Mangshan pit vipers are stunning in more ways than just one.
- A Mangshan pit viper is a large species of nocturnal pit viper snake, found in a small region of mountainous forests in the Guangdong and Hunan provinces in southern China.
- ‘Mangshan pit vipers’ are also known as ‘Mangshan iron-head snakes’, ‘Chinese pit vipers’, ‘Mang Mountain pit vipers’, ‘ironhead pitvipers’, ‘Mount Mang pitvipers’, ‘Mangshan vipers’ and ‘Mt Mang pit vipers’.
- The scientific name of the Mangshan pit viper is Protobothrops mangshanensis, from the family Viperidae, the family of vipers, and it was first scientifically documented in 1990 and was formerly referred to as Trimeresurus mangshanensis.
- Mangshan pit vipers are one of two snakes that are not technically a cobra, that can spit their venom.
- Mangshan pit vipers generally grow to be a length of 1.4 to 2.1 metres (4.6 to 7 feet) and they weigh 3 to 5 kilograms (6.6 to 11 pounds).
A Mangshan Pit Viper
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
- The venom of Mangshan pit vipers can be spat up to a distance of 2 metres (6.6 feet); however they will more often bite prey with their large fangs, such as frogs, birds, insects, or small mammals, to inject toxins.
- The scales of Mangshan pit vipers range from green to yellow and brown in colour, layered in intricate camouflaging patterns, making it an attractive snake, and sought after as a pet.
- The Mangshan pit viper population had shrunk to an estimated 500 specimens in 2009, partly as result of habitat destruction, as well as illegal trade for the pet industry, and with this continuing to be a prominent threat, the species is considered endangered.
- Mangshan pit vipers have a tail tip that is white, that is used to attract prey by appearing to be a grub.
- The venom of Mangshan pit vipers can cause severe blood clotting and corrode muscle tissue, and thus it can be fatal to humans.