Go to start page
V1.6.10 (T344, R003bb76b9)
Disclaimer & Information
Show Mindmap
Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
Sea snakes
Terrestrial snakes
Miscellaneous animals
North America
Mexico and Central America
South America and the West Indies
North Africa, Near and Middle East
Central and Southern Africa
The Far East
Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Australia and the Pacific Islands

Biological features of terrestrial snakes

Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia



Description of the most important representatives:


General behaviour
Defensive behaviour
Factors relevant to envenoming

Bungarus sp.





forests, open areas, agricultural zones, populated areas

slender snakes, smallest species between 70 and 90 cm long, largest up to 2 m; several species with clear cross bands along the body

very shy during the day; when threatened the head is hidden under the coils of the body

bites only occur at night, and many victims are bitten while sleeping; the bite often goes unnoticed and the victim awakes with neurotoxic symptoms

Naja sp.

nocturnal and diurnal




forests, open areas, agricultural zones; often in densely populated areas

slender to sturdy body; wide head, but not clearly distinct from the body; length 1–2 m

raising the first third of the body, neck region is spread out into a flat hood; some species with a marking on the back of the flattened  hood (see picture)

accidents occur while victims are working in the field, or on the way to or from work; often responsible for bites in freshwater fishers; N. philippinensis represents an occupational danger for rice farmers in the Philippines

Ophiophagus hannah

nocturnal or diurnal




primarily in dense forest, sometimes also in open areas; never in densely populated areas

appearance as for Naja sp., but up to 4 or 5 m long; sturdy body, yet appears slender

as for Naja sp. (see above); in the defensive position can raise their head to a height of over 1.5 m from the ground; grunting warning sound

bites are rare

Echis carinatus


primarily nocturnal, in cooler weather also active during the day



open areas in arid regions; also in agricultural areas and gardens

small snakes with an average length of 30 cm (max. 80 cm); "side-winders"

by continuously rubbing the coils of their body together they produce a clear warning sound similar to that made when two pieces of sandpaper are rubbed together; from this position, they dart forwards rapidly and may strike repeatedly

extremely nervous and agitated; rarely flee; although small, they are among the most dangerous snakes in India; most bites occur in the fields

Daboia russelli ssp.


primarily nocturnal



open grasslands or scrubland; plantations, often in rice fields

sturdy body with an average length of 1 m (max. 1.5 m); body markings consist of dark ovals

repeated, intermittent puffing through the large nostrils; at the same time the body is formed into taut coils

victims are chiefly rural workers, primarily in rice fields

Calloselasma rhodostoma


primarily nocturnal, peak activity during the monsoon rains



forested areas, open regions; also in plantations

sturdy body, rarely more than 1 m in length

no specific defensive behaviour

most bites occur in rubber or coffee plantations; during the dry season they also enter houses, thus bites also occur in living quarters

Trimeresurus sp.,

according to the old classification (including the new subgenera/genera Craspedocephalus, Himalayophis, Ovophis, Parias, Peltopelor, Popeia, Protobothrops, Sinovipera, Trimeresurus, Tropidolaemus and Viridovipera)

most species are arboreal (bushes and shrubs), some are ground-dwelling

wooded regions, open areas with bushes and shrubs, parks in cities, gardens

smaller snakes under 1 m; the most important species in medical terms are green, without markings

body is held in an S-shaped coil

common cause of snakebites