Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Himalayan mountain pit viper

Ovophis monticola

(Albert Charles Lewis Günther, 1864)

In Thai: งูหางแฮ่มภูเขา, ngu hang haem phukhao

Ovophis monticola, commonly known as the Chinese mountain pit viper, is a venomous pitviper species found in Asia. Currently, two subspecies are recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here. Recent taxonomic work suggests that most of these should be considered as separate species. IUCN has already evaluated O. m. makazayazaya as Ovophis makazayazaya.


Total length of males 49 cm, of females 110 cm; tail length of males 8 cm, of females 15 cm.

The head has a short snout, a little more than twice the length of the diameter of the eye. The crown is covered by small scales rather than large shields, while the scales are usually smooth, feebly imbricate. The first upper labial is not fused to the nasal and is completely separated by a suture. The supraoculars are large, 5-9 scales in a line between them. The internasals are usually not in contact with one another, separated by 2 small suprapostrostral scales. There are 7-10 upper labials, the second of which is usually fused to the scale bordering the facial sensory pit anteriorly. The fourth and fifth upper labials are beneath the eye, but separated from orbit by a series of 2-4 small scales.

The body is stout. The dorsal scales are smooth or weakly keeled, in 23-25, occasionally in 19 or 21 longitudinal rows at midbody. Ventral scales and subcaudals (Myanmar, northeastern India and adjacent areas of China and Thailand) 137-176 and 36-62 respectively, subcaudals mixed paired and single, occasionally all unpaired (ventrals and subcaudals for southern China, Vietnam, Laos: 127-144 and 36-54, and Malaysian Peninsula: 133-137 and 22-28 respectively ).

Common names

Mountain pitviper, mountain viper, Chinese pit viper, spotted pit viper, Arisan habu, Chinese mountain pit viper. Bengali name: পাহাড়ী বোড়া.

Geographic range

Found in Asia in Nepal, India (Assam, Sikkim, Mizoram, Nagaland), Bangladesh (already stated on the subspecies table), Myanmar, China (Zhejiang, Fujian, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet), Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, West Malaysia and Indonesia (Sumatra). The type locality is described as "Sikkim" (India).


Subspecies Taxon author Common name Geographic range
O. m. monticola (Günther, 1864) Mountain pitviper Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), China (Sichuan, Tibet Autonomous Region, Yunnan, India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal), Myanmar (Chin, Kachin and Shan) and Nepal.
O. m. makazayazaya (Takahashi, 1922) Taiwanese mountain pitviper Taiwan (Majia, Pingtung, Chiayi Alishan), China (Southeast), Vietnam
O. m. zhaokentangi Zhao, 1995 Gaoligong mountain pitviper Goaligong Shan, north of Pianma, Lushui County, Yunnan Province, China.


Little is known about the venom of this species but it is presumed to contain hemorrhagins and procoagulants. There has been one recorded fatality from the bite of this species.

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Scientific classification

Ovophis monticola

Common names

  • German: Berg-Grubenotter
  • English:
    • Chinese mountain pit viper
    • Mountain pit viper
  • Thai: งูหางแฮ่มภูเขา, ngu hang haem phukhao


  • Ovophis monticola convictus, Ferdinand Stoliczka, 1870

    Common name: Indo-Malayan mountain pitviper

    Range: Indonesia (Sumatra), West Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as far north as the central Annam Mountains.

  • Ovophis monticola meridionalis, Alphonse Richard Hoge & Sylvia A. R. W. Romano-Hoge, 1981

    Range: Cambodia, Laos, West Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam

  • Ovophis monticola monticola, Albert Charles Lewis Günther, 1864

    Common name: Mountain pitviper

    Range: Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), China (Sichuan, Tibet Autonomous Region, Yunnan, India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal), Myanmar (Chin, Kachin and Shan) and Nepal.

  • Ovophis monticola orientalis, Schmidt, 1925

    Common name: Oriental mountain pitviper

    Range: China (Fukien, Chekiang), Hong Kong

  • Ovophis monticola zayuensis, Yao-Ming Jiang, 1977

    Common name: Zayuan mountain pitviper

    Range: China, Tibet Autonomous Region: in Zayü and Mêdog counties at 1, 800-2, 200 m (5, 900-7, 200 feet) elevation.

  • Ovophis monticola zhaokentangi, Er-Mi Zhao, 1995

    Common name: Gaoligong mountain pitviper

    Range: Goaligong Shan, north of Pianma, Lushui County, Yunnan Province, China.

  • vophis monticola makazayazaya, Seiichi Takahashi, 1922

    Common name: Taiwan mountain pitviper

    Range: Taiwan: Chuchuku, Arishan, Makazayazaya and Taipei.


  • Ovophis monticola, ZENG et al. (2023)
  • Ovophis monticola, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Ovophis monticola monticola, Andreas Gumprecht et al. (2004)
  • Ovophis monticola, Anita Malhotra et al. (2004)
  • Trimeresurus monticola, R. C. Sharma (2004)
  • Ovophis monticola, Roy W. McDiarmid, Jonathan A. Campbell & T'Shaka A. Touré (1999)
  • Ovophis monticola, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Ovophis monticola meridionalis, Kenneth R. G. Welch (1994)
  • Ovophis monticola monticola, Kenneth R. G. Welch (1994)
  • Ovophis monticola monticola, Philippe Golay et al. (1993)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Ovophis monticola - Kaeng Krachan National Park
Ovophis monticola - Kaeng Krachan National Park

Range Map

Distribution map of Himalayan mountain pit viper, Ovophis monticola in Thailand
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Ang Khang
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Suthep - Pui National Park
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son
  • Mae Sot District, Tak
  • Mueang Pan District, Lampang
  • Phop Phra District, Tak
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Soi Dao National Park
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park
  • Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi
  • Thong Pha Phum National Park
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary
Range map of Ovophis monticola in Thailand