Indian Russell's Viper is known by a number of other names, like Daboia, Tic Polonga, etc. A highly poisonous snake of the Viperidae family, it is scientifically known as Vipera russelli. Russell's viper is responsible for most of the snakebite deaths within its habitat. It is light brown in color and is covered with three rows of dark brown or black splotches, bordered with white or yellow.
Russell's Viper grows to a length of 1 to 1.5 m. Its head is long and
triangular, with large, prominent nostrils on each side of the snout.
The fangs of the snake are large, while its tail is quite small. The
length of the snout-vent is 1025 to 1080 mm, while that of the tail is
212 to 225 mm. The color of the Russells Viper of India may be dark
brown, brownish-yellow or brownish-gray, with black or brown oval spots
edged with black/white. The young vipers are clear orange to
brownish-orange in color. There are rows of oval spots along both the
sides of the body and the tail is striped.
The belly of Russels Viper is pinkish-brown or whitish in color with
black spots, which start becoming darker towards the tail. The top
portion of the head has three separate semi triangular spots, which form
a triangle with the vertex between the eyes. There is also a dark band
running diagonally from the eye to the corner of the mouth. The dorsum
is light yellowish brown to sandy brown in color and has chestnut
blotches. At the base of the head is a pair of dark spots and the snout
is adorned with a light V-shaped canthal mark.
Russell's Viper is responsible for the more deaths due to snakebite
than any other venomous snake. It is highly irritable and when
threatened, coils tightly, hisses, and strikes with a lightning speed.
Its hemotoxic venom is a very potent coagulant, which damages tissue as
well as blood cells.
The habitat of the Russels Viper stretches from Indian farmlands to
dense rain forests. It is usually found near human settlements.
Russells Viper can be found in India, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Borneo,
Malaysian Peninsula, Java and Sumatra.
Facts about Indian Russell's Viper