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Venomous Brown Spotted Pit Viper Snake Found in Northern Thailand



This nocturnal pit-viper lives on mountainsides and farmland, it’s venom contains hemorrhagic toxins, and the wound often swells with bruises and bloody blisters- Photo Max Jackson

NAN – A brown spotted pit viper, a venomous snake common throughout Taiwan, has been found in the northern province of Nan, according to a report to the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute under the Thai Red Cross Society.

With a scientific name of protobothrops mucrosquamatus, it is high on the World Health Organization (WHO)’s list of poisonous snakes in the Protobothrops spp group, usually indigenous to Taiwan and China.

Scientists believe the brown spotted pit viper snake is the first to have been found in Thailand.

It was discovered when a man from Nan Province went into a forest to forage for wild food and was accidentally  bitten by the snake.  The man beat the snake to death with a stick and brought the carcass with him to Nan Hospital.

Doctors at the hospital said, the man showed no unusual symptoms from the bite and believed the snake had not discharged its venom when it bit the man.  Unhurt from the bite and released from the hospital.

Doctors at the hospital examined the carcass and found it to be unfamiliar, although it looks similar to several local venomous snakes including rattlesnake and viper.  The carcass was sent to the poison centre of Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok for further examination.

According to the Queen Saovabha Institute, the discovery of another kind of poisonous snake serves as a warning to the public of possible danger from it.

Medium-sized snake; total length up to 150 cm, it’s fangs are large (the largest of all venomous snakes in Taiwan), movable, in sheath in anterior part of upper jaw.

This nocturnal pit-viper lives on mountainsides and farmland, often in abandoned houses. It preys on frogs, lizards, birds, mice or bats. Females produce 3-15 eggs of about 3.5×2 cm per clutch in summer and habitually protect them.

It is the most fearless of the common venomous snakes in Taiwan and can be aggressive, attacking shadows and moving objects. The bite leaves obvious marks on the victims; the venom contains hemorrhagic toxins, and the wound often swells with bruises and bloody blisters.

Global Distribution

Bangladesh, India (Assam; Arunachal Pradesh and many other regions), Myanmar, N/C Vietnam, South China (Anhui, Sichuan, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizou, Yunnan, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Zhejiang, Hainan), Taiwan and now Thailand.

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