Stejneger's Pit Viper

Stejneger's Pit Viper

Stejneger's palm viper, Stejneger's bamboo pitviper, Chinese tree viper, Chinese green tree viper, Chinese bamboo viper, Green bamboo viper, Bamboo snake, Red tail snake

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Trimeresurus stejnegeri
Population size
Unknown
LENGTH
75 cm

The Stejneger's pit viper is a venomous snake native to Asia. It is bright to dark green above and pale green to whitish below. There is a bright ventrolateral stripe, which occupies the whole of the outermost scale row and a portion of the second row. This stripe is bicolored orange or brown (below) and white (above) in males or bicolored or white only in females.

Distribution

Stejneger's pit vipers are found in Northeast India and Nepal through Myanmar and Laos to much of southern China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. They prefer to live in tropical moist montane forests and can also be found near flooded agricultural land.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Stejneger's pit vipers are solitary nocturnal creatures; they prefer to avoid high daytime temperatures and to hunt when their favored prey are also active. Their heat-sensitive pits are also thought to aid in locating cooler areas in which to rest. As ambush predators, Stejneger's pit vipers typically wait patiently somewhere for unsuspecting prey to wander by. These snakes are not aggressive and strike only if cornered or threatened.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Stejneger's pit vipers are carnivores. They eat small rodents, birds, frogs, and lizards.

Mating Habits

Stejneger's pit vipers are viviparous and give birth to live young.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats facing Stejneger's pit vipers at present. However, in some areas of their range, they suffer from habitat degradation.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Stejneger's pit viper is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • These snakes were named in honor of Leonhard Stejneger, the Norwegian-born, American herpetologist who worked at the Smithsonian Institution for over 60 years.
  • Pit vipers are found in Eurasia and the Americas. They are distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on both sides of the head. These pits in effect give the snakes a sixth sense to help them find and perhaps even judge the size of the small, warm-blooded prey on which they feed.
  • Experiments have shown, when deprived of their senses of sight and smell, pit vipers can strike accurately at moving objects less than 0.2 °C (0.36 °F) warmer than the background.
  • Many young pit vipers have brightly colored tails which they use in a behavior known as caudal luring. The young snakes make worm-like movements with their tails to lure unsuspecting prey within striking distance.

References

1. Stejneger's Pit Viper on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trimeresurus_stejnegeri
2. Stejneger's Pit Viper on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/192136/2045355

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