CdllUiphix 119, 121, 133, 134 

Ctillopliix (See CalUophis.) 

ralnnnta. Vcrmirrlln 143 

camamala (See Xajti nnja.) 

ramlM)dia 115-30 

Cameroon 85—103 

I'diiipbrlli. Ilrucliyiirophix 140 

Canada 39, 55. 68 

canaliculated 181 

can did IIS, Buiigariis 116, 120 

canesnake. brown (See Oxyurannx xriitcUatiis.) 

cnntbal scales 181 

cant bus 181 

cantil (Hee Agkistriiddii bilincatus.) 

CO II tori. Trinicrrxiinix 118 

<-aiitorix, ilicrorcphnlophix 160 

Cape snake (See Dixpliolidiix typus.) 

caragaiiiis, Agki-ilrndrni hiilgx 76 

cardiotoxin 118 

raribhaeiis, Bothropx 61, 65 


car hiatus. Eehis 

6, 9, 78, 83-4, 88, 103, 106, 110, 116, 126, 169 

carinattis, Tropidcchis 143. 154 

carlnicauda, Micrnrus 60 

carpentariae, Denisonia 142 

cascahel (See CnitiihiH iliiriitxiiii ; iMClicxix niiitKf:.) 

cascabela (See Crotalus durissiis.) 

oascabela iruula (See LarlicsiH niiitim.) 

cascavel (See ('rulaliin diirismiK; Laclirxin iiiutun.) 

castchiaiidi, fSotlirops 61 

catalincnsis, Crotalus 50 

catenatiis. Sistninis 36, 43, 44, 50, 57 

caiidalis. Bitis 88, 100, 103 

("edros Is 50 

Causus 79, 82, 87, 89, 102 

Celebes 11.5-30 

Celebes Sea 157-67 

Central Africa Republic 85-103 

Central Pacific 157-67 

Ceram 140-1.55 

Cerastes 79, 82, 84, 89, 107, 109, 110, 169 

cerastes, Cerastes 78, 82, 106, 109, 110, 169 

cerastes, Crotalus 6, .36, 45, .50, 86 

ceratophoriis, Atheris 86 

Ceylon 83, 11.5-30 

ccyloiiiciis, Bnngarus 116. 120 

Chad 77-84 

chain snake (See Vipera riisselii.) 
Chandra bora (See Vipera riisselii.) 

ehaseni, Trimeresiiriis lis 

cbatilla (See linthnips laiishirr;ii.) 
chikorviri (See Kilis arirtaiis.) 

Chile .59-69 

chin shields 181 

China, 131-8 

China, Southeast 115 30 

chinigani (See Causiis.) 
chipuknpaku (See Hitis caiidalis.) 
cbi-tsun-tssie (See .\(jkistr()d(m lialys.) 
chitti (See liimiianis eiirriilciis.) 
chittul (See Ht/drophis cyniiociiictus.) 
chiva (See Hitis arictaiis.) 

chlorocchis, Atheris 86. l>'.t 

cliciichodd (See liilis arietuiis; Ciiiisiis rliiiiiiheatiis.) 

christteaniis, Aspidnmorplnis 140 

christyi, BoulengeritM 86 

chuniniar (See Xnja iiaja.) 

circinalis, Micruriis 60 

clarki, Micruriis 48 

clothing, protective 2 

coalescens, Atractaspis 88 

cobra : 

African black (See Kiiju mrhiiioUiu-ii.) 

Anchita's (See Naja anchictae.) 

banded (See Naja liajc.) 

banded water (See BoiiJengcrina annulata.) 

black (See Naja liaje; Naja melaiioleuca ; Pseudo- 
hajc poldii.) 

black and white-lipped (See Naja mclaiwlcuca.) 

black-collared ( See A'rt^'o iiiffricnllis.) 

black forest (See Pscudohaje goldii.) 

black-lipi)ed (See Naja melaiioleuca.) 

l)lack-necked (See Naja iiif/ricoUis.) 

black-necked spitting (See .Vf/;« iiigricollis.) 

Borneo (See Naja naja.) 

brown (See Naja liaje.) 

burrowing (See Paraiiaja miiltifasciata.) 

Cape (See Naja iiivca.) 

Central Asiatic (See Naja naja.) 

Chinese (See Naja naja atra.) 

coral (See Micrnrus eorallinus: Micruriis frontalis.) 

de Capello (See Naja naja.) 

desert (See Waltcrinncsia acgyptia.) 

Egyptian (See Naja hajc.) 

forest (See Naja mclanolciica.) 

Gold's (See Pscudohaje goldii; P.icud<>haje nigra.) 

Gold's tree (See Pscudohaje goldii.) 

Giinther's (See Elapxoidca sinidcrallii.) 

hoodless (See \Yaltcriniicsia acgiiptia.) 

Indian (See Saja naja.) 

king (See Ophiopliagiis haiinah.) 

JIalay (See Naja naja.) 

nionocellate (See Naja naja.) 

nionoch'd (See Naja naja.) 

Morgan's (See 11'(i/((i-/Hiic.'(ia acggplia.) 

oxus (See Naja naja.) 

Takistanian (See Naja naja.) 

ring-necked spilling (See UcmacUalus haemacha- 

rock (See .V(/;« liaje.) 

South African spitting (See Ileinachatus hacmacha- 

spitting (See lli niachatus ; Naja: Naja iiiija xpula- 
trix; Naja nigricollis.) 

Storm's water (See Honlcngrriiia annulata.) 

swartnek (See Naja nigricollis.) 

tree (See I)<ndroa.'<pis.) 

water (See Boiilengcrina.) 
coffin snake (See Vipera lehctina.) 
colgadora (See Bothrops schlcgclii.) 
collared snake. Australian (See Glgphodon.) 
collared snake. d(>ul)le- (See lloploccphalus hitorqiiatus.) 

cidlaris. Lcptomierurus 60 

colletti, Pseudcehis I'lS 

Colombia 5.5. 99-69. 169 

eoloratus. Echis 78. 83. 103. 106. 110. 126, 169 

Colubridae H. 31. 8.5-7. 00-1 

coliihrina. Laticaiida 160, 163 

conipressetl I'^l 

ciingica. Atractaspis 88 

Congo 8.5-103 

Congo, Democratic Republic of 85-103 

ccmstriction l)and 14, 17, 181 

conti)rtri.r. Agh-istrodon..ii. .36. 38-9. .53. 75, 112, 128, 1.35 

conrictus, Trimcrcsurus 118 

cojiper snake (See Pseudcehis australis.) 
coiiperhead (See Agkistrodon eontortrij.) 
copperhead ; 

American (See Agkistrodon contortrix.) 

Australian (See Denisonia supcrba.) 

Northern (See Agkistrodon contortrix m-okeson.) 


Trillls-IVros ( Si'«> .iljkialriiiliiii I'tnilnrliij- pirliyas 
tir. ) 

SololllOIIN ( Sl<<' /l<'»l 1.411)1 ill pill.) 

Soutlicrii I Sco Aijkinlroiliiii cinitDitrij-.) 
ri>riil I St-*' Mii'iiini.1 s|>. ( 

oornl. KtirKiinlllla (See MU'riinin niiiturtilii.i.) 
I'onillllo ( S»'e MirniniH sp.) 

C'linil Sen I'm i!7 

(■i>nil siiiikc; 

Afrii'iiii I St'c Axiiiihlaiin hihririis.) 

Ainiuiiii sU'iulcr (Set" fjiplDiiiirniiiis iKinliirfii.) 

Aiiiti/.oniiin ( Si>«' Mh-nini.i .«;)i.rii.) 

Ain«'fi<'!lli I Sec LiiiltmiiiTitnix ; M iiiiiiniihn ; Mirni- 

rii.i. \ 
niitu'lhiti'd I Sci" MiiTiinis innnlldlii.i.) 
Arizona (Sec MiciiiiDiilin ciiriiJ-niilhiis.) 
Asian ( St'(> ('Hlliopliis jiipiniiciin ; CiiUinpliin sinilcri.) 
Aiisliiilian l Sec linirhiiiirnpliiH iitixiriilix.) 
liaiult'd (Sec ('allinplii.i iiiiii-clilhuiilii.) 
l)an(l(Ml Malaysian ( Sco Maticora intcitiiidlis.) 
licautiful I Sec CuUUiphi.i vaUifiastvr.) 
black-banded (See ifirruniK nifirocinctnx.) 
black-ringed (See Micrunm mipartitim.) 
blue Malaysian (See Maticora biriiy/ata.) 
bniad-banded (See MicriiniK ilistaiix.) 
Fit/.iiiKer's (See Mi<-nini.i fltziiii/iTi.) 
fliant (See Micninis xpixii.) 
graceful (See CaUiophis f/nirili.i.) 
Ileniprich's {See Micniriis liciiipricliii.) 
Jan's Mexican (See .\tii-riiriis nffinis.) 
li>nj;-Klanded (See ilatioora.) 
Kelliii,'K's (See Callinplii-i Lilliii/i/i.\ 
Macclelland's (See CalUopliis nia<-clilliin<Ui.) 
McCliinj; (See ('iilliiipliis rallipa.ster.) 
iiriental (See Callifipliix : Tfoiiihiini/ariis; Miiticiini.) 
I'acitic (See Mirmpcrliis.) 
Rio de .laniero (See Miriiinix i-iirtiHiiius.) 
slender (See Calliopliix mclaiiiinix ; Lrplnmirninis.} 
sinall-sjiotted (See Callinplii.i mdciilirrpn.) 
Sonoran (See Micriiniidrs ciirtixantlnif!.) 
Southern (See Mirnini.i frniitaUx.) 
spotted (See CnlliaphiH firarilix.) 
striiied (See Callinplii.i japoiiiriis.) 
Surinam (See AticriiruK .mriiiamcihsi.i.) 
Taiwan (See Calliopliis macclcllandii.) 
tropical (See Micriini.i frnntali.'i.) 

coralliniis. Mirnini.i fiO 

coniiita. liiti.t H8. 100 

corn lit 11.1. TrinicrciiiriiK 11*^ 

coroiiata. Dciiixniiia 141.' 

coronated snake (See Dciiisonia cornnata.) 

coronoidcx. Dciiixtiiiia 141i 

corpiilciita. A trartaxpix 88, 100 

Costa Rica 47 

cotiara. Bothrop.i (^i1. ](!!• 

cotiarinha (See liothrops itapetiningae.) 
cottonnionth (See Ai/kixtrodon piscivorus.) 
crachenr (See Saja iiiyricoUis.) 

crockeri. Laticaiida ICO 

(•rotalidae_-2r,. 31. 38, 51, ,53-7, 60-1, (i.5-f), 72, 75, 100, 
121 128-9, 13.5-7, 169 

crolalldM -- - M, INI 

rrotalus 0-8, 18, 37, 39, 43, 51, 55, .IT, 01-2. 67, U!l» 

crown 27, 181 

crowned snake (Sec Driiixoiiiii roriinntn.) 
crowned snake : 

dwarf (See .\iipiiloiiiorpliiii krcfflii.) 
golden (See Anpidoiiiorplnin Kqiiamalonun.) 
wliilc (See AspiilomorpliiiH liarriettac.) 
i'natro narices (See Itolhropx atnu; Tinthrops caxtcl- 

Cnlia 02 

cure ( See treatment.) 

curt a. Unicliiiiixpix 140. 146 

cur tux, Lapciiiix KiO 

ci/anocinctu.i. Uytlrnphis 158, 165 

cyi'io-'^is 181 

Czechoslovakia 71-6 

dali kwin^jd (Sec Snjii itiiiricolli.^.) 
datioia (See Vipcra riixxclii.) 
(laj.;ar (See liiti.^ arictaiis.) 

Dahomey 8.5-103 

dahomeyciixi.'i. Atrartaspis 88 

darnel ii, Dcni.soiiia 142 

dariia (See Pxciidichi.'s aiistralis.) 

daririiiiciixix. Ilj/drclupx 1.58 

Diixiiprllix 83, 110. 143 

dccoratux, }ficruriix 60 

dcfilippii, Caiixux 88 

Dcmanxia 140, 14.5, 147, 169 

Dcndronxpis 6, 10-11, 87, 89, 90, 92, 169 

dcndrophila. Boiga 11 

Dniisoiiia 142, 144-5, 148 

depressed 181 

desert snake (See Brachyaspis curta.) 

desert snake, little (See Elapognathux minor.) 

dcrixi. Driiixonia 142 

diadem snake (See Aspidomorphus diadema.) 

ili tide Ilia. .\xpidoiiiorpIi NX 140 

diamond snake (See Dciiisonia superba.) 

diiixtciiia. ifirriirux 48, 53 

diriora (See Oxijuranus scutellatus.) 
disi (See Naja nigricoUis.) 

dissolcucus, Micrurus 4.S, GO 

distal 181 

dixtanx, MicruruH 48, 53 

distribution charts of poisonous snakes .36, 48, 60, 72, 

7S. ,S6, 88. 106, 116, 118. 132, 140, 142-3, 1.58, 160 

diurnal 41, 181 

djalinioo (See Trinurcxiiriix iiaglcri.) 

I>.jain]ica Is 11.5-30 

dorsalix. Elap.'i 86 

dorsals 28, 181 

double-collared snake (See Hoplocephalus bitorquatus.) 
dreieckskopfe (See Agkistrodon.) 

duhoixii, Aipysuriis 1.58 

dudbe (See Acanthnphis antarcticus.) 

duerdeni. .itractaspis 88 

dugite (See Demansia tcrtilis.) 

dukaitch (See Pseudechis porphyriacus.) 

dumerilii, Micrurus 60 


dunduRU (See Naja tiigricolHs.) 

dtiiiensi.i. Tropidechis 143 

dunmalU. Glyphodon 142 

dunni, Boihrops 48 

duim karawala (See Bnngnrus crylniiiriis.) 

diiriKsiix, ('riitalus..^y-l. 39. 49. .",0. .">."). Cl-2. G(5. 68. 69. 

dwarf snake. Krefft's (See Aspidoiitftrphiis kicfftii.) 
dwyeri, Dcnisoitia 142 China 131-8 China Sea ir>7-67 

ecch.vm().si.s 7-8, 11. 181 

echide carenee (See Echi.i carijiatKH.) 

Echis—U. 79, 83, 84, 87, 89, 103, 107, 110. 119. 120. 1G9 

Ecuador w-6. .")9-69 

edema 7-9. IKl 

EDTA 23 

efa (See EcIiIk carinntiiK.) 

effects of snake venom 38 

ef'eh (See Erhis rdhirntiiK.) 

ehe (See Thrlntoniix kirUdiirlii.) 

EK.vpt (See Tnitcd Ar;ih I{c|iiiliUc i 

El Salvador 47 

Elai>idae..27, 31, 38, 51-3, GO, 6.3-r., 78. 80-1, 86-7. 91- 

8, lOG, 108. 117-25, 1.3.3-5, 140-55, 169 

elapids 80, 87, lOS. 144. ISl 

elaiiid snakes, amount of venom ejected 6. 38 

elai>id snakes, bites 10-12. IS. .38 

elapid snakes, fangs 5. 2G-7. 141 

clapoidcx. Mivropcrhix 142. 148. l.">0 

ElapounathiiK 139. 142. 14.'). 149 

Elaps 87. 89. <M 

ElapKoidra 79. 80, 89, 94 

rlraaiin. ni/driiphi.i l.W 

clrffans. Micriinis 4S 

rlrr/aiin, Tiinirrrsiiniii 132. 137 

elongate snake (See Tii-iii-nciilininix loiitiinHiiiiiis.) 
embalasasa (See ('diixiix rlmiitlicdtii.i.) 

K)iniiliic( iiliiiliis l."i,s. ICil 

niiiaddviixis. Mnirtaxpin 78. 81. 99, 106, 108-9 

viii/dahli. A tnicliixpin .s.s 

Ei)hiidri)i(i 6, 158. 163, 167, 169 

Kiihiidrix 159 

envenomation 181 

eniin, Crotalun .50 

Epliiilopliin 1.5,8. IGl 

cpliippifcr, Miminiit 48 

e(niis (See liotliropn atrn.r.) 

erabu-unafsi (See Laticiiiidn xcniifascidtd.) 

Erinticophix 107. 110, 119. 126 

cryHirnmdas. liothrops (11 

erythruriis, Tr/wrrcs- »)■».« 118 

Enix 73. 127 

esau (See Triincrrxiiriix i/nniiiii( us ; TriiiK-n'siinis 

essalambwa (See liilis arictaiix.) 

Ethiopia 8.5-103 

Europe 6. 38. 53. 71-G. 112. 1.35 

runu'diithiiK. Mirniroidcs .36. .38. 48-9. 51. 52, 169 

exsul. Crotalim .50 

extravasation 181 

eydouxi. Aipysiinis 1.58 

eye (sizes) 26-7. 181 

eyelash snake (See Bothrops schlegclii.) 

fang, functional 5. 182 

fang marks 2. 1.5. 18 

Far 131-8 

fasciata, Deuisoiiia 142 

fa.Hciaiii.i. Binitjani.H 116. 120-1. 138. 169 

faxrintiix, Hyilmpliis 158. 165 

faKciattis. TriDirrr.iiiiiix 119 

fanririlatim. Brarliyiinipliix 140 

fas<iotomy 23. 182 

fear. A:c)iiiiip.i 116. 126 

fei-shang-ts'ao (See Aykistrodoii lialys.) 
Fer-de-lance (See Bnthropn laiirrolatus.) 
field a. Pxeiidocrraxtrx (See P. pcrnira.) 
fierce snake (See Paradcniaiiiia microlcpidota.) 

filifnrmix. Miiriinin 60 

Fiji Islands 140-.55 

Fiji snake (See Ogmodon rHianiis.) 

Finland 71-6 

First-aid treatment 13-9 

fitzingcri. ^firnlnlH 48-9. .52 

five iiacer (See Agkixlrndon ariiiiis.) 
five-ringed snake (See Dciiiaiisid iiKidtxta.) 
fi.vab (See Ccrdxlis ccrantm.) 

fdgillum. Driiixiiiiin 142 

ftdriccpK. BiingdriiK 116. 121 

flaioiiuiciildtii.i. Tiiiiirrrsiinin 132 

flavfiviridix. Triiiincsiinin 1.32. 137. 169 

Flores Sea 157-67 

fdliosqiiama. Aipysiinix 158 

fonfoni (See Ciinxnx rliomhralim.) 

foiixcrai. Bnt limps 61 

fossokere (See Ecliis cariiiatiix.) 

France 71-6. 1G9 

Fmlrik-IIendrik 140-.55 

French Guiana 59-69 

French Somaliland 85-ia3 

frontal 182 

fniiitali.i. Micninis 60, 64 

fuko (See Caiisux rrsimiix.) 

fiilriiis Mirninix 6. 36. 38. 4S. 1G9 

fumbe (See Xdja mildiiDltiira.) 

fune (See Driidrudxpix diigiixticcpx.) 

fiixciix. Aipiixiinis 158 

Gabon ^ 8.5-103 

i/nhnnira. BUix 87-8. 101. 169 

galobon (See Athcrix clilttrcchis.) 

Gambia S5-103 

gargantilla (See Micninix.) 
gartersnake : 

African (See Ehipxtiidca xinidcidllii.) 

black (See Elapxoidca sinidcrallii.) 

Southern (See Elapx lactciix.) 

Southeastern (See Elapxoidid xiiiidcnillii.) 
gartersnakes. African dwarf (See Elapx.) 
geelkapel (See Xajd tiivca.) 


m-iiiTli- ki-y :U, M. IIL', 7:j. 7!». mii. KtT. nil III. 
l.M». UU 

tiiTiimiiy 71-(1. mil 

(ilmim m. H.-, iii:i 

kIiioI .V|ilst<M-nlniiiiiN (S(><> Apiatocalamiis grandis.) 
uinyiiml'lla i Sit' I ten> in itiiliilrpin.) 
cinlli-d siiiikcs (See Kriii/ij/Hiiiji/ii*.) 
Kjiirza ( St'f I ijii Id h In linn.) 

Ullipliuiluii -.111;, III.".. 149 

Koliorl ( S«>o Ojriiuranii.1 Kciitrllatiis.) 

godmaiiiii. lUtlhropn 1^ 

tiolilii. I'siiiilnhiiji- 8(i. 97 

goiildii, Diiii.iiiiiiu 1 I'-' 

grai-ilin. ('ullioiihin 1 Hi 

Urai-ili.t, .\l irriK-riiliiilnpliin KiO, 166 

gracilis. Trimcmninm I.!- 

ijraminciis. Trimcrrsiirii.i 1 is. I'ii' 

firanriia, Apislocalamiix 14((, 14(> 

(Iriiiiia 92 

Kreen snake ( Seo Dinpholiiliix tupiix.) 

OrpjH'o K'yrlades ami ("ypni.s) 71 »! 

Greece ( Mainland ) 71 H 

srey .<nake (See Pritiaiixiu psamnKipliin.) 

grcyi. Eplialophis 158 

Guatemala 47, r>3-4 

Guinea 85-103 

Riilars 182 

Gulif of Carpentaria 157-67 

(!nlf of Siani l.'i7-(!7 

Oiippy's snake (See Dcnisoiiia par.) 
gurukezi (See DispholitlK.i liiiiii.i.) 

guttata. Dcmansia 1 Id 

gwardae (See Dcmansia text His.) 

liabu (See TrinirrcsKriis /luvoriridi.s ; Trimcrcxiini.s 

luibu : 

Arisan (See Triinrrcsiinis monticola.) 
Chinese (See Trimcrcsiirus wiicr(i.s(iiiamaiiis.) 
Okinawan (See Trimcrcsunis /lavuviridi.'i: 

Trimerestirus okinarciisi.t. ) 
Sakashinia (See Trinirrcsiirit.s cleriaii.s.) 
Taiwan (See Trim(rc.'<iini.<< mtifriis(iuaniatii.<i.) 

liaentachatKS. Hcniarliatii« SG-l, 89. 94-6, 169 

Iniijcni. Trimcrcsiirus ll.S 

haia amia (See I'ipcra lcl)ctina.) 

haia soda (See Waltcriniicsia acgijptia.) 

hnjc. Xaja 78, 80, 86-7, 95, 106, 108, 134. 169 

lialf-banded snake (See Rracliiiiirophis scmifa.'iciatits.) 

lialf-Rirdled snake (See liraclnjiiniphi.s .irmifusciatiis.) 

half-ringed snake I See Hraclnjiiroithi.s .srmifasciatiis.) 

iKilji.K. .\!il;i'itn,iU>ii^J.\H. .-i3. 72-3, 75. KMi. 112. 116. 128. 
1.32. 135, 136, 169 

halysotter (See nidon }tal\i.\.) 

haniadrayad (See Ophiopliagiin hannah.) 

haini (See .Igkistrodon halii.i.) 

Iiamiali. Ophiopliagiis 116. 119. 125. 132. 135. 169 

liantirickii. Lapcnii.s 160. 1(56, 169 

harletiuin (See Mirriirii.<i.) 

harleiiuin snake I See .]tirriirii.i fiilriii.':.) 

harriettac. Aijiiilummiihiis 140 

ha(o|.l hnl ( Si-e CiillinphiH .iiiiiliri.) 

hrilii/iri, I'arapixtttcatamun 1 l.'l. 1 l'^. 152 

llcmarhatiin 8«-7, HO, HI. Kill 

lliiiiihiiiniiirua (See CalliophiH) 

li('ino(;loliln(iriM 182 

henioloxin. 5, 7, 182 

himprirliii. ^ficruriiii 60, 64 

Itiriililica. miis SS 

liiiiiiilajiainis, .{gkistnidon 116 

himehalid (See Trimcrcsiirus tikiiiarcnsis.) 
liiiniiiin (See .Mraclnspis micrtilcpidota.) 

hi lid a. \ iiicra HH. 103 

li'ion (See Hitis galmnirii.) 
hirngdchi (See .\yl;istri>iliiii IkiIi/s.) 

llisi.aiiiola 62 

lii.'<pidus, .Mlicris 80 

liollaiidi. Micriirus 60 

Honduras 47. 53 

hontipeh pura (See Naja naja.) 

hoogl.V liaKee ( Se<' Eiiliiidriiiii srhixlnsii ; Knhiidriiia 
riilakaihiii. ) 

ll(,l>li,i-,lihalu.i 1 12. 1 I I. 149 

horingadder (See liitis caudalis.) 
hornsnian (See lUtis coniiita.) 
lioro (See JUtis nasicornus.) 

horridus. Crotalus 6. 36. 43 

huggorni (See Vipcra hcrus.) 
liinidrcd pacer (See .Xgkistrodoii iiriiliix.) 
hundred-pace snake (See Agki.stnidiiii aciiliis.) 
hundred segment snake (See liiuigarus multicinctus.) 

Ihuifiary 71-6 

hul..<chlangen (See Xaja.) 

hutschlange, .sch\varzvvei.sse (Sec Xaja iiu lunnhiicn.) 

hiittoiii. Trimcrcsiirus 118 

hyappoda iiiee .igkistrodon acutiis.) 

Uijdnlapx 158, 162 

Hildropliidae 157-67, 169 

lliidriiphis 158, 162. 164-5 

li iluiirorii.s. Until rops 61 

h illiiialc. Ai/ki.-ilniihiii 118, 128 

ihiliolioca (See .Micnini.s /( huu'.stk/k.v. ) 

ihihiikii. Micriirus 60 

iliululu I See Bitis arictaiis.) 

Ifni 77-84 

iglcsiasi. Roth rops 61 

ikahcka. ilicropccliis 142. 150 

iloyi (See ?i^aja hajc.) 

imbricate 182 

iuifczi ( See Xu/u iiiijricollis.) 
iNauihezulu ( See /*i.s;»/i()/(V/h.s tiipus.) 

incision 14-5 

India 83, 115-30. 133, 169 

iuDlonlo (See I! it is cuiidalis.) 

Indonesia 115-.30, 169 

infralabials 182 

inhlanhlo (See Displiolidiis tijpiis.) 

iiioniiita. Hiti.t 88 

insular is. Hot limps 61 

iiitcriiirdiii.'t. Agkistrodon lialj/s 75-6 

iiilcniii'diii.'i. ('ratiiliis 50 


interna.sal(s) 182 

intcntiitalis, Maticora 116, 122, 132 

intrapcritdneal 182 

iNyusliii (See Displiolidua typiis.) 
ipHiniiii (See llotiiicliiitiix liacnKirhatiix ; Xiijii 

Iran 105-13. 169 

Iraq 105-13 

irrbartbart (See Pseudechis australis.) 

irregularis, Atractaspis 88 

isikbotsbolo (See yaja nwea.) 

isozonus, Micrurus 00 

Israel 81, 99, 103, 105-13, 109 

Italy 71-6. 169 

itaprtiningae, Hothrops 61 

Ivory Coast 85-103 

iwamkii, CaUidphin 1.32 

jajaraca, Hothrops 61, 66, 169 

.Tamalra 62 

jamcsoni, Denilroaspifi 86. 93 

Japan 131-8. 169 

jararaca (See Hothrops jajaraca; liothrops nniiriitli.) 
jararaca pintada (See Hothrops neiiiiicili.) 
jararacussii (See Hothrops jararactissii.) 

jararacussii, Hothrops 61. 66, ICO 

iarlonc (See Pscudrchis australis.) 

.Tava 115 30 

.lava Sea 1.57-67 

javaniciis, Hungariis 116 

jcrdotiii, Krrilia 160 

jcrdoiiii. Triiucrcsiinis 118. 132 

.Tordan 10.5-13 

jumping, snake (See Hothrops nmnmifcr.) 

.inxtn|)fis('d (scales) 30. 182 

kaapse KeelslaiiK (Sec Xaja nirra.) 
kadel iiaf^aiii (See II i/dropliis spiralis.) 
kadel paiulju (See II iiilroiihis .■<iiiralis.\ 

Kai 140-55 

kake (See Hriiiarhatus hacniachatus; \aja nigricollis.) 
kale shootursun (See Ilydrophis oJtsriinis.) 
kalelea (See Caiisiis rhottihcatiis.) 
kalllelala (See Displiolidiis tj/piis.) 

hdiiliiirinisis, Triiiiinsiinis 118 

kaniiadi virian (See \'ipcra riissriii.) 
Kajxcibia (See Naja nirra.) 
karawala (See Hiiiu/arus (■cjilonicus.) 
karsotler (See Vipira iirsinii.) 
kasanibwe (See Caiisii.t rhuinhi atiis.) 

Kashmir 115-30 

kassa (See Hitis arietans.) 

Katanfjrnsis, .{thrris 86 

l;aiilharl;i. Trinicrcsiiriis 118 

kaiiryala (See Viprra riissriii.) 
kawon (See Knhiidriiia .scliistosa.) 
kawosia ( See A'«;'f/ >ii(;ri<^illis.) 
kawriya (See Hiiiii/ariis racriilciis.) 

kaznakori, Vipvra 72, I("i 

keaiitia (See l^aja naja.) 

keisaii (See TrimrrcsKriis i/niiiiiiiciis.) 

kcllofji, Calliophis 116 

kendawang (See Maticora birirgata.) 

Kenya 8.5-103 

Kcrilia 160. 102 

keriil patte (See Hiidrophis >iifirici>ictiis.) 
khaiigala (See Dispholidus typiis.) 
kbuppiir (See Echis carinatiis.) 
kigau (See Xaja nigrirollis.) 
kiiri (See Hitis arietans.) 
kikanga (See Xaja iiir/rirollis.) 
kinaiigananga (See Caiisiis drftlippii.) 

kitii/ii. Ifi/ilrnphis 1.58 

kijjara niinga (See Xaja haje.) 
kipili (See Hitis arietans.) 
kipiri (See Hitis arietans.) 

kirtlandii. Theolotornis 86-7. 89. 91 

kisigosogo (See .\thrris siiiianiiorra.) 
kissadi (See Hitis nasicorniis.) 
klapperscblange. prairie (See Crotaliis riridis.) 
klapperscblaiigen (See Crotaliis.) 

kliissi. Hiidrophis l.'.S. ICO 

kiibra ( See Xaja.) 

kokiidiiiii (See Krhis earinatiis.) 

kokokeyamuliuga (See Dispholidus Ijipus.) 

Kolpophis 160. 162 

komourtinn (See Xaja nif/rirollis.) 
koiiigsliiibra (See Ophiopliaijus haniiah.) 
kdiiiiig -pcifadder (See Hitis i/ahoniea.) 
kiiiikali (See Tlulotornis kirtlandii.) 
kcinilband slang (See Ulapsoiilea siiiiderallii.) 
kojierkapel (See Xaja nir<a.) 

kopi virian (See Triiiteresiiriis Irigonoccphatus.) 
Korallenottern : 

Arizona (See Mieruroidi s i ur\i.ranthiis.) 

Eclite (See Mierurus.) 

Harlekin (See Mierurus fulrius.) 

Riesen (See Mierurus spixii.) 

Sehlank (See Lrptomirriirus.) 
Knrallenschlange. Africaiiisibe (See Elaps lactcus.) 

Korea 74. 131-8 

koufi (See Vipcra lebetina.) 
krait : 

banded (See Huiii/anis faseialiis.) 

black (See Hunijarus nii/er.) 

blue (See Hunr/ariis eandidiis.) 

Ceylon (See Hiintiarus eejilonieus.) 

common (See Hinnjarus <-andidus.) 

common Indian (See Hiini/ariis eaeruleiis.) 

.lavan (See Huni/arus jaronirus.) 

les.ser black (See Hungarus liridus.) 

I.inne's sea (See Latirauda latieaudata.) 

.Malayan (See Hungarus randidus.) 

inany-lianded (See Hungarus niiiltieinetus.) 

red-lieaded (See Hungarus flavierps.) 

Taiwan (See Hungarus inullieinetus.) 

Taiwan banded (See Hungarus inullieinetus.) 

Wall's (See Hungarus iralli.) 

yellow-headed (See Hungarus ftarieeps.) 
kranawang (See Maticora birirgata.) 

krrfftii. .ispidoinorphus 140 

kreuzotter (See Vipcra hcrus.) 


kmlrin l|nTli I So' < 'iik.ih.i. I 
kiK'hIliiiiiil ( See Kiikixlriiitiiii hiililn.) 
kiirah ( Sof Trinii iisiinin nkiiiiiiriiMiH.) 
kiiiiii kiitimi I Sec AiikiHliiiihiii liiiiiinih-.) 
kiiiiiiadl v.vilcii I Si'f \ iiiira niimrlii.) 
kiisiirl lii'l)! I Si'f \'ii)i>ii ninsrlii.) 
kiiliirt't' paiiilKH) (See Vipirii niii»vlii.) 

Kiiwntt..- -li>i; 

Kw.-I.hcw - 11.-. :!() 

kyiiziiiia I See Alhrrin miiiiimiiivra.) 

labial in. Trimrnniiniit 11H 

Lurhrxin r.l. 56, i;i J. C,!), HI!) 

larhritin, Hitis (See Ritis urictuiis.) 

larliiiK. Klapx 80, 94 

luirin, .\ii>ii>iiinm IW, 164 

lafna (See ('(■nislcH (■(nixlvH; Ccraxtcs rii)cru; I-U-his 


laniiiii/toiii. Aiiixtuctiliimiis 1 Ml, 1 HI 

I.iniiitrtiprUiK HI 

Innceheads. Aineritaii I See Hdllinipx.) 
laiH-elieads. Asins (See Trinii r<siiiiiK.\ 
lancelieads. Weid's I See Hiitlimiis nciiiricili.) 

Iiiiifi(il(itii-i. Until iiiiiK *il, iir., 67 

laiiiixiliii'Oi. Mil I II nix CO 

liiiixhi ri/ii. Hiithriipx 48, 5.5, 61 

laiizeiidttcr. Pope's (See Triniiri-xiinix iKiiiinnnii.) 
lianzeiidtteni. Amerikaiiisclie (See lintlirniis.) 
Laiizenotteni, Asiati.'sche (See Triiiicrisnnix.) 
I.aiizeiiottern. (ii-iefschwanz (See Botlirojix schliiiclii.) 

Laos 11.V30 

hiiiHtiiix 160, 162-.3, 160. 160 

Uiiicnioiilix, Ilj/dniphix 1'iX 

larjje-scaled .snake i Sec Dciiixniiiii siiiirrhd.) 

hitaxti. Mprni 72, 74-."i. IS, .S4 

liitrnilix, rio/lirditx 48 

Ltlliriiiiihi 160-1. 168 

Uiticdiiihita. L(iti<-(iiiil(i 160 

laticiilliirix. Micriinix 48 

J<itif(ixcialiix. Micninix 48 

hitirtixtrix. Pxiiiiliirrnixtix (See Erixticuiiliis 


I.D5., 7. 182 

Lebanon 10.-)-1.3 

Irhrtina. Vipera...4. 72. 74-.5. 84, 103, 106, 111, 116, 127, 

135. 160 
leli(>liil)iilci I See /litis iirictaiix.) 
lefa l)in kiiniii (See Ccruxtix crraxtcx.) 
legwere (See Dixiilioliiliix tjipiix.) 

lcmiiixcatii-1, M icninix (iO 

icpiiliix, Cnitdliix .36. 50 

1,1 liliiiiiicninix 62, 63 

[jcptapliix 11 

lerabe (See Bitix arirtaiix.) 

Lesser Suiula Islands 11.5-30 

Iriiconicldx, Atractaxpix 8S 

Liberia 85-103 

libonia (See Bitix arictanx,) 

Libya 77-84 

lirliniosiix. But limps 61 

Uclitriistriiiii, f'liiisiis 88 

llkwelrlllH (Sit 'llnlulinlii.i I. nitil ml n . ] 
li|ilrl (See llilix iiiiiliiiix.) 
liteci (See .\tijii iiii lininli iii-ii. ) 

liiiiliix, Itiiiiiinnix I H'l I'Jd 

liiiiiiiliiri/ii, ApixtiK'iiliiiinix I Id 

bijiwere (See hisplinliiliis liiimx,) 

tojaiiiix, Hfitliriipx 61 

btiiu-ulanib'd snake: 

iiiiiiiMiiii (See Miilicnra iiitixliiiiilis.) 

l'l(ili|i|iine (See Miilii'iini iiitrslitiiilix,) 

rcil-liellicd (See Miitirnrii hirin/iitd,) 
liiKd-Kl.'iiidi'd siiaki'S (See Miitirnrd,) 

finii/issiiH us, Tn.i-irfirdlii mils 14.3 

loreul 27, 182 

Uiriac. Apixtnciilawiis 140 

liiliriciix. .\s])iilildpx 80 

l([Uiikiiiii (See Itisplioliiliix lupiix; Tlii-lotoniis 

I, irildiiilii. ) 
liiuando (See Ciiiisiis iliniiiln iit iix,) 
l.V(ppliili/,;((iiiii 21. 182 

lliilfi'lilliliiilii, Cdlliupliix IKl. 132-3 

liHIi-liidlitiiiii, Ki-isliciipliis 10(1. 110, 1 Ki, 12(1 

iiiacalirel (See Bntliropx (■(ixtiliidiiili.) 
niacanrel (See Hntlirojix cdstrliuiinti.) 

innrriilipis, Tri)iiircxiinix 11><. 120 

liidciiliitd, Driiisoiiid 142 

tiidciilicrps, Callinpliis 116 

Madaftascar 80 

iiidi/iiiiiiaciilatiis, Hull fid nix 116 

iiKijor. [I i/ilnipliis 1.58 

Mdliiiidririis, Triiiicrcsiinis 118 

uialabasalian (See Iljiilmphix rmiatiix.) 

Malawi 85-103 11.5-30 

Mali 77-84 

nialle snake (See Dtiiidiixin fcrfilix.) 

niamba (See I)i iidnnisiiis ; Disiilmlidiis tiiiiiis; \iijd 

mclanolriird. 1 
inaniba : 

lilack (See Dciiilrniisiiis piiliilcpis,) 
lilack-niontlied (See Driiiliodxpis pnlijlipix,) 
brown (See Driiitnidsiiis poliilcpix.) 
coninion ( See Diiulrniispis piilittipis. 1 
East African .laiiicsdii's (See Dcinlrddspix 

eastern .screen (See lii nilniiispis inii/iislircps.) 
j;reen (See Dciutnidspix diii/iisticiiis ; Ih iiilimispix 
jdincxdiii; Dciiilrodspis poliilcpix; 
Dciitlrodxpix ririilis, ) 
green tree (See DiiKlrniispis liriilis.) 
grune (See Dinilnnisiiis riridix.) 
Hallowell's ( See Ih iiilnnispis liriilix,) 
.Tameson's (See Diiiitnuispis jiiiiirxoni,) 
pale-niiintlied (See Dindrodxjiix diif/iistiri-px.) 
schwarzeni (See Dcintniaspis pdliilcpix.) 
Simtb African (See Driiilrddxpis inif/nxtircpx,) 
Traill's green (See Dcinlrddspix jdmcxinii,) African (See Dciidrddspis riridix.) 
western green ( See Dciidrddspix riridix. ) 
nianiba vert (See Dciidrddspis jdiiicsiini ; Dciidriidspix 



niatnillaris, llydioithix l.">8 

inamiishi (See Agkistro6(»i lialys.) 

maiiHislii. Japanese (See Af/l-istro(Jo>i hnh/x.) 

iiiaiinislii. Korean (Hee Arjh'isfrodn}! lialiis.) 

nianapare (See fiatliropx atrox.) 

nianda-dalafi I See Tritiit iTHiiniK ]liiniiiiiirnl(it\in.) 

mangrove snake (See lioir/a tlciidrdpliilu.) 

mano de piedra (See lioihropH iiiniiiiiifcr.) 

many-ringed snake (See Viryiiicdlti uiiiUiftno-iiiln.) 

niapana (See lAii-hc.tix niKtii.s.) 

mapanare cejuda (See linllirnjiH xclilrf/rlii.) 

inai)ipire (See Jjiii-lirsis iniiliix.i 

niapipire z'Aiiana (See Lnchcuix iinifiix.) 

niarabe (See liitix iirirtaiis.) 

niaracaluiia (See Crotaliix (I. Icrri/ii-iis.) 

niarc-li snake (See Ihxisuniii xif/initii.i 

Margarita •>- 

Martinique .10-(i!1 

inassasaiiKa (See Kixtriiniii ratniatiis.) 

Maticora 110. 122. 134 

JIauritania 77- M 

iiKiiiritiniii-n. Mpria 78, 84, 169 

turd II sa. liittlnup.i (il 

III el (III I lie II I'll. Xiijii 8(i. 96 

iiicliniosiiiiiii. Hiidriiphix KiO 

nirlaiiiinix, Hatliroiix 48 

mclaiiiinix. Ciilliniiliix 1 K! 

Jlelville 140-.-,.-, 

menial 182 

mcrtciixi. ^fi(^|■|||■|lx 00. 1(10 

inert nil i, lliidropliix KiO 

nietyi (See Ccraxtcn crrastc.i.) 

Mexico .SS-4]. 4:?. 4.S-.-)8, G8, 1G9 

m'fesi (See Xnja niiirirollix.) 
mliiri (See liitix uriitaiix.) 

Mirrncrplinliiiiliix 160, 162, 166 

niicnilriiidiitii. Mnirt<ixitix__~S. 81, 88. 09. 100. 106. lOS-0 

iiiirriiliiiidiitii. I'liniiliiiKiiixia 143 

Micniprchix 142, 145, 148, 150 

mirniphtliahiiiis. lintlimpx (il 

Micniniidm ,37-8, .")l-2, 160 

Micriinix 6, 10, 11. S7. 38. .^>1, 52. 62, 63, KiO 

Middle East (See Near and Middle East.) 

milagy kadiyan (See Hiidrnphix fnxi-hitiix; Mirm- 

ccpliahipliix (/riirilix. ) 

iiiiliariiix. Sixtniriix 3(5, 30. 44 

mini mil. ]'crmir<lla 14.3 

minor. F.hiptiiinntliiix 142, 149 

mill lit II X. .{xpidiimnrphiix 1 ((I 

mipartitiix. Mirriiriix 48. 53. (iO. 160 

mitclicllii, C nit (I lux 3(1. "lO 

moecasin, MexMcan Af/kixtrndon hiliiicatiis.) 
moccasins (See Aplcixtrndon.) 

modcxta, Drmanxiii 14(1 

mokassinsclilangc. Mexikauisclie (See Aijl-ixt radon 


moloxxiix, Crofiiliix 36. .">0 

Molucca Sea l.'')7-67 

monia (See liitix uriitiinx: liitix i/iilionica.) 
monenu' (See liitix iinJionini.) 

Mongolia 131-8 

monticola. Ai/kistrodon 118 

mniiticnia. Trinicrpxiiriix 118, 1.32, 138 

Morocco 77-84 

mortality. -.37-0, 41. 4.3-J. 40. .".2. .".4. 62. 66. 83, 87. 80. 

112. 117. 146 
Mount Lamington snake (See Apixtortilinniix lamingtoni.) 
Moinit Stanley snake (See Toxicoralamiis stanleyaniis.) 

Mozambique 8.")-103 

mpili (See Naja haje.) 
inpiri (See Xaja ha jr.) 
nipoma (See fiiti.<) ariitiinx.) 

miioroxqiiamatiix. Trimrrr-tiirus 118, 132, 137, 169 

niiirllrrii. Axpidoinorpliiix 140. 14(i 

niulga snal\e (See Oriiiiiiixin Ic.rtilix; Pxriidrrliix 

(Uixtralix. ) 
miilga snake. Australian (See I'xrndirliix aiiKtrnlis.) 
niulga snake. New Guinea (See Pxriidrchis pnpnnniis.) 
MuUer's snake (See Aspidniiiorphiix miirllrrii: 

h'h iiioplilorrplialiix hirolor. ) 

miiltirinrtiix. Jiiiiif/arnx IKl. 120. 132, 133, 1(10 

miiltifaxridta. I'liriiiinjii .86. 97 

miiltifaxrialn. \< rinirrlla 14?- 

Muscat __10." 1 

miitiix. Larhrsix 6. 49, .50. .55. 56, 61-2, 69. 160 

muyiriina (See Xnjd inrlaiiolciini.) 
mwe Inve (See Vipcra runsclii.) 

myoglobinuria 11, 182 

mywe howk (See Xiijii niijii.) 

nacliiku (See .Y(/;'(( iiifirirnllix.) 

nag (See Xajn 7iaja.) 

uaga pambu (See Xiija naja.) 

nalui.vaca ( Sih' Hollirnpx nnxiitiix: llotlnopx xrlilriiclii.) 

,A'(i;n---6, 10-1. 70. ,80. 87. 80. 0.5-7. 10(1 7. 108. 110. 124. 

134, 160 

naja. Xaja 6, 80, 0.5. 106. lOS. nc. 123-5. 1,32. 131. 1(10 

iinlla pamlxi (See Xaja n(ijii.\ 
nalukouge (See Athrrix xqiiamigrrn.) 
namaliaiiiba (See Drndronxpix : Dixpliolidnx : also 

appli(^il to uoii-]>oisonous snal^es. ) 

nnrdiirri. L( ptomimiriix 60. 63 

narrow-banded snake (See Hrurhiiiirnphix 


nasal 182 

nasal valve 182 

nasliornviper (See liitix nfixi<'<iriiix.) 

nnxirnrnix Hitix ,82. .8,8, 102. 100. 160 

nasorostral j 182 

iKixiitiix. Bntlirnpx 48. .55. 61 

Xiitri.r 39 

nawama (.See Bitix arirtiiiis.) 
nchuweira (See Xaja ha jr.) 
udemalunyayo (See Drndroaxpix poh/lrpix.) 

Near and Middle East 83. 05. 105-13 

necklace snake. .\fric;[n (See Khipxoidrn xiindrvallii.) 
necklace snake. Au.stralian (See Hrurlniiirophix 


necro.sls 8-11. 182 

neglect II X. TSotliropx (11 

n epa . .igkixtrodoii 118 


Nepiil I 1". :»• 

NflliorliiiitiM . 71 I! 

iKMiroiniisfiiliir IruiiMiiilMNliui ... 1N2 

lUMirotiisiln , .1, IN'J 

iKiiiriitli. Ilothiiipn _«1, m, KM) 

New tiitliicii III) .".."i 

i\ii"\f I Si<<> ItixitliiiliiUm tiiinm.) 

IIKU sum Uciii I Scr lli(iiii<iriin /imiiiitiiK.) 

NlciiriiKiiil -i7-."),S 

nirifiiri, Mirruru* , CO 

Niiolmr IsIiiiKj 11." .SO 

NlKtr -- H\ 

ttiiiir. lUimjaniit 1 Hi 

NiKt'i-in 8r.-lo:{ 

iiiv'lit adiliT. Afiiiaii (See Caiimix rht»>i1iiuttis.) 
iiiKlit ikUUm-. rhdiiibic (See Cuuhus rhuuihtutu.i.) 

nigra, Pxeiidohajr HVt, !)7 

niurmccmi, Cdllinphln 110 

iiilirirnlliK. Xdjii 7K, 80. 8G-7, 9.5, 96, 108, 134, 109 

ttiiiriiiiiiitns. ]l \iiliiiiiliix H!0 

iiiiinirhirtiis. MirniniK 48, 53, 60, 10!) 

iiii/iDMlriiltd, Ditiisiitiiti 1 (L! 

)iigniririili.i, Hatltrops 4,s 

nitsrhri. Mlirris 80, 98 

iiirrti. Xiija 80-7, 96. 10!) 

iijokii ishnnjrn (See Elapsnitlca siindcraUii.) 

nocturnal 182 

nDiienit' (See liiti-i iiaxironiin.) 
norne (See yotccliix Kriitatiis.) 

Xotcrhix i:i!1. 1 Ci, 115, 150, 10!l 

noiirixliDU (See Atractaxpix niii-rolciiiildln.) 
iisnweila (See Xaja ha jr.) 
nsiiweira (See Xaja liaje.) 

iiiirlialis. ificninm 4.S 

iiiiiiiiiiifrr. Until rupx 48. 55 

ii.vainxviro I See Xaja iiif/riritllix.) 
nyanikededi (See Dixpliolidiix tjniiis.) 

Nya.salaiKl . S.-)-10S 

nymainn. Pseiidupixtdcalaniiix 14.3 

Nyman's snake (See Pxriidapixlocalamiis nymanni.) 
nyoka I)\vana'(Se»' Xajii iiif/ri<-ollix.) 

Obi 140-55 

oblya (See Dciidrnaxpis ani/iixticeps.) 

ohscunis, Uitihiiplnx KiO 

occipltals 182 

ochkovaya zmeya (See Xaja naja.) 
oelar (See oraj.) 

oelar i(l.ii) (See Tritiicnxnnis i/niiiiiii< iis ; 
Trimcrcxiinix iiojxonmi. ) 

Oi/iiioihiii 141. 143, 145, 151 

oharko (See Oxi/iiraiiiix xcuti lliitiix.) 

okinavensis, Tritiicrcxiinix VXl. l.'.T 

Old World vipers (See Viperidac.) 

oliracra, Dcmaiixia 140. 147 

olwero (See Bitix aiictanx.) 

Oman 10.5-1:^ 

omeja (See Dcndroaspis ani/iixtircps.) 
oni-,i\voIiabu (See TrinicrcxKfnx i/raiiiiiiei(X.) 
oowarrkno (See Pxciidcrhix aiixtralix.) 
oo-woo-sbay (See Af/hixtrailon lu-utiix.) 

(>|iar('it ( Scf lifii/K iiiiniiiiiljih x.\ 

iipliiiiiiliniiiiii 125. 1:11. [iS. Id!! 

i>|iriiMinilrl (See Xaja mfluniilrucaA 

iMii,i bociiKka laoel I See Triniirixuriix i/iiniiim iix ; 

'I'riinrrcxnritM pttpforiint. ) 
orii.l biiiiuka (See Triiiiiirxtinix iiraiiiliiciiH.) 
iira.i (See Tr'niicrixiinix iiriniiiiiriix ; 

Ti'iturrrstintx intiironnti. 1 
ora.j kalakni (See 'I'riiin rcxiinix piinii'iiix.) 
lira.) UmiimIi ( Src Aiil.ixlrinldii 1 iniiliisliniiii : 

Trhiurixiinix iiiiiiirciix. 1 
oraj sln(lid< (See Xaja luijii.) 
oraj l(i((ik (See Oiiliinpliaiiiix liaiiiiitli.) 
iiraj weiaiin (.See Hiiiii/iinix faxcinlnx.) 
oraj welinK (See liiiniianix caiidiil iix.) 
oranjie-bellied snake (See Pxciidcchix mixIraUx.) 
ornamental snake (See Uinixatiin iiidcnltila.) 

oniatixxhuKx. Micnirux 60 

oniatiix. Ilydi'iiphix 160, 10.") 

oro otto I See Matiriira hilfxiiiialix.) 

iiropel (See Hothrapx xrlilct/rlii.) 

oiler, kaiikasus (See Viprra Icaziiakori.) 

otter, imff (See Hitis arictans.) 

otter, sandrassel (See Ecliis carinutiix.) 

ottern, tiger (See Xotechis.) 

Osii lira mix 143-5. 151 10!> 

liiicliifiii. Micninix (See Micninix iii(/r(icinrti(x.) 
pailii viriaii (See Triiiurcxiinix Irigonoccphaliis.) 

I'aeitic Islands 1."}!) .55 

paRba wubre {iiee Atrartaxpix miirnUpidota.) 

pain 8, 9 

Paki.stan. East ll.'J-SO 

Pakistan. West 110. 115-.S0 

pala polonsa (See Trimcrcxiinix trUjonocephalus.) 

imllidiccpx. Dciiixnnia 142 

pania (See liiniyanis faxciatiis.) 

Panama 47-58 

papala (See Trimcrcsiiriix icar/lcri.) 

papiiannx, PxeiidcrJiis 143. 152-3. 169 

par. Dciiisniiia 142. 148 

Paraguay .50. 59-0!) 

Paraiiaja 80, 89. 97 

I'arapixtocalamiix 139, 143, 145, 148, 152 

pare.sis 11, 182 

paresthesia 11, 182 

parietals 182 

parrot snal;es (See Lcptophis.) 

parrircpx. Ifi/drnpliix 160 

patoca (See lUithrops lansbergii.) 
Iiee-un (See Hiniiiariix racnilciix.) 
pegali (See llilix iiaxicuniix.) 

Pclaiiiix 87, 15!», KiO. 102. K.;0 

Percy Island snake (See Demansia psamiimphix.) 

pcringucyi, Bitis 88 

pcroiiii, Acalyptopliix 1.58 

Persian Gulf 108. 1.57-07 

pcrxiciix. Pxciidncrrastes 106. 111. 116. 169 

pcrxiciix, Mjicra (See Pxcinldccraxtcx pcrxiciix.) 

Peru 53-4, 50. 5!)-(!i) 

pcriiriaiiiix. Hot limps 61 


peruvianus, Micnirtis 60 

petechiae 7, 182 

petia (See Bcmacliatiis hacmachatus.) 

liliiiklmphakhii (See Naja iiU/rirnlliK.) 

riiilippine cobra (See Naja naja.) 

I'hilippiue Sea 157-67 

I'liilippines 131-8, 169 

I'liiliitliaiiuiiix 90. 93 

pluiorsa (See Ecliis carinatus.) 

Iiirnddi. Bulliropx ."iO 

pirtiifi, liuthrops (il 

pifanoi. BothropK 61 

pigmy rattlerfj (See Sisfnirus.) 

pineajiple snake (See Lachcsis miiti/fi.) 

pirajai. liolhrapa 61 

piri (See liitifi arictans.) 

/li.sciriinix. Ar/ki.^trixlon 6. 36, 39, ,^3, 7.5, 112. IS.'i 

pit 26, 1C9 

pito (See Matirora hiiiifiaUi.) 

pit viper: 

a.sliy (See TiimrrrxnniK piiiiirriiK.) 

bamlioo {See Trimrrrxuni.f gramincus.) 

("liasen's (See Tiitiirrrsunm cliaseni.) 

Cliiiiese (See TriDicrrxiinifi moiitimla.) 

crossed (See Hothnipx (ilteniatii.i.) 

elegant (See TriiiirrrKiiriif: clcyaiiK.) 

flat-nosed (See TrimrrcfiuniK punirrKii.) 

Godnian's (See linthrnps gorimani.) 

green (See Trinwrcsiinis trigoiwccplialiis.) 

Hagen's (See Trimrresiiriis hagcni.) 

Illniala.van (See Aghintrndnii Iiiwalai/ainis.) 

.jiiiiiping (See HiitlirapK niiiiiniifcr.) 

Korean ( See .•l.'/A'/.s/ror/oH lialpn.) 

Ivansberg's (See fiotliraps laiishrrfiii.) 

long-nosed (See Aphixtrfidoii acutun.) 

XIc (iregor's (See Trinicrcxiiriix flai'Jiniifiihitiis.) 

Mala.van if^ee Afikintrodoii rhodostnma.) 

Maximilian's (See Hntlirnpx ncinricrti.) 

Mongolian {i^ep Aglcixtrodoii linlu-i.) 

Monti<elli's (See linthmpH moiitirrlli.) 

mountain (See Trinifr<'nuriiii maiiticula.) 

Okinawa ( i^ee Triiiicrifiiindi okinairii.sis.) 

Pallas ( See .l,vA'/.v(;'o(/o» lialys.) 

Patagonian (See Hotlirops animndytdidcx.) 

Polillo (See TrinicrcKiinis flaromariilaliix.) 

pointed-sealed (See Trirneresiinis iiiKcrdxtiiuiDiatiis.) 

Pope's (See TrimcrcuKnin pnpronnii.) 

purple spotted ( See Trinicrcsiiriix 

Sclniltze's (See Tiiiii<rixi{ni>< fliuuniiiriiliil iix.\ 
sharji-nosed (See Ar/kixtraflim (irutioi.) 
shore (See Triincrcminin piirpiirronKiciilal iin.\ 
siieckled (See Trimrrc^'iirKx irai/ltri.) 
spotted (See TrimrrcsiiniK nioiitirola.) 
Suniatran (See Trinin-esiinis siimatraniiK.) 
AVagler's (See TrimmsnrKS iraglrri.) 
white-lipped (See Triiiicmoiniit alholahrin.) 
.Tcllow-spotted (See Trinicnxiinis flavontaciihitiis.) 

pit vipers (See Af/kislroiloii ; TriiiicrcsiirKs.) 

pit vii)ers, Central and South America (See Afih-ixIroiUm ; 
liothnipn; Cnitiihix ; Lachcsis.) 

pit vipers, Tnited States (See Ai/kistnuhDi ; Crotalii.t : 


plate 182 

platurus, Pclami.i 160. 16t! 

Pliocercus ,51 

pofadder (See Bitis arictans.) 

Poland 71-C 

polon thelissa (See .iglcistrothm hypnaJc.) 

polyhpis. noiilniaspis 86-7, 93. 96, 169 

polystictiin. C ratal us 'tO 

polyvalent 1,S2 

pomniea (See Aranthropin autarcticiig.) 

popcnriiiti. Triincrcsiirii.i 118. 129 

piirplnjriaciis. Pxciidccliis 143. 153 

Portugal 71-6 

Portuguese Guinea S.5-103 

postocnlar 183 

potai paniliu (See Lapcmis curtii.i.) 

Pracscutata 160. KIJ 

prairie rattlesnake (See f'rotaliis ririilis.) 

praiti. ApistocaIawii.<i 140 

Pratt's snake (See Apisincalamii.i pratti.) 

precautions to avoid snakebite 2-3 

prefrontal 27. 183 

prehensile 183 

preocular 27. 183 

prciissi. Vltrocalamiix 143 

pricei, Crotatux 36, .50 

proximal 183 

psamntnphin. Dcmannia 140 

pshissapa (See .A'ajo mclanolcuca.) 

Psciidcchis 139. 143. 14.5. 152. 169 

Ps, iitl<,rrra.itcs 107. 110, 119. 127 

Psciidnccrastcs hirornis (See Psriidoccrastcs pcr.iiciis.) 
Psriidftccrastcs latirnstris (See Eristicophis 

iiiucmahiinii ) 

Psciidnliajc 8", S!i. 97 

pxychcs. Micriirii.1 60 

ptosi.s 8, 10-1, 183 

Puerto Rico 62 

puff adders (See liitis.) 

pul surattai (See Eclii.1 carinatus.) 

pulchcr. Both raps 61 

punctata. Dcnisonia 142 

punctatus, Botlirops .50, 61 

puniceus, Trimcrcsurus 118 

pupil (eye) 183 

piirpurcomaculatus. Trimcrcsurus 118, 130 

p II sill IIS. C ratal IIS .50 

piitiimayriisis, Micrurus 60 

pw^'rc (See Caiisns rlinnihcatiis ; Echis carinatus.) 

pyrrhocryptiis. Micrurus tiO 

liyrrhus. A cant ha phis 140. 146 

i|iialitative difference in chemistry of venoms 7 

rabo de chuuclia (See Bathraps punctatus.) 

rabo de raton (See liathrnps nrijicctus.) 

racers. West Indian ( See .Msaphis.) 

raj nag (See Opliiaphniius hainiali.) 

ramsayi. Dcnisonia 142 


riidlcr. .s\viiiii|> I Si'i' SiHlnnii.t iiili niitim.) 
riilllrsimkc ; 

Arl/.iinii riilui' iiiiM'il (Sri' Cntliiliis irilhinli.) 

Ariiha i St-c I'lotiiltm iiiiifnlni-.) 

.Mt'Xlran lilnti'lifil (Sec t'lntdliin ;ii</;/.«/i(7l/.H. ) 

Mi'\li!iii |>li:m.v 1 St'c Sinliiinm /iiri/.i.) 

.Mi-\irail West Coiist i Set" f 'i(<f((/i(.s ((((.wi/iicHf. I 

Mili'lifU's (Soc Ci-otiiliin iiiitrhillii.) 

Miijiive (Sim' Cniltiliis .iriiliilaliix.) 

iXMitriiplcal (Set' ('ri>liilii.i r/iiri.i.xiM. ) 

I'luillc (Set- Criiluliln liriilin.) 

|>ii:iii.v 1 St'o Sintninis fiiliiiiitiix ; SislrKilis 

rt'd ( Sco Ciittiilioi nihir.) 

red (liaiiiiiiid (See Criitiiliix nihcr.) 

rix-k (See Crotiiliis l(i>iiliix.) 

South Aiiieriean (See Crotuhix iliirixsKs.) 

Sdiitlicrii (See Sislniriis iiiiliuiiiin.) 

Snutlieni I'acilic (See Crdliilii.i ririitiK.) 

Ii;;er (See I'lntiihin lif/iin.) 

timber (See Cinluhut hiirriiliin.) 

tropical (See Crtituliia iliiriKniix.) 

velvet-tail (See ('rotuliis lidrriiliis.) 

Western dianuMid (See Crohihix iitni.r.) 

Western i)ij;ni.v (See Si.slnn-K.i Diiliiiriiia.) 

ralllesiiakes li'-l 

rariiK. Sixtninm ;"><), •"" 

reconinieiuled treatment (See treatment of snakebite. I 
red snake, striped (See CiilHiiiiliix saiiliri.) 
red-bellied snake (See Axjiiiloyiiuriilnis siiinniiiiloHms.) 
red-naped snake (See AspidoiiKniilinx iIukJciihi ; 

Purmhlaps diadcma.) 
red-ringed snake (See Cullinplns iiiai'iii Ihnnlii.) 
red tail snake ( See Trinierrtiuriif: f:tc])ic(/cri. I 

references \2. 1!). 24. (iit. 7(>. S4, 103-t. li:i. i:!(), ISS, 

l.-,5. 1H4-.- 
rejiions. detiuitinns (if._.'!."i. 17. ."I'.i, 71. 77. s.'i. l()."i, ll'i, 

131. 139. 1." 
remedies (See treatment of snakebite.) 

H.-piil'li<- of S(mth Africa 8.V10.S. 1G9 

reserve fang •"> 

roiiniiis. CdiiKKx ^f^ 

rrticiilutu. Atractanpix .S.S 

iniilii.iilnrrplKlltlx 130. 143, 14.">. 153 

laniHi-lKiiUiiix 139. 143. 14."i. 153 

Rhodesia .s.-.-l(« 

rlioihmtoma. .\(il;iiitr<t(1i,ii.J), 7, 3H, .",3, 75. 112. 118, 128, 
13."., 169 

riKDiihoitiix. Vdiixiis 78-9, 82, 88. 102 

rinsed snake (See Vcrmici-lUi aiiiiiiliitd.) 
ringhals (See Hciiidelidtiis hdcmdchdlits.) 
rlnkals (See Hotidrlmtiis hm iiiiicliiitiix.) 

Rio Muni s.-,-l()3 Is. 131-8 

river .lack (See liitix nasicnniix.) 

river snake, Clarence (See Tropithrhis cdriiidliis.) 

rocrliiif/rri. liothnipH (il 

Romania 71-(i 

ropcri. Braclniiirnphix 140 

Rosen's snake (See Dcitisoiiia fdxcidtn.) 

rostral 27. 183 

l'iM(t,'ll scaled snake (Sec Tiapidirliis cdrilld I UK.) 

nidlddiiH, M icniriiH 18 

iiiliir. <'i<ildliiH fl, 3(1, 41, r>(l 

rnuondo (See AllifiiM iiilHcliti.) 

nisxilii. Vipiid C, 9, 11, 71. St. KC!. III. lie. 127. l.TJ 
13.-.. 1(!!) 

Utissla 105-13, 109 

Uiissla, Riiropenn 71-(l 

Knssiiin Far Kast Asia 131-H 

Uwiinda 85-103 

saidiiMii' I Sec \tijd iii(iii((illis.) 
sainde (See Ciiiixioi rlioiiiliiiihis.) 

Saiiil I.dcia Is r,i)-(;<.) 

S:((ilM (^(iMliiia Is 50 

sakaiiiala (See Xdjd lid jr.) 
saltliush snake (See liiiiiiiiisin ii.iininiiopliiH.) 
sand natter (See Viiirrd dttnnndulix.) 
sanilrassclolter (See Echix cdriiidtii.i.) 
sandrassclotter. Agyplische (See F.chix rdriiidliix.) 
sanjiclnil (See liinuidnix rarnih'iix.) 

sa uteri, CdUiopliix 122, 132 

Saudi Arabia 105-13 

sawah taduns (See Trinicrcxiinix puniceva.) 
saw-scaled viper (See Erhix.) 

Scandinavia 71-0 

xcliixtoxd. Kiihiiilrhid 0, 1.58, 163. W.\ 

schitomordnik (See Af/ldxtradoii lidli/x.) 

nrlilcf/ilii. Axpiiliiiiiorpliiix 14(1 

xclilri/flii. ISotUnipx 49, ,50, 55, (il 

Sehleffel's snake (See AxpitJoinorphiix xrlilcf/ilii.) 
schmuckottern (See CriUiophix.) 

Schouten 140-55 

scissors snake (See Vipefd nixsclii.) 

sctirtrrrii, Afractdxpix 88 

sfiitdtiis. Aspidclapx SO. 91 

xciitdlKx. Xofccliix G. 143, 150. 1(;9 

xriitclhitiis. O.ri/iirdiiKx 10-1. 14.3, 151, 169 

scutes 183 

sciitiilatiix. Crotdliix 6. 36, 41-2, .50 

sea krait, Schneider's I See Ldticdiiild roliihriiid.) 
sea krait. yellow-lipped (See Lutiediidd r<iliihriiid.) 
sea serpent, common (See U inlidpli is /■iKiiiDciiicfiix ; 

Luticdiidd xriiiifdxcidtd. ) 
sea snakes (See Iliidniiihidnc.) 
sea snake : 

amphibious (See Ldlicdiidd culiiliriiid.) 
Annandale's (See Knipupiiix diininidclci.) 
annulated (See Ifiidropliix ciidiiiirinrliix.) 
banded (See Ldticiiiidd r(ilii!iri)id.) 
lianded small-headed (See Ifiidmiihix fdxcidtiix.) 
banded yellow-lipped (See Laticdiidd i-<iliiiiiiiid.) 
beaked (See Eiilij/driiia xcliistoxd.) 
black-banded (See Laticaiida laticaudata.) 
blue-banded (See Hi/dnipliix cj/diioriiiftiix.) 
bluish small-headed (See Hiidniphix rdcriiicsciiix.) 
Role's (See Kiitnidriiid riildlddiin.) 
broad-banded (See Uiidniphix didniilldris.) 
broad-banded blue (See Ldtirdiidd xrtiiifdxridtd.) 
Rrook's smallheaded (See IlydrDphix hronkci.) 
brown (See Aipi/xnriis sji. ) 


Cantor's (See Mlcnirciihdhiithist riniturix.) 
common I See Enliyflriiia 
Crocker's (See Laticdiida crnrhTri.) 
Daudin's (See Hiiihuiiliix iiii/rnriiictint.) 
Darwin's (See Hiiilrrliip.t rlaiirhiirnxiit.) 
Duliois (See .Ii/j.v.vh/'h.v tliihoixii.) 
clenant (See ITi/droiihif! clci/niis.) 
graceful small-headed (See Microi-rplKildphis 

grarilis. ) 
gray (See UiidrophiH fnniiinliix.) 
Gray's (See HtKhnphix nnidtiiK.) 
Grey's (See Eplinhiphix f/rciii.) 
Guntlier's (See Hi/ilrapliix toniiiatiiK.) 
Ilardwick's (See Lapcniis liiirdiiii-h-ii.) 
hook-nosed (See Eiiht/ilriiiti KCliixtona.) 
Ijinia (See Eimiiliiccplialiix (iiiiiiiliitii.i.) 
.lerdon's (See Kirilia jirihmii.) 
Jew's nosed (See FDliiiilriiiii yiiliiliuhjii.) 
John's (See Mirriirrplialopliix (/rdcilis.) 
King's (See TUiilrophix hini/ii.) 
Merrem's (See lliiilmpliin riicnilcuroiii.) 
narrow-l)anded (See ITiidnipliis .spiralis. ) 
narrow-headed (See Micnircplialdpliis urdcilix.) 
olive hrown (See Aipiixdrux Idriis.t 
parti-coloured (See I'cUiniix pldtiinm.) 
Iielagic (See Prldiiiix jihitiinix.) 
I'eron's (See Ardli/ptoplih prraiiii.) 
Peters (See Iljidnipliix hitiilirrculntiix.) 
Port Darwin (See lliidnhips ddnriiiiriixis.) 
reef (See llydniphis anidliis.) 
ringed (See Eiiiii<l<>c<plidhix (iiiiiiildliix.) 
U\isseirs (See II inlrapjiix (thxcdrds.) 
Samoan (See Jidl'icdiidd xciiiifdxi'idld.) 
Sclunidt's (See I'idcxcdidfd lipiriiid.) 
Seniper's (See II iidropliis xciiip(ri.) 
Shaw's (See Ldp<niix rdrtdx.) 

Smith's small-lieadcd (See II iidrnpldx pdiricipx.) 
siiine-tailed (See MpiixKnix iiidmuiA 
spotted (See Ili/ilnipliis anidldx.) 
Stoke's (See Axtnitia xlnh-cxii.) 
Viet Nam (See Lapiiiiix lidnhricl.ii.) 
viperine (See I'rdcxciitdid ripiriiid.) 
wandering (See Ldticdddd Idticduddtd.) 
yellow (See Hiidrapliix xpiriilix.) 
yellow-bellied (See Pckiniix phitiinix.) 

sea snake hite t. 11- I'lT-dT 

seeschlangen, plattihen (See PcUniiix pldtta-iix.) 
senielo (See Tri nn rrxurux iinnniiunxA 

scniifdxcidld. Ldlicdiidd IfiO 

srmifdxcidtdx, liniflijidrnphix 140 

scmpcri, Uiidiiiphix 1(10 

Senegal K5-l(« 

serpent du hananier (See Diiidnxixpix jdiiifxoiii ; 

Dcndntdxpis riridix. ) 
seven pacer (See Mprra rnxxilii.) 
shanshawane (See liitix cdiiddlix.) 
shchitomordnik (See Ai/kixlriidnii hdh/x.) 
sheushewane (See liitix cdiiddlix.) 

shfifon (See Ccrdxlis ccrdxtfx: I'x(i(<l'ic<'rdxt<x field ii.) 
shiddil (See Kcrilid jrrdoiiii.) 
shield 27, 1S3 

shield-nosed snake. African (See A.ipidrldps xriitatiis.) 
shield-nosed snakes (See Axpidclapx.) 
shield snake (See Axpidrldps xriitdtiis.) 

shock position 183 

shootur sun (See Hj/drophix obsciirtm.) 
short-fanged snake (See T'ltrnralaituix prriinxi.) 
short-tailed snake (See IHniiirliocldpx hntholdi.) 
siana (See Dixplirdiddx tiipiix.) 
sidewinder (See Crotdliis ccraxtcs.) 

Sierra Leone 85-103 

siffiiata, Dciiigoiiia 14'2 

Sikkim 115-30 

Sinkiang 115-30 

sirocncu (See Larhcuix miitux.) 

Sixtrin-dx 37. 39. 43. 51. 57 

sleeping gough (See Rothrops schlcgelii.) 

snakebite 2. 41. 183 

snakebite, cases 30. 41 

snakebite, aid for 7, 13-19 

snakebite, first-aid kit for 2 

snakebite, medical treatment of 7, 13-24 

snakebite, s.vmptoms and signs of 7-1'i. 41. 43—1. 83 

snake of hundred design (See Afikixlrndoti acuiiis.) 
snake venom : 

classification of 5 

effect of 39 

enz.vmatic action of 5 

U>thality of 0. 7. 103 

protein portion of 5 

snake venom poisoning, recognition of 4-12 

Solomon Is 140-.55 

Somalia 8.5-103 

soiigo (See Doiitriidxpis dnf}iixtir< px; Driidrnaxpix 

songwe (See Dvndroaxpix polylcpis.) 

Smith China Sea 157 (>7 

S(uitb Africa 8.5-103 

Southwest Pacific 1.57-07 

Spain 710 

Spanish Sahara 77-84 

xplioiuplirpx. Hotliropx .50 

xitiidlix. Iliidrnphix 100. 164 

spitzkopfotter (See Viprra iirxinii.) 

xpij-ii. M icrdnis ()(l. 64 

.sjiotted-headed snake (See Dcniaiixia olivacca; 

Dcii isnii ia pxam iiioph is. ) 
spotted snake (See DciiixiDiia punctata.) 
spotted snake, little (See Dtiiixoiiia puintdtd.i 
simugslang (See Ilrinticlidtiix hncmdchdlns \ Xaja 

.spHfclli. .l/(cr»(H.\ 00 

sfiddiiidliixiix. .Axpiddiiiorpliiix 140 

xiiKdmiijcrd. .1 tlicrix 80. 90 

staiilcyaniix. Tii.ricocalamux 143 

stcjnegcri. Crotaldx 50 

xtrjiicfirri. Trinirrrxiinix 118, 129, 109 

xtrplirii.>.-ii. lliiplocrphaJiix 142 

stcirarti. Mirninix 48 

xtid-rxii. Axfrotia 158. 164 

ilraiirlii. .Xtjkixtrodoii 118 

sfrictirotlis, Hi/dropliix 100 










r <i7 


'. :«t 


alrifjalux, Trlmiri-niinin 




Siiiliiii. ^ 

Siilii Sfii 


tiimalraitu*. Trinu^rciiirus 

siiiilit-nm siitikrs ( Sih' Matienra.) 

mniili riillii. Hliiiisniiliii "S, 80, .S(i. 94 

sini;;iiliiiiii • Si'c Tin hittunis Kirlliiiiilii.) 
siipfrb snakt> ( Sc(> Ditiimniiu nuixrlm.) 

mipi-rhii. Ihiiiniiiiiil 1 IJ, 148 

MiiiiinilidiiK. \ iitira 74, 84, 88. 103, 111, IliT 

suprn-iiiiiil tubprclps 183 

siipralnblnls 183 

su|iniiKUlars 183 

sMrattiii ]ianib\i (See Echis carinatiiK.) 

Siiriiiain 50-6!) 

miritinmiiixis. Mirninm CO 

suriu'iicu patiabo (See ISothrops hiluicatiis.) 

xiita. DriiiHonia 142 

suture 183 

swartnek koperkai)el (See Naja nigriroUis.) 

Swa/.ilaiul 8.") l(i;! 

sweela (See Naja nii/riroflis.) 

swt'Uin;; 7-9, 183 

Switzerland Tl-l! 

s.vmptoms aiul afti-p ctfi'its (if: 

crotalbl bites 4. 7. S. 14, 17, L'-_'-.S, .■",4. 07-8 

elapid bites 4, 7, 10, TJ, 14. IS, 21, (12, 123 

sea snake l)ites 4, 11, l.">7-f!7 

viper bites 4, 7, 9, 11-2, 18, 22-3, 83, 100 

Syria 105-13 

Sze<liwan 115-30 

tachiU'tt (See Erlii.i <-iiri>iiitii.i.) 

tachilt (See rs rcrtiKtf.i.) 

tadioko (See Xaja iiajii.) 

tadung nmiiKKn (See yfatictnii iiitcstiiiiili.s.) 

TiirJiiiinoiix pmiviuiui 11 

taipan (See Oxyiiraniix xciitrUatiis.) 

Taiwan 131-8. 100 

Taiwan-hai (See ('(illioi>liit< xdiitrri.) 
taraaj^a (See liothropn latisberf/ii.) 
tandarnnia (See Viprra .iKprrriliari.t.) 

Tanimber (Timor Laut) 14()-.">5 

Tanzania 8.")-103 

Tasmania 140-55 

Tasman Sea 1.57-()7 

tcliissapa (See Pxrudohajr i/oldii.) 
tedong naga (See Naja naja.) 
tedong selar (See Ophinpliagii.i haniiah.) 
tel-karavA-ala (See liunqanix rrylonirii.i.) 
temple snake (See Trimcrcsurns waglcri.) 

temporals 183 

terrestrial 183 

tcxtiUx, nctnnmsia 140, 147, 100 

Thailand i.. 115-.30, 169 

Thallogopliix 160. 162 

thamaha (See Hiti.<! arirtann.) 

tliainiilia illiiliiitsani- (Sec /(//is ariiliiitH.) 

Ilialla pani (See lliiiliiiphin iiKiiiiilliiiis,) 

lliirb.v (Sec Itilin iiriiltini.) 

Tibet 115 .'id 

tic-polontra (See Viprra riinHrlli.) 

(IgerNliakl' ( Scv llnlihut iiliillll.\ ulriiliill^ii ; XulirhiH 
Kciitalus. I 

Auslrali;iii ( Sim> Xnlrrhis m-tiliiliin.) 

blaik (See Sntirhin uriitiihi.i.) 

Krffl'l's (See Nntri'hi.i HciiliitiiH.) 
ligra niaripiisa (See ItiitlirnpH venrzueJae.) 

lif/rix. C'riitiiliix 30, 50 

tinilia (See Holhiapfi iiinii iiiifi v.) 

Timor Sea 157-67 

Tobago ___59-69 

toboba ohingu (?.p('^olhr(ip.H iiiimniifcr.) 
toboba de pestana (See Hothmp.i .iclilri/clii.) 
tofoni (See Echin carinatns.) 

Togo 8.5-103 

loka (See Dciiilniaxpi.s jiiiur.iiDii.) 
tomigoff (See Hothrop.t atrox.) 

tonlcincn.HlH, TrimcresHru.1 118 

torciopelo (See TSothrnpn atrox.) 

tnrfiiKttiix, IIjiilriiphiH 160 

Tciilnga Is 50 

tiirtitficnHis, CrotaJus 50 

toulod (See Hitix ii(ixic(iriii.s.) 
tdiniiou (See liiti.i iiu.siconii.i.) 

Toxiroi-dhuiiii.s IX). 143, 145, 154 

toxin 183 

trannversuH, CrntaluH 50 

treatment 1.3-24 

tree snake (See Disphnlidus typvu.) 
tree snake : 

black (See Di.iplioliilii.i typti.t.) 

large brown (See DinpholiduH tppiix.) 

large green (See ni.ipholi/liifi tj/pv.w) 
tree vijier (See Alln-rix .>i<iiinnii(/<r(i.) 

fridiii/iiliun. TjiiDiprapiltix 51, 5.3 

trigonocepliale (See Hitix arietans.) 

tri!/(iiuirephalii.i. TrimcrrxuruH 118 

Trimcrr.iiini.H 7. 8. 118-9. 129. 133-4. 136. 169 

Trinidad 59-69 

tri.<icriatus, C ratal us 50 

trismus 11, 183 

tristl.i. Ghiphodo)) 142, 149 

Tropidrrliis 143-4. 154 

true vii)ers (See Viperiilae.) 

txriiiiilii. Micriirii.i 60 

Tsinghai 11.5-30 

Tunisia 77-84 

Turkey. Asian 10.5-13 

Turkey. European 71-6 

turtle-designed snake (See Trimcrr.surii.i 

miwrosqiianiutiis. ) 
twig snake (See Tlicloturnix kirtlaiirlii.) 
Iilpiix. DisphiilUliix 86-7. 89. 90, 169 

uao-uao {Hee Latirai((la rnhilirixn.) 

udlezinya (See Naja nirca.) 

T'ganda S.5-103 


ntronilaiiiiis 139, 143, 145, 154 

ukliiikliotlii (See TheloUiriiis kirtlandii.) 

iilar aiiaiiK (See Ophinphai/iis liainiali.) 

ular liakaw (See TrimrrrsiiniK iidi/Uii.) 

ulai" liaii(li>tan liertor (See Af/kiatroiloii rhndoHtfima.) 

ular l)iluflak ( See A^a;a naja : Af/hixtnjiloii ilioilostoma.) 

ular bedul (See Naja naja.) 

ular bisa (See Trimrrrnunin Kiinifitruiiiix : 

Trimercnurus Urumiiiriis : Trimrrriiiinis pnpronim.) 
ular cliabe (See Maliriuii iiitrstinaliii.) 
ular Ki'biik (fiee Ai/ltintrixldii rhodnsidtiiii : TrimcrcHurus 

ular kapac rtauii (See Aokistraildii rlinilnxttimu.) 
ular kapala fhia (See Mntirora iiitcsthifiliK.) 
ular katam tabu (See BuurjuniH fasciutii.'^.) 
ular kunyett terus (See OphiophaijiiK hinninh.) 
ular mafahari (See Maticurn hiriri/atn.) 
ular uanti bulau (See Triiiimminis irar/lcri.) 
vilar puckuk (See Trinicrisiinis icai/lcri.) 
ular siua (See MnlUuia hiriri/ata.) 
ular taiiali (See Ankixtriiihni rhutldslDiiia.) 
iilar lan(l.i(m api (See liiiiuiuriiH flnricrpn.) 
ular tedoiij; sendok (See \nj(i naja.) 
ular tjabeh (See Maticora iiitcntinalin ; Miilivura 

ular welanK (See liidipariis faxriatim.) 
ular weliuR (See Uioiijiinix rnnilidiix.) 
ulupnnK (See Naja iinjii.) 
uiii .ienaib (See Erliis cdriiKiliix.) 
umbrella snake (See liiiiH/ariix iinillicitu'tiiii.) (See Najn iiirra.) 
umi bebi (See fchniiis iihilKnix.) 

undiilatiis. Bnthmp.i ^"0 

iniiriilnr. Crotaliis 01, 68 

United' Arab Republic (Kgypt) 77-S4, no. lOS 

I'uited States (See America. Xortli) 
nnmoouarbduima (See I'.ictiilcrliis- iiKstinlis.) 
luiobbiya (See llciiKichiitiis hiicniarhatUD.) 
unobibi (See TTciiiiichdtiix Itariiiachatiin.) 

TTpper Volta S.VKO 

uraussohlauKe (See .Yo;r7 liaj<\) 

ursinii. Vipcra 72, .S4. 103, IOC, lU, li;7, 13.". 

UniKuay .'>!>-(>!) 

urticaria 1S3 

r.S,S,R. (See Russia.) 

urutu (See liaihrcpx (iltiriintiis ; llollirops iiiinririli.) 

valakacliiyau (See Kiilnidriiid sriii.ittixa.) 
valakadyen (See Riiliiidriiin xrhi.itoxn.) 
ralalcadjiii. Eiiliiiilriiin (See Enln/driiia xrliixtdxa.) 

va.sopressor 183 

rcf;niiiilix, Crotiiliis 61 

Venezuela r,3, 5."., 59-69, 169 

vciic:iirlii(', Bnthrops 61, 169 

venom apparatus 4, 183 

venom duct 4. 183 

venom ^iand 4, 183 

vent 183 

ventrals 28, 183 

VcniiirrVa 143, 145. 155 

verrujjTosa (See Liirlicxix iniitnxA 

vesiculation 183 

Viet Xam 11.5-30. 169 

vine .snake (See Thrttitoniix hirtlaiulii.) 

viper : 

African desert horned (See Crraxirx cerastes.) 
African lowland (See Vipera xiipereiliaris.) 
Amazonian tree (See linthropx hilineatus.) 
Armenian sand (See Vipera ammodytes.) 
Asian lance-headed (See Trimcrcsiinis.) 
Asian sand (See Erixtienpliix maewaliDiiii.) 
Avicenna ( See Ceraxtrs ripera.) 
Avicenna's sand (See Cerastes vipera.) 
bamboo (See Triiiieresitrus alhntahris ; 
Trimcresiinis tiraniiiieiis ; Triiiieresiiriis 
Ribrnn's (See Airactaspis hibronii.) 
black burrowins (See .ilraetaspis hihrdiiii.) 
black-spotted palm (See Hiitlirups nir/roriridis.) 
Rurton's carpet (See Eeliis etiloratiis.) 
Ruschelbranen (See Hitix eaiidalix.) 
bush (See .lllierix nitxrliri ; Athiris siiiiiiiiiiiierii.) 
cape (See Caiixnx rlioniheatiis.) 
carpet (See Ecliis eariiiatiis.) 

Central African jumping (See lintlimpx inonmifer.) 
Ceylon hump-nosed (See .Iftkistrndoii uepa.) 
chain (See Mpera russelii.) 

Chinese bamboo (See Triiiieresiirus slejiiegeri.) 
Chinese Kreen tree (See TriiiKrexiinix stejncfjeri.) 
common (See Mpera herns.) 
domino (See Vipera snpereiliaris.) 
Enyjitian saw-scaled (See Eeliis enriiialiis.) 
European (See Mpera lieriis.) 
eye-horned (See Pseiidneerastes persieiis.) 
eyelash (See liothrops sehtegcfii.) 
Fea's (See .\zemiops feae.) 
Field's horned ( Sw> Pxi-iidoeernxtex fleldii.) 
Gaboon (See Hitis titihtmiea.) 
Gabun (See liitis fiahoiiiea.) 
glass (See Mpera russelii.) 
Great Lakes bush (See .Mlieris nilxeliei.) 
greater cerastes (See Cerastes cerastes.) 
green (See .\tlieris nitscliei: Caiisiis resimns.) 
green (See .\tlieris sifiiumiiiera.) 
green tree (See Triiiieresiirus uraniiiietis.) 
hognosed ( Se«» Hoflimpx liiiixheriiii : Hnllirapx 

lioru (See Cerastes cerastes.) 
horned (See liitis eiiiidalix; Cerastes cerastes.) 
horned hog-nosed (See Hntliriips iiasiitiis.) 
horned palm (See liothrops selfleiielii.) 
horned tree (See .1^7/cri.'i ceratnplioriis: 

Triiiieresiirus enriiiitiix. i 
Hugy"s (See Vipera aspis.) 
hump-nosed (See .\ril;ixtriidiiti Inipiiah.) 
Indian green tree (See Trimenxiinix i/raiiiiiiciis.) 
island (See liothrops iiixiilaris.) 
.Terdon's (See Triiiieresiirus jirdoiiii.) 
jumping (See liothrops iiiimmifer.) 
.Tura (See Vipcra aspis.) 
Kenya horned (See Bilix irorthiiifitoiii.) 
Ketten (See Vipera russelii.) 


I.nii.<<l«'rt;'s liKCivoMtMl ( Sw Hiitlirtipg lannhfri/ii.) 

Icilf I Scf [llii-iin ,ii/H(((iii,vr;(i. ) 

U-nf-iioMfd ( St-r Urinlimithiii miirmaliimii.) 

li'sscr coriislcs ( St>i' rrnintrn I'ipcra.) 

I.<>vuiit«' (S»'t> Viprrii Ivlntiua.) 

lontf-iio.sfd ( S»f lipinj itmmoiltilrn.) 

iiiimurovo 1 Sfi- TrimiriHurmt i>iiri)iiniini(tnil<itiis.) 

.Mr.Miiliiin's I SiH- Hriiliriiiihis tiiiitiniihiiiiii.) 

Miixlinlliiui's ( S»'i' Itiithiuitu iiiitiiiiili.) 

Montane (See I'i/jcni hiiiilii.) 

mniiiitaiii (Sec Tiiiiuri:iunis innnlicola ; 
Vifxrii lihilina.) 

Near Kast (See Vipcra xiiiithina.) 

Nitscln-'s tri'O ( Set' MliiriK )iilKrliri.) 

North Afriiaii lioniiMl (Sec rrnistm ccninlrK.) 

Northoni molt- (Sec MiiK-ldKpiK mhroUpidola.) 

iiost'-lHUMU'd t Sec liiti^ iiiisiruniin.) 

oUve-grt't'ii (See Cuiiukk lirhtcnstcinii.) 

Ottoman (See Viprra xanlhina.) 

ralestiiiian (See Vipcra xunthina palacKtiiiac.) 

Pallas's (See Affkintrndon hali/n.) 

palm (See Bnlhropn iicuiricili.) 

paper (See Trimrrcmini.i uramiiitus.) 

Persian horned (See PKriifhiccrastm pcr.iicus.) 
Pope's tree (See TrimfrcsuniK piiprondii.) 

Rauhschnppifie bnish (See AtlKiix xiiutiDiiiiirii.) 

Renard's (See Yipera iirsinii.) 

rhinoceros horned (See Hili'< iKi.iifuniis.) 

rliinocerous (See Hitin nasininna.) 

Russell's (See Viprra russclii.) 

Sahara (See Vipcra Irhctina.) 

Saint Lucia (See liothropH caribliacKS.) 

sand (See Vipcra ammoilytm.) 

saw-scaled (See EcJiis carinatim.) 

Schlegel's palm (See Bothrops schlet/clii.) 

sedge (See Athcris iiituchci.) 

snub-nosed (See Vipcra latanti.) 

Southern mole I See Atractaspix hihronii.) 

Stejneger's palm (See rriwrrcxiirus Ktcjncgcri.) 

Ursini's (See Vipcra ur.iinii.) 

West African tree (See Athcris chiorcchis.) 

Western hog-nosed (See Bothrops lanshergii.) 

Western mole (See Atractaspis corpulenta.) 

white-lipped bamboo (See Trimcresurus albolahris.) 

white-lipped tree (Se^ Trimcrrsiiriis alholahris.) 

worm-eating ( See Arfcuor/ii/io.s burhouri.) 

yellow-lined palm (See Bothrops lateralis.) 

yellow-spotted palm (See Bothrops uiaroviridis.) 

Vipcra 6. 72, 79, 84, 87, 89, 103. 100-7. Ill, 119, 127. 

131-5, 169 

vipcra. Cerastes 78, 83. 100. 109 

vipera cu corn (See Vipcra ammoilytcs.) 
viiiere a cornes (See Bitix f/ahoiiica: Bitis iiusiconiis; 
Cerastes cerastes. ) 

d'arbre (See Athcris chlorcchis.) 
-demon (See Caiisiis rhombcatiis.) 
vipere de Lataste (See Vipcra latasti.) 
vipere de I'Erg (See Cerastes vipera.) 
vipere des pyramides (See Echis cnrinattis.) 
vipere du Cap (See Bitis arictans.) 
vipere h^braique (See Bitis iirictaiis.) 

vipere heiirtiinle (See Bitis arictiiiis.t 
vlpi're Iclx'-tlne (See \'ipira Icliiliiia.) 
vipere rhinoceros (See Bitis iiasiconiis.) 
Vlperldae._27, ;U, 72, 71-"., 7H, Kl t, H(l H. 98-103. KMJ. 
108-12. 120-7, Klil 

ripcrlna, I'racsciilala 100 

vipers : 

burrowing (See Atractaspis.) 

bush (See .Mlicris.) 

false li(u-iied (See I'sciidoccraslcs.) 

hog-nosed (See Bothrops.) 

horned desert (See Bsciidoccrastcs.) 

mole (See Atractaspis.) 

palm (See Bothrops.) 

riridis. Vrotatiis 0, .'<(", 41-3, ."(0 

riridis. Dcndroaspis 80, 94, l(i9 

ritiiniiis. Oi/niiidon IM. H.'!. 151 

vuluvulii (See Bitis arictans.) 

iruchiicriorum, Micriirus 60 

iraylcri, Trimeresurus lli^. 138 

wakabi (SeeA^aJa melanoleuca.) 

initii, Bi(H(/ariis 116 

walo-walo (See Lupcmis liurdirickii.) 

Walter Iniies's snake (See Wultcritiiusiit aci/i/ptiu.) 

Waltcriinicsia 79, 81. 106-7, 108 

wamon-beni-hebi (See Calliophis maccleUandii.) 

warro, Brachyurophis 1-10 

wasserkobras (See Boulenyerina.) 

wassermokassinschlange (See Aykislniiloii piscironis.) 
watersnake. black (See Elapsoidni siiiulrrullii.) 
werr (See Dciiisonia coronuta.) 

West Indies ™-69 

whip snake (See psammophis.) 
whip snake : 

black (See Dcmansia oliracca.) 
Carpentaria (See Dciiisonia carpciitariac.) 
little (See Dciiisonia flat/clhiiii : Dinisoiiia 

yellow-faced (See Dcinaiisia psaiiiiiiopl<ix-) 
white-lipped snake (See /)c»»io roroiioidcs.) 
white-nosed snake (See Psciidcchis mislralis.) 
wiesenotter (See Vipera ursinii.) 

willardi, Grotalus -^6, .)() 

woodjoHCsii, Brachyurophis 1-10 

irortiiu/toiii, Bitis 82. 88, 100, 109 

wiistenkobra (See Waltcriiiiicsia aci/yptia.) 
wntu (See Bothrops alteriiatiis.) 
wyree (See Dciiiaiisia psaiiiiiiopliis.) 

xanthina. Vipera 72. 75. 106, 112, 169 

xanthoyrninmus. Bothrops 61 

yamuhando (See Dispholidiis typiis.) 
yangalukwe (See Dispholidiis typiis; Thclotoriiis 

yarara (See Bothrops jajaraca.) 
yarara nata (See Bothrops amiiiodijtoidis.) 
yararagua.ssu (See Bothrops jaruraciissii.) 
yellow-banded .snake (See Hoploccphalus stephensii.) 
yellow-headed snake (See BiiiifKinis flaricrps.) 


yellow-iiaped snake (See Aspidomorphus christieanus.) Yunnan 115-30 

Yellow Sea ir)7-67 zakra (See Causiis rhonibeatus.) 

yellow-spotted snake (See n<ii>lorcpliahi.s hinit/aroidcs.) Zambia 85-103 

Yemen 10.V13 Zanzibar Is 85-103 

yennal viriyan (See Biingarus caeruleus.) Zaocys 125 

yettadi viriyan (^ee Bii>if/ani.i caeruleus.) zeilen-seeschlange ( See Lafirai/'/o laticaudata.) 

yucataiiicKS, liotlirops 50 zokalugwagu iHee Disptiolidiis typus.) 

Yugoslavia 71-6, 169 zwerg-klappersehlangen I See Sistnirux.) 

■d U.S. GOVFRNMEST PRIMING OFFICE : 1979 O— 282-759 


Representative American Pit Vipers (CROTALIDAE) 

Figure 1. Rock Rattlesnake, Crotalun lepidus. 
Photo by Hal B. Harrison; National Audubon. 
(See pp. 36, 50) 

Figure 2. Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus. 
Photo by Charles Hackenbrock and Staten 
Island Zoo. (Seep. 44) 

Figure 3. Cascabel, CroUUus durissus. Photo by 
Roy Finney and Staten Island Zoo. ( See 
p. 68) 

Figure 4. Cantil, Agkistrodon bilineatus. Photo 
by Hal B. Harrison: National Audubon. (See 
p. -A) 















^H^v . , "i^^^B^H 




^^^^L ', . ^^E^^^^^^l 

I^^IeV' SUhE 



^^^V^*^^.*-^.- c^ 

^B< a'-^Bl 

^ ■# 



Figure 5. Broad-banded American Copperhead, 
Agkistrodon contortrix subspecies laticinctus. 
I'lioto by J. Markham. (See p. 3'J) 

Figure 6. Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus. 
I'hoto by J. JIarkliam. (See p. 39) 



Representatives of Some Poisonous Snake Families 

FiQURB 1. European Viper, Vipera herns 
(VIPERIDAE). Photo by J. Markhara. (See 
p. 74 ) 








^^^^^^^K: T ^M I— .^ll 


Figure 4. I'ulT AddiT, IHlis ,irii tim.-: (VIPER- 
IDAE). Photo by J. Markham. (See 
p. 101) 

Figure 2. Urutu, Bothrops aiternatus (CROTALl- 
DAE ) . Photo by J. Markham. ( See p. 65 ) 

Figure 3. River Jack, Bitis nasieornis (VIPERI- 
DAE). Photo by J. Markham. (See 
p. 102) 


Figure 5. Eastern Coral Snake, Micrurus fiUvius 
(ELAPIDAE). Photo by AUan D. Cruick- 
shank : Xational Audubon. ( See p. 38) 


Representatives of Some Poisonous Snake Families 

Figure 1. Black Mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis 
(ELAPIDAE). Plioto by J. Markham. (See 


Figure 2. Westeni Dianiondback Rattlesnaice, 
Crolai'is atrox (OROTALIDAE), Navy photo, 
courtesy U.S. National Zoological Park. (See 
p. 40) 

Figure 3. Prairie RaitloMiake, Crutalux i-. viruiU 
(CROTALIDAE). Navy photo, courtesy U.S. 
Natioiifll Zoolt^iciil Park. (See p. 42) 

Figure 4. Timber Rattlesnake, CruUitus horruiun 
(CROTALIDAE). Navy photo, courtesy U.S. 
Xatioiiiil Zoologii-nl Park. (See p. 43) 

Figure 5, t'ottnnnioutii, Agkistrodon pisciivrus 
(CROTALIDAE). Na%'y photo, courtesy U.S. 
National Zoologk-al Park. (See p. 3'J) 

Figure b. Amencan Copperhead, Aghstroaon 
conlvrtrij- (CROTALIDAE). Xavy photo, 
courtesy U.S. National Zoological Park. 
(Seep. 39) 


Representative Fit Vipers (CROTALIDAE) 

FiouRE 1. Amprican Copperhead, Agkistrodon 
contartrix, southcasti'ni U.S. Navy photo, 
courte*iy U.S. Nntional Zoological Park. 
(Seep. 39) 

Figure 2. Chinese Green Tree Viper, Trimeresurus 
stejnegeri. Navy photo, courtesy U.S. National 
Zoological Park. (See p. 11!;)) 

Figure 3. Green Tree Viper, Trimeresurus 
sp. Xavy photo, courtesy U.S. National 
Zoological Park. (See p. 130) 

Figure 4. Wagler's Pit Viper, Trimeregurus 
wagleri. Navy photo, courtesy U.S. National 
Zoological Park. ( See p. 138 ) 

Figure 5. Okinawa Habu, Trimeresurus flamvi- 
ridis. Navy photo, courtesy U.S. National 
Zoological Park. (See p. 137) 

Figure 6. Sakishima Habu, Trimeresurus eUgans. 
Navy photo, courtesy U.S. National Zoological 
Park. (Seep. 137) 



Some Poisonous Snakes of Asia 

^ V^ r 

FiouKE 1. Sharp-nosed Pit Viper, Agkislrodon 
acutus (CROTALIDAE). Navy photo, cour- 
tesy U.S. National Zoological I'ark. (See 
p. 136) 

Figure 2. Many-banded Krait, ISungarus inuUi- 
cinetus (ELAPIDAE). Navy photo, courtesy 
U.S. National Zoological Park. (See p. 



£. /■•» 

Figure 3. Chinese Mountain Viper, Trimeresurui 
montwola (CROTALIDAE). From a painting. 
(Seep. 138) 

Figure 4. Chinese Habu, Trimeresurus mucro- 
squamatus (CROTALIDAE). From a painting. 
( See p. 137 ) 

Figure 5. Japanese Mamushi, Agkislrodon halys 
blomhoigii (CROTALIDAE). From a painting. 
(See p. 136) 

Figure 6. MacClelland's Coral Snake, CaUiophis 
maccleltandii (ELAPIDAE). From a painting. 
(Seep. 122) 



Some Poisonous Snakes of Asia 

Figure 1. Asian Coral Snake, Cnlliophis saiiteri 
(ELAI'II)AK). From M iiainliMC (Soo|>. 122l 

FiGUHE 2. Chinese Cobra, Xaja naja atra (ELAPI- 
DAE). Navy photo, courtesy U.S. National 
Zoological Park. ( See p. 125) 

Figure 4. Annulated Sea .Snake, Hydrophis 
cyanocinctus (HYDROPHIDAE). Photo by 
Sherman A. illnton. ( See p. 16.") ) 

ItGURES. RnsspU's \ii>er. Viticra niKMlii (VI- 
PERIDAE). Navy photo. (See p. 127) 




Figure 5. Indian Krait, Bitngunis cavnilcKn 
(ELAPIDAE). Photo by Sherman A. Minton. 
( See p. 120 ) 










Q S 

O w 






> 2 


bJD rt 













< S 

W a 
— & 


O —I 


•« o 


JO w 

a, a 

o = 

H S 





























































^ -: 
fl ^ 

en iX^ 

m -: 

■^ '5 

S £ 
o 8 































J « o 

o.s " 


o 5 
■^ c 

-O C5 


03 — t;