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Venomous Animals - D

Daboia russelii
Deinagkistrodon acutus
Demansia olivacea
Demansia papuensis
Demansia psammophis
Demansia spp.
Demansia vestigiata
Dendroaspis angusticeps
Dendroaspis jamesoni
Dendroaspis polylepis
Dendroaspis viridis
Dispholidus typus

Daboia russelii

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Coluber russellii, Daboia russellii formosensis, D. r. limitis, D. r. russellii, D. r. siamensis, Vipera russelli, V. r. limitis, V. r. russelli, V. r. siamensis

Common Names: Russel's viper, tic polonga, Kettenviper

Description

Terrestrial, medium-to-large, stout viper, adults usually 100-150 cm long (max. 160+ cm); body orange, pink or gray, w/ 3 longitudinal rows of large, dark-edged spots, often interspersed by 2 additional rows of smaller but similar markings, 27-33 midbody dorsal scale rows, belly yellowish-white, often w/ dark brown markings, scales strongly keeled, head triangular & distinct from body.

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Habitat

Found mainly in fairly open dry woodlands & grassy hills, sometimes in the margins of fields or paths, up to 2,000 m elevation. Found from Pakistan eastward through southern China & southward through Indonesia.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial, mainly nocturnal; when threatened, produces a very loud drawn-out hissing sound. Bears live young, up to 60 per litter, each 24-30 cm long. Preys mainly on available small mammals, especially rodents (also on birds, & sometimes on lizards).

Venom Characteristics

Responsible for >1/2 of all reported venomous snake bites in southern Asia. Potent mainly hemotoxic venom, known to cause numerous serious human envenomations & fatalities each year.

Deinagkistrodon acutus

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Agkistrodon acutus, Halys acutus

Common Names: Chinese moccasin, Sharp-nosed pit viper, Hundred pacer, Snorkel viper, Chinesischer Kupferkopf, Chinesischer Nasenotter

Description

Medium-sized, fairly stout-bodied pitviper, adults usually 0.8-1.0 m long (max. 1.5 m). Usually light brown or grayish-brown w/ a series of dark brown triangles along each side. Pointed tops of 2 opposite triangles join mid-dorsally, creating an effect of alternating triangles of different colors. Head dark brown w/ beige or pinkish sides, w/ upturned, pointed snout & dark brown postorbital stripe running back from each eye to the side of the head. Hatchlings lighter w/ vivid patterns.

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Habitat

Found mainly on forested low mountain slopes or rock hills w/ small valleys, but also found in forested mountains up to 1,400 m elevation & low coastal areas at 100 m elevation. During day, may be seen on rocks or in vegetation along streams. Found in eastern, central & southern China, southern Taiwan, northern Vietnam & Laos.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial, & most active at night or in evening but sometimes basks in the sun on exposed rocks or logs. Appears sluggish in fields, but strikes & bites vigorously when aroused. Remains coiled ready to strike at any time. Especially during fall season, hunts for rodents in or near paddies, in gardens, along roadsides, or in houses.

Venom Characteristics

Potent hemotoxin; strongly hemorrhagic. Envenomation symptoms include severe local pain & bleeding, which may begin almost immediately, followed by serious swelling, blistering, necrosis, & ulceration. Systemic symptoms may occur early & suddenly, & often include heart palpitations. Human fatalities have been reported.

Demansia olivacea

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Diemenia angusticeps, D. ornaticeps, Demansia olivacea calodera (in part), D. o. rufescens (in part), D. ornaticeps, Elapocephalus ornaticeps, Lycodon olivaceus

Common Names: Olive whipsnake, marble-headed whipsnake

Description

Long, thin, cylindrical body, w/ narrow head, rather large eyes, set well forward on sides of head, w/ round pupils, smooth scales, a pair of fixed upper front fangs; adults usually 50-70 cm long (max. about 110 cm); body dark to light olive color, w/ reticulated dorsal pattern similar to that of D. psammophis, but less distinct; tail often w/ a reddish tinge.

Habitat

Usually found in savannah, savannah forest, open woodlands, & sometimes cultivated areas, & edges of paths or roads. Limited to Australia (Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland).

Activity and Behavior

Not well known. Mainly diurnal & terrestrial, very alert & active, fast moving, often seen but difficult to catch. Can defend itself aggressively if cornered, & may raise front of body, threaten & bite (quickly & repeatedly). Mainly eats lizards, frogs & occasionally small mammals. Oviparous, females reportedly lay about 10 eggs/ clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Not well known. Mainly nuerotoxic w/ mildly coagulant factors, may cause locally painful bite w/ limited swelling & numbness for extended period. Not reported to have caused any human fatalities, so far. Apparently reluctant to bite, but could be dangerous to humans.

 


Demansia papuensis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Diemenia papuensis, D. psommophis (in part), Demansia olivacea papuensis, D. papuensis melaena, D. p. papuensis

Common Names: Greater black whip snake, Papuan whip snake

Description

Long, slender, cylindrical snake w/ rather short head, a long, whip-like tail; eyes relatively large, set forward on sides of its head, w/ round pupils; adults usually 70-120 cm long (max. 170+ cm); body black to dark-brown, w/ smooth, shiny scales, tail sometimes dark reddish color; two fixed upper front fangs.

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Habitat

Found mainly in savannah & savannah woodlands, somtimes in cultivated areas or along paths or roads. Despite its scientific & common names, this species is limited to northern & northeastern Australia only.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & mainly nocturnal. Very alert, active, fast-moving; often seen but hard to capture, when cornered, may aggressively defend itself & bite readily. Eat mainly lizards, frogs, & sometimes rodents. Oviparous, females have been reported to have laid 3-12 eggs/ clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic, may include hemotoxic (coagulant) factors. Bites can be very painful for extended periods (e.g., 20+ min.) & may include local swelling & numbness of a bitten digit or limb. Not reported to have caused any human fatalities.

 


Demansia psammophis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Demnsia psammophis cupreiceps, D. p. psammophis, D. p. reticulata, Diemenia psammophis, Elaps psammophis, Lycodon reticulatus, Pseudelaps psammophidius, Trachylepis psammophis

Common Names: Yellow-faced whipsnake, yellow-faced whip snake,

Description

Medium-sized, long, thin, cylindrical body, w/ a pair of fixed upper front fangs, narrow head, large eyes, set well forward; smooth scales are light-yellowish colored, & appear to each be outlined in black or dark brown; body may be olive or reddish, tail almost solid reddish, dark circle around each eye, which extends backward as a stripe to the angle of the jaw.

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Habitat

Usually found in savannah, savannah forest, or open edges of woods or along trails. Found in every state in Australia & from Dirk Hartog Island, south of Harvey, Western Australia.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly diurnal & mainly terrestrial; very fast, viviparous, may lay 4-13 eggs/ individual clutch, sometimes multiple females will lay clutches together in a "communal" nest (one such w/ >600 egg reported). Often seen but hard to catch. May defend itself aggressively if cornered.

Venom Characteristics

Not well known. Mildly coagulant factors, may cause a painful bite & sometimes localized numbing of a hand or limb. Apparently reluctant to bite but potentially dangerous to humans. No human fatalities reported to have been due to envenomation by this species, so far.

 


Demansia spp.

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Currently 11 or 12 species in this genus, but only 4 species (listed individually, separately, in this data base) are often encountered by humans. [Image w/ this entry shows D. torquata - not otherwise addressed in this database.]

Common Names: Australian, or Asian, whip snakes

Description

Very long slender snakes w/ relatively short heads & long, whip-like tails; eyes large, set far forward on head, w/ round pupils. Adults of most species 60-100 cm long (max. 120 cm). Background color usually uniformly glossy green-black to olive or dark reddish; most are plain dark-colored or have a reticulated dorsal pattern; smooth, shiny scales, w/ 2 fixed upper front fangs.

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Habitat

Primarily found in savannah & open savannah woodlands; several species may be found in cultivated areas or near trails/ roads. All are mainly limited to Australia or New Guinea, or both (plus certain nearby islands).

Activity and Behavior

Mainly diurnal & terrestrial. Very active & nervous; fast-moving; feed mainly on lizards & frogs, sometimes on rodents. Reportedly usually secretive & evasive, but may act aggressive & bite quickly if provoked. Oviparous, females of most species lay 4-12 eggs/ clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic; possibly w/ hemotoxic factor(s). Bites may result in severe local pain & swelling persisting for a week or more. No specific antivenom currently produced, but Tiger Snake antivenom reportedly may be effective. Not reported to cause human fatalities, so far.

 


Demansia vestigiata

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Demansia atra (in part), D. maculiceps, D. superba, Hoplocephalus vestigiatus

Common Names: Lesser black whip snake

Description

Small to medium-sized, w/ long, thin, cylindrical body, smooth, shiny scales, a pair of fixed upper front fangs, very prominent eyes set forward on the sides of their head, mainly dark brownish to black dorsally, adults usually 120-170 cm long. Tail whip-like & often dull reddish-brown to reddish colored.

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Habitat

Found mainly in savannah, savannah forest, along paths/ roads, & sometimes in cultivated land, in northern & eastern Australia & southern New Guinea. This is apparently the most common, & one of the 2 most widely distributed, species in this genus.

Activity and Behavior

Terrestrial & diurnal, very fast-moving, prey mainly on lizards, & possibly also frogs. Often seen, but very hard to capture, if cornered, may confront the threat & may sometimes aggressively defend itself. Oviparous, lays clutches of about 12 eggs each.

Venom Characteristics

Reportedly has relatively mild venom, mainly neurotoxic w/ one or more coagulant factors, can inflict a painful bite on humans & possibly cause a numbing effect which involves a whole limb (e.g., arm). Apparently reluctant to bite, but could be dangerous to humans.

 


Dendroaspis angusticeps

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Dendroaspis sjostedti, Naja angusticeps

Common Names: Eastern green mamba, green mamba, Blattgrune Mamba, Gewohnliche Mamba

Description

Large, relatively slender, arboreal Elapid, adults usually 1.5-2.0 m long (max. 2.5 m), w/ narrow, coffin-shaped head. Body uniformly bright green on back w/ yellowish-green belly; & 17-19 midbody dorsal scale rows. Smooth, narrow scales, small eyes, round pupils, interior of mouth white. Young (<60 cm long) often bluish-green (vs. grayish for young boomslangs).

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Habitat

Mainly found in coastal bush, evergreen coastal forests, bamboo thickets &, where these have been destroyed, found in tea & mango plantations.

Activity and Behavior

Active, mainly arboreal & diurnal (active at dusk & dawn, too); seldom ventures to ground. Shy & rarely seen. Relatively nonaggressive; when cornered, will threaten & bite, but usually only as a last resort. Oviparous (up to 17 eggs/ clutch), & mainly eat available small mammals, birds & bats (& maybe lizards).

Venom Characteristics

Venom contains potent neurotoxins. This species is common throughout its range, but bites of humans are rare. Deaths of humans have been reported, but are uncommon. Seriously envenomated humans may need ventilation support in addition to aggressive antivenom therapy.

Dendroaspis jamesoni

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Dendraspis angusticeps, D. jamesoni, D. jamesonii, D. neglectus, D. welwitschii, Dendroaspis jamesoni jamesoni, D. j. kaimosae, Dinophis fasciolatus, Elaps jamesoni

Common Names: Jameson's mamba, Jameson-Mamba

Description

Large, slender, w/ narrow head, smooth, narrow scales, adults usually 1.5-2.2 m long (max. 2.5 m); usually dull-green above, pale-green below; scales narrowly edged w/ black; w/ 15-17 midbody dorsal scale rows. Overall color becomes darker toward tail. Long thin tail all black (or w/ "netlike" yellow & black pattern in some populations). Eyes rather small (vs. large eyes in boomslangs).

Habitat

Tropical rain forest regions, woodlands, & sometimes isolated patches of thick vegetation w/ one or more trees. Found throughout equatorial tropical forest belt of central & western Africa, from Kenya to Ghana & south to Angola & Burundi.

Activity and Behavior

Arboreal & mainly diurnal, very active & agile, but sometimes descend to the ground. If cornered, it spreads a hood or inflates its throat. Seldom aggressive, but will defend itself if cornered or persistently molested. Oviparous (clutch size not reported) & mainly eats available rodents &/or birds.

Venom Characteristics

Not well studied. Mainly contains very potent neurotoxins, may also contain some hemotoxic or myotoxic factors. This species is common throughout its range, but bites of humans are rare. Human fatalities have been reported, & seriously envenomated humans may need ventilation support in addition to antivenom therapy.

Dendroaspis polylepis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Dendraspis angusticeps, D. polylepis, Dendroaspis polylepis antinori, D. p. antinorii, D. p. polylepis

Common Names: Black mamba

Description

Large, active, slender, semi-arboreal, adults usually 2.2-2.7 m long (max. 3.5 m). May be brown, olive brown, dark olive, greenish brown or dark blackish gray; w/ long, narrow head & 23-25 (rarely 21) midbody dorsal scale rows, scales smooth (may have purplish "bloom"). Belly cream, ivory or pale green. Mouth blue-gray to blackish inside. Has a pair of fixed upper front fangs.

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Habitat

Found most commonly (rather wide-spread) in well-wooded low-lying savannahs of southern & eastern Africa, especially in area of rocky outcroppings, but not in true grassland, rain forest, or desert. Also frequents abandoned termite mounds, mammal burrows, & even thatched roofs; usually found at <1,500 m elevation.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly diurnal & mainly terrestrial, but also climbs trees rapidly & agilely in search of prey or shelter. Usually shy & elusive; moves off rapidly at first sign of danger. If cornered, may raise forepart of body from ground & spread narrow hood. If intruder persists, it can strike a long way out & up. Extremely fast, largest poisonous snake in Africa. Oviparous, 6-17 eggs/ clutch, eats various prey, mainly small mammals, birds, & other snakes.

Venom Characteristics

Most dreaded African venomous snake; few people survive its bite unless antivenom administered promptly. Vemon very potent neurotoxin & cardiotoxin, death usually due to respiratory failure. Can deliver a large amount (10 times estimated human LD50) in 1 bite. Envenomations w/ symptoms showing within 1 hour are serious. Usually starts w/ tightening of chest & throat muscles, then gradual paralysis of facial muscles.

Dendroaspis viridis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Leptophis viridis

Common Names: West African green mamba, Western green mamba, Grune Mamba

Description

Long, thin, quick-moving alert, green & black tree snake w/ narrow head. Adults usually 1.4-2.1 m long (max. 2.3+ m). Usually medium-green to yellowish-green; scales usually edged w/ black (especially on head). Smooth dorsal scales relatively very large, in 13 midbody rows, & long thin tail w/ yellow scales edged w/ black. Fixed upper front fangs. Belly pale green.

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Habitat

Found mainly in coastal rain forests &, sometimes, isolated patches of thick vegetation w/ 1 or more trees. Limited to sub-Saharan western Africa, from Nigeria westward to Guinea.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly diurnal & mainly arboreal, but quite often descends to ground if disturbed. Reportedly fairly common throughout its range, but shy & seldom seen. If cornered, may (only very rarely) spread a small hood or inflate its throat. Oviparous (clutch size unknown) & eats mainly available small mammals (e.g., squirrels), birds, & bats.

Venom Characteristics

Venom primarily neurotoxic, but not much known. Potentially dangerous, but bites of humans rare. A few reported envenomations & human deaths due to bites by this species had symptoms very similar to those caused by Black Mamba venom.

Dispholidus typus

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Identification

Family: Colubridae

Scientific Names: Bucephalus capensis, B. typus, Dispholidus typus kivuenis, D. t. punctatus, D. t. typus

Common Names: Boomslang, Grune Boomslang

Description

Large, rather slender, rear-fanged tree-snake, adults usually 1.2-1.5 m long (max. 2+ m). May be black to drab olive-brown, to almost all green; no blotches or distinct spots, juveniles change color (becoming darker & duller) as they become adults. Sexes often different colored. Short stubby head & enormous emerald-green eyes. Scales strongly keeled & overlapping, look like they are in 17-21 diagonal (angled) midbody dorsal rows.

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Habitat

Most common in most kinds of wooded habitats; dry woodlands, thorn scrub, savannahs, & swamps bordering or close to streams, rivers, & lakes. Found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa except continuous rain forests of the Congo basin or true deserts. Reported from

Activity and Behavior

Mainly diurnal, strongly arboreal, spends most of time in trees & shrubs. Notably nonaggressive & shy; quickly retreats if surprised. If cornered, inflates neck to more than twice usual size showing bright yellow or orangish skin beneath. Oviparous, usually lay up to 25 eggs in moist rotting logs on the ground. Prey mainly on tree lizards, birds & eggs, & sometimes arboreal rodents & bats. Do not attempt to constrict prey.

Venom Characteristics

Very potently hemotoxic; can cause severe bleeding internally, within critical organs, & from mucous membranes. Human deaths reported in as short as 3-5 days.