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Russels viper (Daboia russelii)

Medium-sized to large; strongly keeled-scales distinctive bright chain pattern;large triangular head. Average length 1 m At Birth 24cm maximum: 1.8m (male)
Russels vipers are heavy, rough-scaled snakes with vertical eye pupils and generally a very bright pattern. The body colour is usually brown or yellowish and the pattern is composed of dark, round spots edged with white and black. The underside is white in the western, partly speckled in the southeastern and heavily speckled in the northeastern races. Colour variation is common, and the best recognition characters are the short, fat body, the triangular-shaped head and very regular chain-like-pattern. Russels Vipers resemble the fat, harmless common sand boas which however have shorter and blunter tails and irregular body patters. The bright symmetrical spots on Russels Vipers backs make them easy to differentiate Russells Vipers are one of the Big four dangerous snakes of India. The other large Indian viper is the Levantine Viper, a heavy brown snake found in parts of Kashmir which grow to 2 mtr.
Found at Hills and plains throught India up to 3000 mtr.
Russels vipers are equally at home in the open areas of the hily country and the plains scrub jungle bordering farm lands. In very hot weather, they are found in termite mounds and rat holes but the more likely abodes are rock crevices, thick leaves.grass, thorn bushes and cacti. Favourite dwelling include pandanus bushes(kewada) and century plants(Agave). Though Russles vipers look sluggish, when provoked they are capable of very fast movements in shot spurts. They hiss loudly and bite in defence. They are timid, and less likely to be commensal with man than the cobras and other streamlined snakes which are adept at quick escapes. Bites happen mostly to plantation , estate and farm workres who incautiously put their hands or feet in dense bushes or step on a viper in the dark. The female produces 6-63 living young mainly during May-July: these are exceedingly bright replicas of the parents. Feeding behavior…. The young are cannibalistic (In captivity) and will also eat and other arthropods. Adults seem to be entirely rodent eaters probably catching an occasional bird. In Southern india, they mainly feed on the jerbil. The bite is considered “one of the most dangerous of all Indian snakes and must be treated immediately with large amounts of anti venom” The very toxic venom affects the blood and is used in medicine to control bleeding and in hematological studies.

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