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Venomous Animals - P

Parabuthus granulatus
Parabuthus spp.
Parabuthus transvaalicus
Paranaja multifasciata
Pelamis platurus
Phoneutria nigriventer
Phoneutria spp.
Physalia physalis
Porthidium arcosae
Porthidium dunni
Porthidium hespere
Porthidium lansbergii
Porthidium nasutum
Porthidium ophryomegas
Porthidium porrasi
Porthidium volcanicum
Porthidium yucatanicum
Proatheris superciliaris
Protobothrops elegans
Protobothrops flavoviridis
Protobothrops jerdonii
Protobothrops mucrosquamatus
Protobothrops spp. (general)
Pseudechis australis
Pseudechis colletti
Pseudechis guttatus
Pseudechis papuanus
Pseudechis porphyriacus
Pseudocerastes fieldi
Pseudocerastes persicus
Pseudohaje goldii
Pseudohaje nigra
Pseudonaja affinis
Pseudonaja guttata
Pseudonaja inframacula
Pseudonaja ingrami
Pseudonaja modesta
Pseudonaja nuchalis
Pseudonaja textilis
Pterois volitans

Parabuthus granulatus

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Identification

Family: Buthidae

Scientific Names: Androctonus ganulatus, Buthus granulatus var. B-segnis, Buthus fulvipes, Parabuthus fulvipes, Parabuthus granulatus bergeri, P. g. fulvipes, P. g. fuscus, P. g. granulatus, P. g. strenuus, Scorpio granulatus

Common Names: Granulated thick-tailed scorpion

Description

Large, thick-tailed scorpion, adults usually 70-110 mm long (max. 140+ mm). Body dark-brown to black dorsally, stout, w/ thick caudal segments (size increasing toward telson). Legs & pedipalps lighter brown, but most caudal segments very dark. Pedipalp chelae bases robust, bare & shiny (no setae), caudal segments I-V & telson nearly bare (few/ no setae). Dorsal surface of carapace, chelae, & cauda w/ distinctly dark & "granular". Largest & most widespread Parabuthus sp. in southern Africa.

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Habitat

Found in semi-psammophilous (sandy) locations without many rocks, where it burrows in open ground at bases of shrubs or grass tufts; less often burrows under logs or stones. More common than other Parabuthus spp. in disturbed areas, like dry riverbeds, & more commonly comes into human contact, too. Sometimes found in agricultural sites & enters humans' houses. May also occur in Mozambique, but not yet reported from there.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal, but active at dusk, & mainly terrestrial, but climbs, too. Hunts actively over ground surface, instead of waiting "in ambush" as do most other large spp. of Parabuthus in southern Africa. Ovoviviparous, litter numbers not reported, but probably usually 20+ young. Preys mainly on available insects or arthropods (may occasionally eat a small lizard).

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic, possibly also contains myotoxic & cytotoxic factors. Envenomation by this species is a significant cause of annual human morbidity (& frequent mortality) throughout its range, despite at least fluctuant availability of an effective antivenom. Human deaths reportedly are usually due to respiratory failure or paralysis. Children are reportedly more severely affected than adults.

 


Parabuthus spp.

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Identification

Family: Buthidae

Scientific Names: Buthus spp. (in part), Heterobuthus spp. [Note: This genus includes at least 27 currently recognized named species; Most are seldom encountered or have less potent stings, but 2 spp. (detailed separately) pose significant health threats by causing frequent, serious envenomations or fatalities of humans within their range.]

Common Names: Thick-tailed scorpions, large thick-tailed scorpions

Description

Large, thick-tailed scorpions, adults usually 60-100 mm long, some spp. up to 140+ mm (varies by spp.). Body usually dark-brown to nearly black dorsally, stout, w/ very robust caudal segments. Only 1 median keel on mesosomal tergites. Legs & edges of body of most spp. usually lighter brown (often yellowish), pincers thick, strong, & relatively short.

Habitat

Found mainly in arid or semi-arid sites (usually w/ no more than 600 mm of annual rainfall). Most often encountered by humans in the edges of desert oases or similar sites. Most (20 spp.) are limited to southern & southwestern Africa, but some are found in arid northeastern Africa & the Arabian penninsula.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal (1 sp. mainly diurnal), but also often active at dusk or dawn. Mainly terrestrial, but most spp. can climb well. Will strike (try to sting) intruders w/ very little provocation when encountered. Ovoviviparous (litter numbers vary w/ spp. & female's size) & prey mainly on available insects & arthropods.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic, also w/ cytotoxic & myotoxic factors in venom of some spp. Human deaths have been reportedly due to respiratory arrest, & fatalities have mainly been small children. This genus includes some of the most dangerous species of African scorpions.

 


Parabuthus transvaalicus

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Identification

Family: Buthidae

Scientific Names: Androctonus teter, Parabuthus obscurus, P. pachysoba, Scorpio teter

Common Names: Thick-tailed scorpion, Transvaal thick-tailed scorpion

Description

Large-sized thick-tailed scorpion, adults usually 80-120 mm long (max. 140+ mm). Carapace, mesosoma, metasoma (postabdomen; or cauda), legs & pedipalps uniformly dark-brown to black. Caudal segments I-IV each (progressively) wider & thicker at posterior than at anterior end. Fixed digit of each pincer (pedipalp chela) distinctly curved dorsally. Distinct granular stridulatory surfaces on dorsum of metasomal segments I & II & caudal tergite VII. Carapace lacks dorsal carinae.

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Habitat

Found in semi-psammophilous (sandy) sites, w/ semi-consolidated to consolidated sandy, gritty, & loamy substrates (often in rocky habitats), where it excavates burrows under stones or fallen trees. Mainly found in arid or semi-arid places w/ sandy soil & sparse scrubby vegetation (& occasional trees), like margins of oases. Limited to southern Africa.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal (sometimes active at dusk or dawn) & terrestrial (but will readily climb rough surfaces). If disturbed, will try to sting an intruder w/ little or no further provocation. Ovoviviparous, litters of 18-30+ young reported; preys on available insects, arthropods, & occasionally also on small lizards.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic, w/ possibly some myotoxic or cytotoxic factors. Envenomation (stings) by this species are a significant cause of human morbidity & mortality in the sparsely-populated western regions of southern Africa. It has caused many human fatalities, usually due to respiratory failure, despite availability (fluctuantly) of an effective antivenom. Children are usually most seriously affected.

Paranaja multifasciata

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Naia multifasciata, Paranaja multifasciata anomala, P. m. duttoni, P. m. multifasciata

Common Names: Burrowing cobra, many-banded cobra, many-banded burrowing snake

Description

Small, stout cobra, w/ fairly large eyes, adults usually 50-70 cm long (max. 80 cm). Has relatively large fangs. Head short, flattened, & slightly distinct from body, chin & belly totally cream colored (turn pale yellow-brown w/ age). Body moderately slender; smooth scales, 15-17 midbody dorsal rows, individual dorsal body scales nearly all cream on their front half, black on back half. Dorsal scales darken w/ age, become all dark brownish or blackish; tail short, no obvious hood.

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Habitat

Mainly found burrowing in loose sandy soil & forest floor debris; in forests, well-wooded savannahs, or forest edges in west-central Africa, mainly in the drainage area of the Zaire River.

Activity and Behavior

Not much known, but probably mainly fossorial (burrowing), probably mainly diurnal, often coming out onto the surface of the forest floor after rains. Moves fairly quickly. Oviparous (clutch size not reported). Probably preys on lizards & other snakes.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but venom probably mildly neurotoxic. Although no bites or envenomations of humans reported for this species, it has relatively very long (for its body size) fixed front fangs, & must be regarded as potentially dangerous. No known antivenom currently produced.

 


Pelamis platurus

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Identification

Family: Hydrophiidae

Scientific Names: Anguis platura, Hydrophis bicolor var. sinuata, H. pelamis, Hydrus bicolor, H. platurus, Pelamis bicolor, P. b. var. sinuata, P. b. var. variegata, P. ornata. P. platurus, P. schneideri

Common Names: Yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelagic sea snake, cantil listada, zapatilla, serpiente de mar

Description

Medium-sized, slender sea snake, adults usually <75 cm long (max. 113 cm). The tail is laterally flattened & oarlike. Body color pattern is highly variable (in detail) but basically involves a black or brown dorsum w/ a yellow or cream venter (lower half). Color of tail is yellow, w/ alternating upper & lower large dark blotches (somtimes w/ 1 or more stripes) on both sides.

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Habitat

Found only in the Pacific & Indian Oceans; sometimes drifts in large numbers in offshore waters w/ temperatures >20 degrees C. Can be found in coastal (or even open ocean) marine waters from South Africa, to the Persian Gulf, to India, to Australia, to the western coasts of Central & northern South America. Rarely, individual specimens may be found outside this range (e.g, on western Mexican coast).

Activity and Behavior

Usually floats among flotsam or floating seaweed at the surface in tropical or subtopical zones of the Pacific & northern Indian Oceans. Captures small fish that happen near via a quick sideways lunge. Quite inoffensive, but when restrained or when stranded on a beach it will bite (& may actively strike) to defend itself.

Venom Characteristics

Highly potent venom containing post-synaptic neurotoxins. Most natural marine predators, like predatory fish & even sharks, usually avoid this snake. Scavengers also tend to avoid specimens which have been washed up onto a beach & are dying.

Phoneutria nigriventer

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Identification

Family: Ctenidae

Scientific Names: [Note: This is the most common (within its range), & has the most potent venom, of at least 5 named species in this genus which may each occasionally envenomate humans or pets. Other 4 spp. all have generally lighter, usually yellowish or light-brown, overall body colors.]

Common Names: Wandering spider, Brazilian wandering spider, banana spider, arana del banano

Description

Large, stout spider, w/ body (cephalothorax + abdomen) usually 3.5 cm long (legs usually span 5+ cm). Body dark brown to black, covered w/ thick, short medium to dark brown hairs. Dorsal pattern w/ paired light spots in longitudinal bands, w/ oblique lines of smaller light spots along sides of abdomen. Front 2 pairs of legs w/ distinct yellow/ white ventral crossbands at many joints, distinctly visible in threat display. Carapace w/ longitudinal dark median dorsal stripe.

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Habitat

Found in moist to seasonally dry sites w/ plenty of vegetation, organic debris, & places to hide (e.g., between or under palm fronds, loose bark, or bricks & logs). Very common around & inside humans' homes in tropical & sub-tropical South America. Mainly reported from central & southern Brazil. Probably occurs in several adjacent countries but specimens not yet confirmed from them. Have been moved internationally in commerce. Recently reported from Azerbaijan.

Activity and Behavior

Nocturnal, often comes into agricultural sites & houses. Often hide inside shoes & clothing. Very quick & agile. Aggressive if slightly disturbed, usually raise front 4 legs very high & straight (fully extended), & show large fangs in a "threat" display. Prey mainly on available insects & arthropods.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly a peripheral neurotoxin, w/ cardiotoxic & possibly other factors. Envenomation of humans usually causes intense local pain, violent muscle spasms, lacrimation, salivation, vomiting, priapism, heart palpitations, dyspnea, often causes nervous depression, seizures, pulmonary edema, & cardiac & respiratory problems (rarely, collapse). Human deaths (usually of children) have been caused by such envenomations.

Phoneutria spp.

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Identification

Family: Ctenidae

Scientific Names: [Note: This genus currently includes 5 named species: Phoneutria bahiensis, P. boliviensis, P. fera (the largest, & shown here), P. nigriventer (bites sometimes lethal without use of antivenom), & P. reidyi.]

Common Names: Wandering spiders, banana spiders, South American wandering spiders

Description

Large, stout spiders w/ body (cephalothorax + abdomen) about 3.5 cm long, legs usually span 5+ cm. Body color light to dark-brown to black, covered w/ thick, short yellow to dark-brown hairs. Pattern varies by spp., usually a middorsal dark line on carapace & lines &/or bands of whitish spots (some spp. w/ dark-brown spots too) on top &/or sides of abdomen. Front 2 pairs of legs w/ distinct lighter ventral crossbands which show during threat displays.

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Habitat

Most spp. are found mainly at or near ground level in moist to seasonally dry margins of forest clearings or at agricultural sites (esp. around bananas), w/ vegetation, organic debris, & lots of hiding places (like between palm fronds) & ample prey. Some spp. common in & around humans' buildings. Individual species' ranges differ, most limited to central & northern South America (1 sp. in Central America) at low to moderate elevations. Often carried long distances in commerce.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal, respond to vibrations, usually wait in hiding & "ambush" a wide variety of prey (mainly insects & other arthropods, but often small vertebrates, too). Surprisingly quick, fast, & agile for their relatively large size. Adult females can jump about 1 ft. laterally at the same level as their resting place. Aggressive if even slightly disturbed, usually raise front 2 pairs of legs (fully extended) in a threat display, just before rushing at an intruder.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic (w/ possible cardiotoxic factors), most spp. have large volume of venom available. Several spp. are easily provoked to bite if disturbed, stepped on (or near), or brushed against. Only 1 sp. (detailed separately) is known to cause human fatalities, but others can inflict very painful bites & may pose a heath risk, especially to persons w/ other medical problems. For details of typical symptoms of serious envenomation, See Phoneutria nigriventer.

Physalia physalis

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Identification

Family: Hydrozoa

Scientific Names: Physalia arethusa, P. megalista, P. pelagica (in part) [ Note: This species belongs to the Hydrozoa, colonial marine animals related & very similar to, yet different from, true Jellyfishes. At least one other closely-related species (P. urticulus) causes occasional serious stinging of swimming or wading humans along marine shores.]

Common Names: Portugese man-o-war, bluebottle, 'Ili Mane 'o, Pa 'imalau, Palalia, Pololia, caravelle, galere, physalie, vaisseau de guerre portugais, vaisseau portugais, vessie de mer, caravela, schwimm-polypen

Description

Semi-transparent, oblong, up to 6+ in. (15+ cm) long, robustly spindle-shaped, bladder w/ pointed ends (one more blunt than the other), a broad fin-like, inflated upper crest, often rising 6 in. (15 cm) above water, & w/ many tentacles (each up to 30 ft.; 10 m long) dangling below it. Usually various shades of pale bluish, pinkish &/or purplish in color.

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Habitat

Found world-wide in tropical & subtropical marine waters of the Pacific, Indian, & North Atlantic Oceans (mainly in the Caribbean Sea & Gulf Stream of the Atlantic), & Mediterranean Sea. Float on the surface, often in large numbers somewhat closely clustered. Found in warm open oceans & shallow waters, & often wash up onto beaches.

Activity and Behavior

Float on ocean surface, can swim (not very well) but are mainly moved around passively by wind force on the part of their body ("sail") which projects above the water surface. Three other "kinds" of cells (polyps) each do their own respective specialized functions of: prey capture (stinging), digesting of food, & reproduction for the whole individual man-o-war (each floating unit could be considered a "colony"). Preys on small planktonic forms to medium-sized fish.

Venom Characteristics

Venom contains very potent cytotoxic & neurotoxic factors, delivered by countless nematocysts on 30-ft. long hanging tentacles. Contact w/ tentacle (nematocysts) usually causes intense local pain, spreading numbness, local tissue necrosis, sometimes cardiac problems & shock within 1-24 hrs. Typical signs include reddened wheals at each nematocyst sting site, usually in long, fairly straight lines. Cause many serious stinging cases & some fatalities of humans world-wide yearly.

 


Porthidium arcosae

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothrops boussingaultii, Porthidium lansbergii arcosae, Thanatophis boussingaultii, Thanatos boussingaultii

Common Names: Manabi hognosed pitviper

Description

Small, moderately slender, terrestrial hognosed pitviper, adults usually about 63 cm long. Body color & patterns highly variable; usually a fairly dark snake overall, w/ 19-24 darker quadrangular blotches along each side, w/ shorter lighter spaces between, venter cream or tan w/ darker spotting near sides; 27 midbody dorsal scale rows, thin yellow-brown vertebral line, contrasting postorbital stripe often dark, bordered by whitish. Known from only a few specimens.

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Habitat

Known only from dry forests in the Pacific coastal lowlands of western Ecuador from near sea level to about 100 m elevation.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal, but often active during the day (especially after a rain); sometimes encountered crawling or coiled by forest paths. Not known to be aggressive, but would probably defend itself if cornered. Ovoviviparous, 3-15 young/ litter observed. Preys mainly on lizards, but also eats frogs, other snakes, & rodents.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known; presumably mainly hemotoxic, no bites nor fatalities of humans have been reported.

 


Porthidium dunni

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothriechis brachystoma, B. lansbergii, Bothropsis brachystoma, Bothrops brachystoma, B. dunni, B. lansbergii, Lachesis brachystoma, Trimeresurus dunni

Common Names: Dunn’s hog-nosed pit viper, Benda-gubisi, chatills, vibora chata, vibora chatilla

Description

Small, moderately stout, terrestrial hog-nosed pitviper, adults usually 30-40 cm long (max. 54+ cm). Body color variable, including gray, tan, & pale orange-brown, usually w/ a thin, pale, middorsal stripe separating dorsolateral series of 13-23 dark brown blotches, usually 23 midbody dorsal scale rows. Belly white or cream, w/ darker speckling, more pigmented toward tail.

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Habitat

Found mainly in tropical deciduous forest, including semiarid areas of Pacific coast plains of southwestern Maxico (southern Oaxaca). Occurs from sea level to 700 m elevation.

Activity and Behavior

Not well known. Mainly terrestrial & mainly nocturnal, but has been observed active in forenoon, especially after a rain. Known to eat lizards, frogs, & small mammals (sometimes even other smaller snakes). Ovoviviparous, w/ 3-15 young/ litter.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly hemotoxic w/ tissue-necrotic factors. Reportedly has relatively low venom yield, & envenomation reportedly has only mild to moderately severe effects. No specific antivenoms currently produced.

 


Porthidium hespere

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothrops hesperus

Common Names: Western hog-nosed pitviper, Colima hognosed viper, Colmillo de puerco

Description

Small, fairly stout, terrestrial hog-nosed pitviper, adults usually 30-40 cm long (max. 57+ cm). Body usually grayish-buff, w/ narrow golden brown middorsal stripe bi-secting dorso-lateral series of (>25) greenish-brown blotches, & 23 midbody dorsal scale rows. Head uniform grayish-pink on top, w/ darker postorbital stripe, belly pale pink near head, shades to salmon toward tail, usually mottled w/ dark blotches (especially near the sides). Tail yellow below w/ dense black stippling along sides.

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Habitat

Found in low tropical deciduous forest (w/ trees <10 m tall) in a region w/ a long, harsh dry season (November-May). Occurs up to 300 m elevation. Known mainly from a limited area along Pacific coastal hills of southwestern Mexico (Jalisco, near Colima).

Activity and Behavior

Not much known. Terrestrial & mainly nocturnal; more active after rains. Probably eats mostly lizards, & possibly small mammals. Ovoviviparous, number not stated, but probably <15 young/ litter.

Venom Characteristics

The only recorded bite resulted in severe pain & local swelling. Venoms probably hemotoxic w/ tissue-necrotic factors. Probably has relatively low venom yield, & envenomation usually causes only mild to moderately severe pain & local swelling. No human fatalities reported to have been caused by this species.

 


Porthidium lansbergii

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothriechis brachystoma (in part), B. lansbergi, Bothriopsis castelnavi var. brachystoma, B. brachystoma, Bothrops brachystoma, B. lansbergi, B. lansbergii, B. l. huttmanni, B. l. janisrosei, lansbergii, B. l. rozei, Lachesis brachystoma, L. lansbergi, Porthidium brachystoma, P. lansbergii hutmanni, P. l. lansbergii, P. l. rozei, Teleuraspis castelnaui var. brachystoma, T. lansbergi, Thanatos lansbergi, Thanatopsis lansbergi, Trigonocephalus lansbergii, Trimeresurus brachystoma

Common Names: Lansberg’s hog-nosed pitviper, mapana, mapana barriga del moncholo, panoco, patoco, patoco salton, patoquilla veinticuatro, saltona, trabichuri, tamagas, daya, deroya, macagua amarilla, mapanare del monte, mapanare rabo frito, matacaballo, morona, petaca, rabo amarillo, rabo de candela, sapa, sapamanare, talla equis

Description

Small to medium-sized moderately slender, terrestrial pitviper w/ upturned snout, adults usually 30-50 cm long (max. 90 cm). Body usually w/ thin, pale (white to tan) line down middle of the back. Color quite variable, but overall tan to greenish-brown, w/ 16-25 dark quadrangular blotches along each side, w/ a tan postorbital stripe, 21-25 midbody dorsal scale rows, belly tan to cream w/ dark blotches.

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Habitat

Mainly found in lowland arid & semiarid belts of thorn forest & dry tropical forest; also occurs in humid coastal & foothill forests of eastern Panama from sea level to 1,000 m elevation. In Venezuela, this species occurs up to 1,270 m elevation. Limited to Panama, northern Colombia & northern Venezuela.

Activity and Behavior

Terrestrial & mainly nocturnal; most active during local wet seasons. Usually relatively lethargic, usually coils tightly when disturbed. This species has been observed crossing roads at night. Eats mainly lizards, also small mammals. Ovoviviparous w/ litter size not reported (but likely <15 young).

Venom Characteristics

Not well known, but probably mainly hemotoxic, possibly w/ some tissue-necrotic factors. Few reported bites or envenomations of humans, typical reported symptoms have included severe local pain & local swelling, but no fatalities reported, so far.

 


Porthidium nasutum

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothriopsis brachystoma (in part), B. proboscideus, Bothrops brachystoma, B. nasuta, B. nasutum, Lachesis brachystoma, Porthidium nasutum nasutum, P. n. sutum, Thanatos sutus, Thanatophis sutus, Trimeresurus brachystoma, T. nasutus

Common Names: Rainforest hog-nosed pit viper, hog-nosed pitviper, Tommygoff, cbeza de candado, cachetona, equis-vientequatro, vibora pajonero, tamaga, toboba, toboba chinga, vibora, chalpate, chatilla, tepemechin, xalpate de palo, chatia, kukuypal, pyuta, tamagas de nariz chata, ek shush, nauyaca chatilla, aspid

Description

Small, fairly stout, terrestrial pitviper w/ distinct snout, adults usually 30-40 cm long (max. 60 cm). Body may be tan, brown, reddish-brown, yellowish-brown, grayish-brown, or gray. Most specimens have a very narrow reddish vertebral line & a series of 13-23 dark quadrangular blotches along each side, has 21-25 (usually 23) midbody dorsal scale rows. Belly pale tan to grayish w/ darker speckling.

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Habitat

Mainly found in lowland rainforest, tropical moist forest, & lower montane wet forest, usually at less than 900 m elevation; has been reported up to 1,900 m in Colombia.

Activity and Behavior

Active day & night. Mostly terrestrial, but has been found climbing in shrubs or small trees. Frequently found coiled in patchy sunlight in leaf litter (very hard to see because of coloration & small size). Ovoviviparous, w/ reported litters of 2-15 young. Eats mainly lizards, frogs, small rodents, & other snakes (cannibalistic), & juveniles often eat invertebrates.

Venom Characteristics

Venom may be more toxic than usual for this genus; human fatalities have been attributed to its bite. Venoms mainly hemotoxic w/ tissue-necrotic factors. Apparently has relatively low venom yield, & envenomation usually causes mainly severe local pain & some local swelling.

Porthidium ophryomegas

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothriechis ophryomegas, Bothropsis ophryomegas, Bothrops ophryomegas, B. lansbergii annectens, Trimeresurus lansbergii annectens, T. ophryomegas

Common Names: Slender hog-nosed pit viper, Western hog-nosed pit viper, vibora castellana, tamagas negro, toboba, toboba chinga, toboba gata, corniz, chatilla

Description

Small, fairly slender pitviper w/ upturned snout, adults usually 40-50 cm long (max. 80 cm). Body may be tan, brown, gray, or grayish-brown, w/ a narrow white, yellow, or rust brown middorsal line, 23-28 (usually 25) midbody dorsal scale rows, & 24-40 dark rhombs along each side. Dark postocular stripe, belly paler w/ heavy dark brown mottling (esp. along front edge of each ventral scale). Some specimens very pale w/ much lighter markings. Tail heavily mottled on basal half, paler near tip.

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Habitat

Mainly found in seasonally dry forests, including tropical dry & arid forest, subtropical dry forest, & the drier portions of tropical moist forest. Occurs from sea level to 1,000 m elevation. May occur in suitable habitats in southeastern Mexico, but no specimens documented from there, so far.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & mainly nocturnal; most active during local rainy seasons. Alert & quick to strike, especially if molested. Ovoviviparous w/ 12-19 young/ litter observed for captured specimens. Preys mainly on lizards, frogs, & small mammals.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably mainly hemotoxic w/ tissue-necrotic factors. Reportedly has relatively low venom yield, & envenomation should usually have only mild to moderately severe effects (mainly pain & swelling). No human fatalities reported, so far, from bites by this species.

Porthidium porrasi

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothrops nasuta, Porthidium nasutum (in part)

Common Names: White-tailed hognosed pitviper, Tamaga

Description

Small, rather stout pitviper w/ upturned snout, adults usually <50 cm long (max. 70+ cm). Body dark-brown alternating w/ paler patches, often creates a dorsally banded appearence, w/ contrast increasing toward tail. Dark brown postocular stripe, thin white, yellow or rusty vertebral stripe; w/ 17-20 darker blotches along sides, 23-29 midbody dorsal scale rows. Belly paler w/ variable darker blotching. Tail tip white.

Habitat

Found mainly in rainforest or very humid tropical forest, usually near water, in leaf litter on elevated ground. Occurs from near sea level to 1,000 m elevation; only on the Osa Peninsula & adjacent mainland of southern Costa Rica.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & mainly active at dusk or early night; general activity greatest during local rainy season. When disturbed, adults tend to move about vigorously, but appear reluctant to strike. Ovoviviparous w/ an observed litter of 6 young. Eat mainly small mammals, lizards, & occasionally frogs.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably mainly hemotoxic w/ tissue-necrotic factors. Reportedly has a relatively low venom yield, & envenomation should usually cause only relatively mild to moderately severe local effects (pain & swelling). Has reportedly not caused serious human envenomations nor fatalities, so far. No specific antivenom currently available.

 


Porthidium volcanicum

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothrops volcanica, Porthidium lansbergii (in part)

Common Names: Ujarran hognosed pitviper, Chinilla, toboba

Description

Small, moderately stout, terrestrial pitviper w/ upturned snout, adults usually 25-50 cm long (max. 53+ cm). Body usually various shades of gray or brown, often w/ pinkish, reddish, or purplish undertones; dorsum usually w/ a thin cream vertebral line, & 22-24 darker, lateral, roughly diamond-shaped blotches; 25-27 midbody dorsal scale rows; belly lighter w/ dark brownish mottling. Tail dark brown above, pale below.

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Habitat

Found in forested area, including tropical rainforest (w/ a distinct dry season) & lower cloud forest at 400-600 m elevation. Limited to the vicinity of the type locality (in the Valle del General, Puntarenas Province) in southern Costa Rica.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial, but has been reported to climb >1 m into bushes. Has been reported coiled on forest floor or beside paths. Mainly nocturnal; usually slow-moving & nonaggressive in daytime, but may make a wide-open mouth display when disturbed, & can strike effectively up to one-half its body length. Ovoviviparous w/ litter size not reported (but likely <15 young). Probably eats mainly lizards, frogs, & rodents (& possibly other snakes).

Venom Characteristics

Primarily hemotoxic & relatively mild; many snakebite victims reportedly have experienced only localized pain & swelling, w/ no permanent damage. No human fatalities reported to have been due to bites by this species, so far.

 


Porthidium yucatanicum

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothriechis lansbergii (in part), Bothrops labsbergii (in part), B. yucatanicus, B. yucatannicus, Trimeresurus lansbergii lansbergii, T. yucatanicus, T. yucatannicus

Common Names: Yucatan hog-nosed pit viper, chac-can, vibora

Description

Small, moderately stout pitviper w/ upturned snout, adults usually 35-45 cm long (max. >55 cm). Body may be reddish-brown, tan, gray, or grayish-brown, w/ a pale yellow to orange vertebral stripe, w/ 13-21 roughly square darker brownish blotches along each side (sometimes looks banded), 23-27 (usually 25) midbody dorsal scale rows. Belly white or yellowish-tan w/ brown flecks.

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Habitat

Mainly found in tropical deciduous forest & thorn forest in an area characterized by porous limestone overlain by scrubby xerophytic vegetation. Occurs from near sea level to 250 m elevation. Limited to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial. Locally abundant; mainly nocturnal, especially active after a rain. Not very aggressive, but will defend itself if cornered or molested. Ovoviviparous w/ 4-10 young/ litter reported. Mainly preys on lizards, frogs, & small mammals (esp. rodents).

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly hemotoxic w/ tissue-necrotic factors. Probably has relatively low venom yield, & envenomation should usually have only mild to moderately severe effects (pain & swelling). No human fatalities reported from bites by this species, so far. No specific antivenom currently available.

 


Proatheris superciliaris

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Atheris superciliaris, Bitis superciliaris, Vipera superciliaris

Common Names: Lowland swamp viper, lowland viper, swamp viper

Description

Small, fairly robust snake w/ elongate head & short tail. Adults usually 45-55 cm long (max. 60 cm). Dorsal scales strongly keeled. Body usually gray-brown to reddish-brown; w/ vertebral row of black crossbars, broken laterally by interrupted yellowish stripe. Belly off-white to pale yellow-orange w/ distinct black blotches in irregular rows. Underside of tail straw-yellow to bright orange.

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Habitat

Usually found in grassland bordering swamps or floodplains, & low-lying marshes. Mainly limited to the lower drainage of the Zambezi River in southeastern Africa.

Activity and Behavior

Very little known of habits & behavior. Mainly terrestrial & nocturnal (crepuscular) active in evening & early hours of night. Inhabits abandoned rodent burrows, often basking at burrow entrances. Sometimes locally numerous. Eats mainly various available frogs & occasionally small mammals. Ovoviviparous, 3-16 young per litter.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, probably mainly hemotoxic, procoagulant (can cause renal failure); possibly also has tissue-necrotic factors. Few recorded bites of humans, all (so far reported) by juveniles being handled by herpetologists, have caused immediate pain, mild swelling & blistering at bite site. Potentially very dangeerous. No known antivenom currently produced.

 


Protobothrops elegans

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Craspedocephalus elegans, Lachesis lutea, L. luteus, L. mucrosquamatus, Trimeresurus elegans, T. luteus

Common Names: Sakishima, Sakishima habu, elegant pitviper

Description

Medium-sized, fairly stout-bodied, pitviper, adults usually 50-90 cm long (max. 100+ cm). Usually resembles the Okinawan Habu, P. flavoviridis, in general color & pattern but is much smaller. Okinawan form often has a more grayish dorsal background color, w/ a distinct orange-ish tinge to its alternating dorsal blotches. See Protobothrops flavoviridis.

Habitat

Found mainly in moist or wet forest edges, by openings or paths, often near cultivated crops & human habitations. Limited to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan (Irimoke, Ishigaki & Miyako).

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal, mainly terrestrial, but will climb >1 m up into bushes, bamboo or sugar cane stalks. Mainly feeds on small mammals, & possibly on lizards or frogs. Oviparous (clutch size not reported).

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly hemotoxic w/ hemorrhagin & procoagulants. Human envenomations have been reported, but rare reports of human fatalities caused by this species have not been well-document.

 


Protobothrops flavoviridis

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Bothrops flavoviridis, Lachesis flavoviridis, Protobothrops flavoviridis flavoviridis, P. f. tinkhami, Trimeresurus flavoviridis, T. f. flaviviridis, T. okinavensis (in part), T. riukiuensus

Common Names: Okinawan habu

Description

Longest Asian pitviper, adults usually 1.1-1.7 m long (max. 3.0 m). Body usually pale greenish-brown, or yellowish-olive (sometimes pale brown), w/ alternating, darker brownish or greenish dorsal blotches, each bordered w/ yellowish scales. Head large, triangular, distinct from neck, narrow dark postocular stripe.

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Habitat

Found in a wide variety of habitats from rainforest to open areas, most numerous in sugar-cane fields, limited to the higher volcanic Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan (esp. Amami & Okinawa groups). Commonly lives near human habitations, often coming inside to hunt rodents at night.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal (most active 10:00 P.M.-2:00 A.M.), semi-arboreal. Thrives on rodents associated w/ human agricultural settings (esp. cane fields) & may eat amphibians, too. Oviparous, 5-17 eggs/ clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly hemotoxic w/ haemorrhagin & potent cytotoxic factors. Until recent greater availability of effective antivenom, this species was the cause of most human envenomations & deaths within its range. Still causes many serious human envenomations & at least a few deaths every year. People most often bitten tending crops by day or walking along roads/paths at night.

Protobothrops jerdonii

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Lachesis melli, L. jerdonii, Trimeresurus jerdonii, T. j. xanthomelas, T. xanthomelas

Common Names: Jerdon's pitviper, Bourret's pitviper, Red-spotted pitviper

Description

Rather large pitviper, adults usually 1.0-1.2 m long (max. about 1.4 m). Body lime to olive-green, w/ every scale edged w/ black, usually 21 midbody dorsal scale rows. A series of black-edged brown saddles along the back, black stripes on broad green head. Belly usually blackish w/ scattered yellowish-to-orange spots & speckling (spots bigger & more numerous laterally).

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Habitat

Mainly found in montane forests & scrubland, in southern & southeastern Asia, up to 2,800 m elevation.

Activity and Behavior

Not very well known. Semi-arboreal & crepuscular (or nocturnal), mainly feeds on small mammals & birds. Oviparous (clutch size not reported).

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably mainly hemotoxic, w/ procoagulins & possibly cytotoxic factors. No serious human envenomations or deaths reported, so far.

 


Protobothrops mucrosquamatus

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Lachesis mucrosquamatus, Trigonocephalus mucrosquamatus, Trimeresurus mucrosquamatus

Common Names: Brown-spotted pitviper, Chinese habu, Taiwanese pit viper

Description

Rather long, thin pitviper, adults usually 0.8-1.0 m long (max. 1.3 m). Body light-brown or grayish-brown; vertebral row of large purplish-brown or chocolate-colored spots sometimes edged w/ a yellow line. Lateral row of small dark blotches on each side. Head brown above, white below, belly white but heavily powdered w/ brown, 25 midbody dorsal scale rows.

Habitat

Mainly found in open agricultural country & forests up to 1,400 m elevation. Also found in bamboo forests, shrubs, stream banks, tea fields, & around human dwellings. Limited mainly to southern & southeastern Asia.

Activity and Behavior

Terrestrial, mainly nocturnal but sometimes active (& basking) in daytime. Usually slow-moving, but can strike quickly if disturbed. Ovoviviparous, clutch size not reported. Mainly feeds on small mammals, lizards, & sometimes birds.

Venom Characteristics

Potent hemotoxin. Usually causes severe local pain & swelling, may involve entire bitten limb w/ tender enlargement of regional lymph nodes. Systemic symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, fever, & shock. Humans have been bitten, envenomated & a number die each year from bites by this species throughout its range.

Protobothrops spp. (general)

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Varies w/ individual species, but many were formerly in one or more of the genera: Bothrops, Lachesis, or Trimeresurus. At least 6 named species are currently considered valid in this genus, but only 3 or 4 of these species (addressed in separately here) are numerous enough, widespread enough, & have typical behaviors that combine to pose serious human envenomation risks.

Common Names: Most are called pitvipers, some are called "habu's" (see individual species).

Description

Large moderately slender pitvipers. Adults of most species average 1 m or longer, have large, triangular heads obviously distinct from their neck, bright body colors & striking patterns. For typical example description, See Protobothrops flavoviridis.

Habitat

Most species are found in very moist to seasonally dry forest edges, cultivated crops & often live near human habitations. Found throughout eastern & southeastern Asia, some are limited to one or a few sites (see individual species), & usually at higher elevations.

Activity and Behavior

Most are semi-arboreal & nocturnal, some tend to be mainly crepuscular, many bask in sunlight by edges of forests, fields, or paths. Most eat mainly available small mammals, birds, or lizards. Most spp. are oviparous w/ clutch sizes usually 5-20 eggs, partly dependent on size of the gravid females.

Venom Characteristics

Most species have hemotoxic venom, some also w/ procoagulant &/or cytotoxic factors. Some, especially the Okinawan Habu (P. flavoviridis), cause many human envenomations & deaths every year.

 


Pseudechis australis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Cania weigeli, Denisonia brunnea, Naja australis, Pailsus rossignoli, P. weigeli, Pseudechis cupreus, P. darwiniensis, P. denisonioides, P. platycephalus, P. rossignoli, P. weigeli

Common Names: King brown snake, Mulga snake, Mulgaschlange

Description

Large, heavy-bodied snake, adults usually 1.5-1.8 m long (max. 2.7 m). Body uniformly brown, red-brown or dull yellowish; belly yellowish-cream. Broad head, slightly distinct from neck. Scales smooth.

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Habitat

Found mainly in savanna & savanna woodlands, but also in tropical forests & deserts. Not found in swamps. Most wide-spread venomous snake in Australia.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial, & diurnal or crepuscular; becomes nocturnal in hot weather. Not active in heat of day. Usually slow moving. Unpredictable. Becomes aggressive when disturbed; often flattens its neck in a long narrow hood, arches front of its body, rushes toward intruder, & may strike repeatedly. When it bites, it often holds on & chews hard. Preys mainly on lizards, small mammals & frogs. Oviparous, w/ usually 4-19 eggs/clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Primarily hemotoxic & cytotoxic; & weakly neurotoxic & may have myotoxic factors. Can inject large quantity of venom. Pain & swelling at site of bite are common, but only rarely is their bite lethal to humans (but human deaths have been reported).

Pseudechis colletti

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names:

Common Names: Collett's snake, Collet-Schwarzotter

Description

Large, moderately heavy-bodied terrestrial Elapid. Very similar physically to the king brownsnake, but slightly smaller (max. <2.4 m long), & body colors are mainly shiny black dorsally, w/ reddish (sometimes bright) belly & chin.

Habitat

Found mainly in margins of grassland along forests & riverbeds. Limited to Australia (Queensland).

Activity and Behavior

Not very well known, but mainly terrestrial & mainly diurnal or crepuscular. May be active at night during hot periods. See Pseudechis australis. Probably oviparous w/ usually <20 eggs/ clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably contains factors which are mainly neurotoxic, plus some that are procoagulant, cytotoxic, & myotoxic. Probably also fairly mild in their effects, like the venom of P. austalis.

Pseudechis guttatus

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Pseudechis mortonensis, P. colletti guttatus

Common Names: Spotted blacksnake, blue-bellied blacksnake, Gefleckte Schwarzotter

Description

Similar in most general physical characteristics to the King Brownsnake, except it is slighly smaller (adults sledom >1.5 m long) & has different colors & patterning. A rather large, primarily black (dorsally), smooth-scaled Elapid snake, w/ a lighter bluish-gray underside & a dorsal pattern of lighter spots.

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Habitat

Found mainly in savanna, forest edges, & along dry riverbeds. Very similar to closely-related species. Limited to Australia (New South Wales, Queensland). See Pseudechis australis

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & diurnal, sometimes active at night in hot part of the year. Very similar to other closely-related species. Usually slow moving, but can be aggressive if disturbed & may strike quickly & bite repeatedly. Preys mainly on available frogs, toads & lizards. Oviparous (clutch size not reported). See Pseudechis australis.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly neurotoxic, w/ factors that are cytotoxic, hemotoxic, &/or myotoxic. No human deaths reported from bites by this species, so far, but potentially dangerous.

Pseudechis papuanus

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names:

Common Names: Papuan black snake, auguma, "pap blak" (this snake has reportedly been used historically by native shamen for murder or assassination).

Description

Large, smooth-scaled, adults usually 1.8-2.0 m long (max. 2.4 m). Body black or brown above & below; neck yellow to off-white w/ black specks. No distinctive color pattern. Head broad, flat, distinct from neck.

Habitat

Found mainly in lowland savanna & savanna woodland, but prefers damper, swampy ground or at least is usually found near water. Most common in late dry season. Limited to southern Papua New Guinea & certain nearby islands.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly diurnal & crepuscular, but avoids being active during the hottest part of the day. Nervous; tends to flee when approached. When cornered, attacks w/ power & tenacity. Feeds mainly on frogs, small mammals, lizards & birds. Oviparous (clutch size not reported). Recent population decline may partly be due to this species' dying after eating the introduced (& poisonous) Cane Toad, Bufo marinus.

Venom Characteristics

Not well known. Very strongly hemolytic & neurotoxic; possibly hemorrhagic. Serious human envenomations & a number of human deaths have been reported each year as having been caused by this species, within its range.

Pseudechis porphyriacus

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Acanthophis tortor, Coluber porphyriacus, Naja porphyrica, Pseudechis porphyriacus eipperi, P. p. porphyriacus, P. p. rentoni, Trimeresurus porphyreus

Common Names: Red-bellied blacksnake, Rotbauchige Schwarzotter

Description

Medium to large terrestrial Elapid (adults usually 1.0-1.4 m long), very similar in general physical characters to other closely-related species, except that this species has a dictinctly red belly. For description of closely related & similar species, See Pseudechis australis.

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Habitat

Found mainly in margins of moist savannas & forests. Limited to Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, & Victoria).

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial, & nocturnal or crepuscular (nocturnal during hot periods). Feeds mainly on small mammals, birds, & lizards. Oviparous; female often holds eggs until just before they are due to hatch, then deposits them, & they hatch within a few days. Typical number of eggs/ clutch not reported, but probably <20 eggs (or neonates)/ clutch (or litter), respectively.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly neurotoxic, w/ hemotoxic & possible cytotoxic factors. Large fangs & poison glands, along w/ aggressive defensive reaction when cornered make this a potentially very dangerous snake. Some envenomations, but no human fatalities reported, so far.

Pseudocerastes fieldi

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Daboia persicus fieldi, Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi, Vipera persicus fieldi

Common Names: Field's horned viper, false horned viper, eye-horned viper, shepipon, trans-Jordanian viper

Description

Medium-sized, wide-bodied, horned viper, adults usually 50-70 cm long (max. 90 cm). Body pale gray to bluish-gray to pale tan; w/ dorsal gray or brownish-gray blotches (sometimes crossbands). Often has alternating faintly darker spots on throat & sides. Belly white, tail slender & black.

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Habitat

Found mainly in arid sandy places w/ limited scrubby or brushy vegetation, & near, or in, rodent burrows or rock crevices. Found from near sea level to 2,000 m elevation in the Middle East.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & nocturnal, very active at night. Sluggish during the day, & if disturbed then, tends to try to escape, but will coil, hiss, rub scales together (a dry, "rustling" sound) & strike if further molested.

Venom Characteristics

Venom seems to be mainly neurotoxic, possibly w/ limited hemotoxic factors. More dangerous than the more widely distributed related species, P. persicus. Has been reported to have caused human fatalities.

Pseudocerastes persicus

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Identification

Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Cerastes persicus, Daboia persica persica, Pseudocerastes bicornis, P. fieldi (in part), P. persicus fieldi, P. p. persicus, Vipera persica persica

Common Names: Persian horned viper, Persian desert horned viper, eye-horned viper, horned desert viper, horned snake, shepipon, Field's horned viper, Persiche Trughornviper, False-horned viper

Description

Medium-sized, wide-bodied viper, w/ blunt snout & small scale-covered horn above each eye; adults usually 50-70 cm long (max. 90 cm). Body usually pale gray or bluish-gray to khaki; w/ dorsal gray or brownish-gray blotches or crossbands. Alternating faint spots on throat & sides. Belly white; tail slender & black.

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Habitat

Found mainly in desert bushes, & in sandy, rocky terrain or flat sandy areas w/ limited vegetation, & in burrows & crevices, up to 2,000 m elevation. Widespread in the Middle East & Southwestern Asia.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal. Usually sluggish, placid, less likely to bite during day; but dangerously active & aggressive at night. Hisses loudly (often makes typical "rustling" noise by rubbing side scales together) if disturbed, but will usually try to escape first. Often travels over sand by sidewinding. Frequently hides in rodent tunnels & underneath bushes. Feeds mainly on small mammals, & occasionally lizards.

Venom Characteristics

Venom varies for different named subspecies, mainly hemotoxic, possibly w/ neurotoxic factors. Most bites to humans produce limited envenomation, w/ mainly local symptoms of minor pain, mild local tingling & stiffness. Serious envenomation can cause internal hemorrhaging, extensive progressive swelling, weakness & ptosis. Victim may be conscious but can't respond due to paralysis. Reports of human envenomation fairly common, but fatalities not very common.

Pseudohaje goldii

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Naia goldii, N. guentheri

Common Names: Gold’s tree cobra, Gold's forest cobra, Gold's false cobra, tree cobra, African tree cobra

Description

Big, shiny, thin-bodied tree cobra, adults usually 1.5-2.2 m long (max. 2.7 m). Body uniformly glossy black, cylindrical, tail long & thin ending in a spike; ventral surface yellow, w/ no crossbars; 15 (rarely 17) midbody dorsal scale rows. Head fairly short & conspicuously barred on lateral surfaces; eyes very large & prominent, w/ round pupils.

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Habitat

Found mainly in forest or thick woodland, usually near rivers, may extend into riverine forests. Mainly in forested equatorial African countries.

Activity and Behavior

Arboreal & mainly nocturnal; spends most of time in trees, moving gracefully & rapidly. Usually forages (hunts) in trees or brush along banks of rivers/ streams. Rarely encountered. Preys mainly on arboreal mammals & descends to ground to prey on terrestrial amphibians. Oviparous, w/ usually 10-20 eggs/ clutch. Flattens its neck into slight hood if threatened & may use tail spike to defend itself if restrained.

Venom Characteristics

Venom has extremely potent neurotoxins; an untreated bite (w/ envenomation) by a large specimen could be human lethal. No specific antivenom currently produced, but effectiveness of paraspecific antivenoms has been claimed. Bites &/or envenomations of humans not well documented.

 


Pseudohaje nigra

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Naia guentheri, Pseudohaje guentheri

Common Names: Black tree cobra, hoodless cobra

Description

Big, shiny, thin-bodied tree cobra, adults usually 1.6-2.1 m long (max. 2.2+ m). Body uniformly glossy black or dark brownish-black; ventral surface yellow w/ no cross-banding; tail long & thin, ending in a spike. Eyes large, prominent, w/ round pupils; 13 (rarely 15) midbody dorsal scale rows. Scales on head, chin & throat are yellow, edged w/ black.

Habitat

Found mainly in forest or thick woodlands, usually near rivers, streams, or in moist riverine forests. Mainly found in countries along the southern coast of West Africa.

Activity and Behavior

Not well known. Rarely encountered. Semi-arboreal. May be both diurnal & nocturnal. Very agile & fast in trees, also very fast on ground. Will pause w/ head up & alert. Can slightly flatten its neck & threaten if disturbed or cornered. May use tail spike to help defend itself if restrained. Probably preys mainly on small mammals & amphibians. Oviparous, but captives' clutch sizes not reported.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but venom is probably very potently neurotoxic, like that of the closely-related species, Gold's tree cobra. Should be considered dangerous, even though no envenomations or fatalities of humans have yet been documented.

 


Pseudonaja affinis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Demansia nuchalis affinis, D. n. tanneri, Demansia textilis affinis, Dugitophis affinis affinis, D. a. tanneri, Pseudonaja affinis affinis, P. a. exilis, P.a. tanneri

Common Names: Dugite, brownsnake

Description

Medium-sized to large snake, adults usually about 1 m long (often longer), moderately slender, medium-brown to dark-brown w/ few or no dorsal markings, belly usually lighter colored. Dorsal scales smooth, usually in 15-21 midbody rows. Head relatively long & narrowed, w/ rather large eyes & round pupils. Tail fairly long & tapered.

Habitat

Mainly found near watercourses. Limited to Australia (southern Western Australia & adjacent South Australia).

Activity and Behavior

Not much known. Mainly diurnal, & mainly terrestrial. Probably very similar to closely related species. See Pseudonaja textilis.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably mainly neurotoxic. There may not be much local pain or swelling at bite site. For more information about a closely related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

Pseudonaja guttata

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Demansia guttata, Placidaserpens guttata

Common Names: Speckled brown snake, spotted brown snake

Description

Medium-sized terrestrial Elapid, adults reportedly about 1.0 m long. Probably similar in appearance to related species (but little such information available), w/ slender body, narrowed head, large eyes w/ round pupils, & rather long, tapered tail. Body brownish-gray, darker above (dorsum) & lighter below (belly). Its name implies it has distinctive spots. For details about closely related species see"P. textilis."

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Habitat

Not much known. Probably found mainly in relatively open vegetated areas near streams or bodies of water, like most closely related species. Limited to Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland & South Australia).

Activity and Behavior

Not much known. Probably mainly diurnal & terrestrial, feeding mainly on available lizards & amphibians, maybe also small mammals; & oviparous (clutch size not known). See Pseudonaja textilis.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly neurotoxic, but possibly also w/ cardiotoxic &/or myotoxic factors. Human envenomations or fatalities not documented for this species' bites. For details about a related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

 


Pseudonaja inframacula

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Demansia textilis inframaculata, Eupeipiosoma inframacula, Pseudonaja affinis inframacula, P. textilis (in part), P. t. inframacula

Common Names: Peninsula brown snake

Description

Small to medium-sized, terrestrial Elapid, adults usually <0.9 m long. Similar in general appearance to closely related species (but little information available), w/ a slender, brownish-gray body, smooth dorsal scales in 15-21 rows at midbody, narrowed head, w/ big eyes & round pupils, & rather long tapered tail. Its name (inframacula) implies it usually has blotches or irregular contrasting markings "within" the visible pattern on its body (probably on its belly).

Habitat

Limited to 2 peninsulas in West Australia & South Austalia; specifically, the north end of Coffin's Bay Peninsula & the western coast of Eyre Peninsula.

Activity and Behavior

Not much known, but probably mainly diurnal, terrestrial, oviparous (unknown clutch size), & probably preys mainly on available lizards, small mammals, & birds. For information about a closely-related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably mainly neurotoxic. For information about a closely-related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

 


Pseudonaja ingrami

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Diemenia ingrami, Demansia ingrami, Euprepiosoma ingrami

Common Names: Ingram's brown snake

Description

Medium-sized terrestrial Elapid snake, adults usually <0.9 m long, w/ head relatively long & narrowed, large eyes w/ round pupils, body slender w/ 15-21 midbody dorsal scale rows, color variable, but usually uniformly brown to gray-brown dorsally, belly lighter. Tail fairly long & tapered.

Habitat

Not much known. Found mainly in rather open vegetated areas, usually near watercourses. Limited to Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland & West Australia).

Activity and Behavior

Not much known, but probably mainly diurnal, terrestrial, oviparous (clutch size not reported), & probably preys mainly on available lizards, small mammals & birds. For details about a closely related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Mainly neurotoxic, but possibly also w/ cardiotoxic &/or myotoxic factors. Serious human envenomations or fatalities not well documented from bites by this species. For information about a related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

 


Pseudonaja modesta

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Brachysoma sutherlandi, Cacophis modesta, Demansia modesta, Furina ramsayi, Notopseudonaja modesta, N. ramsayi, N. sutherlandi

Common Names: Ringed brown snake

Description

Medium-sized to large Elapid, adults usually about 1.0 m long. Probably similar in overall appearance to closely related species (but little information available), w/ slender body, smooth dorsal scales in 15-21 midbody rows, fairly long, rather narrowed head, w/ relatively large eyes & round pupils, & tail fairly long & tapered. The common name of this species indicates it has a "ringed" body pattern.

Habitat

Not much known. Found mainly in moderately open vegetated sites, usually near watercourses. Limited to Australia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, & Western Australia).

Activity and Behavior

Not much known, rarely seen, but probably mainly diurnal, mainly terrestrial, oviparous (clutch size not reported), & probably mainly preys on lizards, small mammals, & birds. For details about a closely related species, See Pseudonaja textilis

Venom Characteristics

Not much known, but probably mainly neurotoxic w/ possible cardiotoxic &/or myotoxic factors, as well. This species is widespread & potentially dangerous within its range in Austalia, but serious human envenomations or fatalities due to its bites have not been well documented. For details about a closely related species, See Pseudonaja textilis.

 


Pseudonaja nuchalis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Diemenia aspidorhyncha, D. carinata, Demansia acutirostris, Pseudelaps bancrofti, Pseudonaja acutirostris, P. aspidorhyncha, P. carinata, P. imperitor, P. gowi, P. jukesi, P. kellyi, P. mengdeni, P. ohnoi, P. vanderstraateni

Common Names: Gwardar, western brownsnake, brownsnake

Description

Large, fairly slender, smooth-scaled Elapid, adults usually 1.4-1.6 m long (max. 1.8 m). Body usually yellow-brown to dark-brown, belly yellowish to light-gray, speckled w/ darker gray or brown spots. Pattern varies in different goegraphic populations. Usually the front half of each dorsal body scale is yellowish & back half much darker brown; creating a two-tone reticulated pattern. Head long, narrow, barely distinct from neck, w/ large eyes & round pupils.

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Habitat

Found mainly in arid & semi-arid savanna & woodlands, but usually near a watercourse. Found in most territories of Australia, except NOT along eastern & southern coasts.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & diurnal. Very fast moving, Usually avoids humans, but if cornered or molested, it will open its mouth, hiss, raise the front of its body into a S-shaped loop, flatten its neck, & "rush" at an intruder. Equally nervous, but slightly less aggressive than the Eastern Brownsnake. May strike several times in quick succession. Preys mainly on lizards & small mammals. Oviparous, 9-38 eggs/ clutch.

Venom Characteristics

Venom contains mainly potent neurotoxins, plus some hemotoxic, cytotoxic & myotoxic factors. Can cause very rapid human death (in less than an hour) by cardiac arrest, renal failure, or cerebral hemorrhage. Sudden severe headache after a snake bite is one early sign of serious envenomation. Causes several human fatalities each year. Very dangerous species. Probably the second most dangerous (human lethal) of 7 species in this genus.

Pseudonaja textilis

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Identification

Family: Elapidae

Scientific Names: Diemenia superciliaris, Diemennia supercilosa, Demansia annulata, D. textilis, Furina bicucullatta, F. cucullatta, F. textilis, Euprepiosoma textilis, Pseudechis cupreus, Pseudoelaps beckeri, P. kubingii, P. kubinyi, P. sordellii, P. superciliosus, P. supercilliosus var. beckeri, Pseudonaia textilis, Pseudonaja textilis pughi, P. t. textilis

Common Names: Eastern brownsnake, Gewohnliche Braunschlange, Australian Brownsnake, brownsnake

Description

Large, rather slender, smooth-scaled, adults usually 1.6-1.8 m long (max. 2.4 m). Body usually yellow-brown, dark-brown, or black; belly off-white to creamy-yellow, speckled w/ pink, brown, or gray; tail rather long & tapered. Head fairly narrow, barely distinct from neck, w/large eyes & round pupils. Pattern varies a lot, often due to scales which are 2-colored or edged w/ a color contrasting w/ its main surface area (sometimes "net" or reticulated patterns result).

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Habitat

Found mainly in open, wet country, especially near watercourses; sometimes in upland grasslands & sandy or rocky areas, but also in swampland & cultivated areas. Widespread in Austalia, also found in central & northern New Guinea.

Activity and Behavior

Mainly terrestrial & diurnal. Very fast moving. Usually flees from humans, but defends itself vigorously if cornered or molested. Will often open its mouth, hiss, flatten its neck into slight hood, curve its body into an S-shaped loop, & raise front part from the ground & attack. May strike several times in quick succession. Oviparous, w/ 8-35 eggs/ clutch. Preys mainly on lizards, small mammals & birds.

Venom Characteristics

Potently neurotoxic (both pre- & post-synaptic) & procoagulant w/ mildly cytotoxic & myotoxic factors. Causes very rapid fatalities from cardiac arrest, renal failure, or cerebral hemorrhage. Severe headache often develops within 15 min. Because there is no local pain or swelling, & fang marks are not very obvious, bites are often ignored at first. Causes many human fatalities yearly. This is the most lethal of at least 7 species in this genus.

Pterois volitans

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Identification

Family: Scorpaenidae

Scientific Names: Pterois miles, P. muricata [ NOTE: This is the most wide-spread & typical of 10 currently recognized species in this genus; other spp. are native to the same, or to other (different), regions of the Atlantic, Pacific &/or Indian Oceans & adjoining marine waters.]

Common Names: Lionfish, butterfly-cod, firefish, turkeyfish, zebrafish, red lionfish, red firefish, ornate butterfly-cod, tigerfish, featherfish, sausaulele, e si ed, smu e, o ses, lepu pangantien, ikan, sowanggi, lalung, lalong, liaung, purrooah, cheeb-ta-ta-dah, kurrum, mino-kasago, stingfish, yamanokami, flying dragon, toombi, fini maja, rathu gini maha, saval min, navire, fireworks-fish, devilfish

Description

Adults can be >17 in. long & weigh >2.5 lbs., w/ distinctive red, maroon, & white stripes; fleshy tentacles above eyes & below mouth; fan-like pectoral fins, & long separated dorsal spines. well developed venom glands associated w/ dorsal, pectoral & anal (fin) spines.

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Habitat

Found only in marine waters, mainly around coral reefs at 100+ feet depth. Originally widespread along suitable reefs throughout most of the Pacific & Indian Oceans, including the Red Sea, they have become established (since early 1990's) in the northeastern Caribbean & along Atlantic coasts of U.S. Very popular in international aquarium pet trade.

Activity and Behavior

Usually slow-swimming predatory fish, feeding on varous available marine organisms (mainly other, smaller fish), often rest in crevices or swim slowly along near surface of coral reef. If approached, will often turn to point dorsal spines toward intruder. Not usually aggressive, but if molested, will actively try to "stick" intruder w/ dorsal, pectoral or anal spines.

Venom Characteristics

Mainly neurotoxic & cytotoxic w/ strong cardiotoxic & possibly myotoxic factors, too. Envenomation (sting) usually causes intense local pain at wound site, often radiating from there; hypotension, vasodilation, cardiac rhythm changes, respiratory difficulty, & sometimes primary shock, cardiac or respiratory arrest, & death.