Bamboo Pit Viper ( Trimeresurus gramineus Shaw, 1802 )

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Scientific Name: 
Trimeresurus gramineus (Shaw, 1802)
Regional Names: 
Indian Green Pit Viper, Common Green Pit Viper
ಬಿದಿರು ಮಂಡಲ ಹಾವು
વાંસ નો ખડચીતડ
Found in most of the peninsular India's hills. Not found in Indian Islands, Thar desert, North-east states and regions above Gangetic plains. Recorded from following states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified easily by checking triangular head which is much broader than neck, green dorsal marked with rich or faint black markings and yellow belly.


New born- 16cm.
Average length- 70cm.
Maximum length- 113cm.

Dorsal -
Body somewhat slender, covered with lightly keeled scales. Upper body color ranges from yellowish-green to bluish-green and marked with rich or faint black irregular markings. Juveniles have more prominent markings as compared to adults.

Ventral -
Belly color mostly yellow, sometimes greenish-white also without any pattern. Subcaudal scales paired.

Head -
Head triangular, covered with very small scales; clearly broader than neck. Upper lip color similar like belly, i. e. yellow. Top of the head patternless. Eyes have vertical pupil.

Tail -
Shorter tail ends with a pointed tip.

Supralabial 10-12; first completely separated from nasal; 2 rows of scales between supralabial and elongated subocular; supraocular narrow and entire; 8-11 scales between eyes.
Smooth or weakly keeled scale in upper rows in 21:21:15 rows.
145-175 (Male), 164-177 (Female); anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
55-71 (Male), 57-62 (Female); paired. Hemipenis extends to 11th-12th caudal plate.
Distributed mainly in rainforest; dry, mixed and moist deciduous forests. Found mainly in moderate to high elevations but at many parts of its range it has been recorded from sea level also. Lives in dense and open forests having low vegetation. Hides among dense bushes, tree holes and mounds at heights at day time.
Natural History: 
Bamboo Pit Viper is a nocturnal and arboreal species like other species of same genus. Choose moderate heights but can be seen on ground many times. Locomotion slow in all kind of environment. Behaviour shy, usually calm, non-offensive and try to escape first. On provocation or threatening it throws half of fore body into loose loops with head on the top. Gives mock attacks first and can bite on approaching closer. Female directly gives birth to 6-14 young during July to September.
Feeds mainly on frogs and rodents. Also feeds on other snakes and small birds. Foraging done in ambush manner and don't follow chasing its prey.
Bite symptoms: 

Within minutes of bite, there is burning sensation, pain and swelling in the site. This sensation spreads along the limb involved. The limb becomes red and there is often internal bleeding. No deaths reported.

Threats includes killing by locals because of its venomous nature and fascinating green color. Other major threats are destruction of dense vegetation of low heights and road kills. As it is an endemic species it is coming under demand by breeders of various parts of world. Exploitation for venom appears not likely to be high but still for research purpose it can be done at small scale.
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