Horseshoe Pit Viper ( Trimeresurus strigatus Gray, 1842 )

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Scientific Name: 
Trimeresurus strigatus (Gray, 1842)
Regional Names: 
ಕುದುರೆಲಾಳ ಮಂಡಲ ಹಾವು, ಕುದುರೇಲಾಳ ಹಪ್ಪಾಟೆ ಹಾವು
Endemic to Upper Nilgiris and nearby tall peaks. One of the smallest range of any mainland Indian venomous snake. Might occur in Vellarimala, Waynad, Elivalmala and Siruvani peaks. Obsolete records from elsewhere in the Western Ghats are spurious and must not be included in its geographic range.
Venom Type: 


Supralabial 8-10; first completely separated from nasal; second supralabial separated from scale forming anterior border of pit; single row of scales between supralabial and elongated subocular; narrow supraocular indented on inner margins by neighbour scales; 8-10 scales between eyes.
Weakly keeled scales on upper side; in 19/21: 21/23: 15/17 rows.
135-144 (Male), 131-142 (Female); anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
35-42 (Male), 32-35 (Female); paired. Hemipenis extends to 10th caudal.
Peculiar to montane shola garssland habitats, at very high leevations (> 1700 m asl). Not found in tall evergreen vegetation lower down slopes. Individuals have been sighted near open barren scapes, at the base of trees, near rock boulders and near open streamsides.
Natural History: 
Very poorly known. Strictly terrestrial. No sightings having been obtained from trees or plants above ground level. Probably diurnal, owing to very cold weather in its landscape. Thought to be egg-laying.
Presumed to feed on small lizards, frogs and rodents.
Bite symptoms: 

 Little-known. Considered to be haemotoxic. In an old litearture, anecdotal notes state that a person who was bitten on his hand by this species, suffered necrosis and the tissues just sloughed off and came off with his mouth when he attempted to suck out the venom by his mouth. 

Its very tiny geographic range that too atop tall mountains susceptible to global warming and up-slope biotic shifts is a major threat. Habitat destruction is also rampant in parts of its already small range.
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