Thai National Parks

Snakes of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Himalayan mountain pit viper

In Thai: งูหางแฮ่มภูเขา, ngu hang haem phukhao

Binomial name: Ovophis monticola, Albert Charles Lewis Günther, 1864

Ovophis monticola is a venomous pitviper species found in Asia. Currently, five 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 (19¼ inches), of females 110 cm (43¼ inches); tail length of males 8 cm (3⅛ inches), of females 15 cm (5⅞ inches).

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 Smith 1943:509).

Common names

Mountain pitviper, mountain viper, Chinese pit viper, spotted pit viper, Arisan habu, mountain pit viper, Chinese mountain pit viper. Bengali name: পাহাড়ী বোড়া সাপ (Pahari boda sap).

Geographic range

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

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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, 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)
  • Trimeresurus monticola meridionalis, Djoko Tjahjono Iskandar (1986)
  • Ovophis monticola meridionalis, Alphonse Richard Hoge & Sylvia A. R. W. Romano-Hoge (1981)
  • Trimeresurus monticola, Keith A. Harding & Kenneth R. G. Welch (1980)
  • Trimeresurus monticola, Malcolm Arthur Smith (1943)
  • Trimeresurus monticola meridionalis, René Léon Bourret (1935)
  • Trimeresurus monticola monticola, R. Mell (1929)
  • Lachesis monticola, Nelly de Rooij (1917)
  • Lachesis monticola, Francis Esmond Wingate Venning (1910)
  • Trimeresurus monticola, John Anderson (1871)
  • Trimeresurus monticola, Albert Charles Lewis Günther (1864)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


No photo for this species yet

Range Map

Distribution map of Himalayan mountain pit viper, Ovophis monticola in Thailand
Range map of Ovophis monticola in Thailand