Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)

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Typical green with Black patterns

Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)

Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)
Fig 01. Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper | ©Yesitha Rodrigo

Sri Lankan Green pit vipers are endemic species to Sri Lanka and the only species of the  Trimeresurus genus found in Sri Lanka.

Arboreal species of a viper with a medium-sized and thick sluggish looking body with a strong prehensile tail and imbricate smooth yet keeled costal “Body scales”.                                          Generally nocturnal but alert during the day. This species is commonly found in the rainforest in the wet zone. Yet distributed all thought out the three main climatic zones up to 1800 meters above sea level. Can be seen in a wide range of habitats from rainforests, submontane forests, riverine forests, tea and coffee plantation to home gardens near the buffer zones of forests.

Green pit vipers have a wide array of colour variations from typically green with a black pattern to a turquoise blue or to a completely patternless Green to Bule snakes. Generally, with a black-tipped tail.

Blue with black patterning Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)
Fig 02. Light blue colour morph with Black coloured patches
Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)
Fig 03. Green colour morph with Black coloured patches | ©Chamod Gunathilake
Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)
Fig 04. Green coloured Patternless morph | ©Yesitha Rodrigo

These snakes are ambush hunters often some individuals can be found in the same place for weeks or more till they find a meal. Feeding on frogs, lizards, birds, small mammals juveniles are known to feed on insects. They have two heat-sensing pits in between their eye and nostrils hence the name “Pit Vipers” these pits help them find warm-blooded prey in the dark.

Generally a calm species but if aggravated they tend to puff themselves up and vibrate their tail and coil themselves in a strike position and lash out to bite.

Green Pit Vipers are Moderately Venomous a bite may cause extreme pain and swelling, blisters. There are no known human fatalities are recorded plantation worker are often bitten by this species especially tea plantation workers.

Green pit vipers like all Trimeresurus species are Ovoviviparous young ones develop in an average period of around eight months.  a Clutch may hold 1-23 young ones. Newborn juveniles 20cm-25cm. Many snakes are sexually dimorphic length fully grown female specimens measure over 4 feet males average around 2.5 feet.

Check this out: Introduction to Genus Echis in Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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