Mamushi is a venomous pitviper species found in Japan and Russia. It is the most venomous snakes in Japan. Every year, around 2000-3000 people in Japan are bitten by a mamushi. The body pattern of these snakes consists of a pale gray, reddish-brown, or yellow-brown background, overlaid with a series of irregularly-shaped lateral blotches. These blotches are bordered with black and often have lighter centers. Their head is dark brown or black, with beige or pale-gray sides.
Mamushi are found in Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu islands in Japan, and Kunasir Island (the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands archipelago) in Russia. These snakes live in a range of habitats, including swamps, marshes, meadows, open woodland, grassland, rocky hillsides, and montane rock outcroppings. They are also often found in and around farmland due to the abundance of rodents.
These snakes lead a solitary life. They are active during the day spending most of their time hiding and waiting for their prey to pass by. Mamushi are typically ambush predators that use their excellent camouflage to hide in vegetation or leaf litter.
Mamushi are viviparous snakes which means that they give birth to live young. Females usually reproduce in August-October and litter consists of 2 to 13 neonates. Young mamushi are born fully developed and become reproductively mature when they are 3-4 years old.
There are no major threats to mamushi at present. However, these snakes are collected for commercial use and are killed because of fear.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the mamushi total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.