Levantine Viper ( Macrovipera lebetina Linnaeus, 1758 )

  • Sharebar
Scientific Name: 
Macrovipera lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Names: 
Recorded in a few localities in kashmir including srinagar and Dachigam. Also Pakistan to Cyprus. In India, recorded between 900-2100m.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Body stout, rough in appearance. Scales roughly keeled. triangular head distinctly broader than neck; scales on top of head small, strongly keeled. Head broader and shorter than russell's viper. Eye has vertical pupil. Tail short thin. Dusty yellowish brown grey above. Upper back has short, indistinct, usually rectangular, darker brown/gray cross bars that alternate with a series of similar markings on sides of body. Markings on back may break up and alternate along indistinct vertebral stripe. Occasionally two distinct V shaped markings on top of head; a broad dark streak from behind eye to angle of mouth and dark bar below eye often present. Underside off-white/ pale brown with dark spots. Young more distinctly marked than adults.



Supralabials 10 (in left) & 11 (in right) There is very little scalation data on M.lebetina from India.
Scales keeled in 23 or 25:23 to 27:19 rows, keeled.
Ventral 162-179
Sub Caudal: 
Subcaudals 40-51, paired,
Terrestrial, may ascend low bushes. Inhabits stream beds in dry, rocky, mountainous country.
Natural History: 
Active by Day and Night- sometimes in rather cool weather. Feeds on small mammals, lizards, birds and their eggs. Some subspecies of the levantine viper are oviparous, others are ovoviviparous. It is not known whether the indian population lays eggs or bear live young. If aroused, ill hiss loudly. slow-moving but capable of fast strikes.
Feeds on small mammals, lizards, birds and their eggs.
Bite symptoms: 

Toxic venom but no known fatalities here. Not much is known about the levantine viper in India.

It delivers a large amount of venom that causes hemotoxic effects, which cause pain, swelling and tissue damage at the bite site. 

Levantine vipers are endangered. The species is listed as strictly protected (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.
Look Alike
Authors & Contributors: