Thai National Parks

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Sumatra pit viper

Thai: งูเขียวหางไหม้สุมาตรา, ngu khieow hang mai Sumatra

Binomial name: Trimeresurus sumatranus, Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822

Trimeresurus sumatranus is a venomous pitviper species found in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Arboreal, its coloration is pale green with a red tail. Two subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.

Description

Trimeresurus sumatranus is a large heavy-bodied pitviper, with a prehensile tail. Adults may attain 1.6 m ftin SVL (snout-vent length), with fangs over 10 mm (⅜ inch) long.

It is an arboreal species that is pale green in color with a red tail. The dorsal scales are edged with black, which may form crossbands in more mature specimens. There is a white or yellow stripe on each side along the first row of dorsal scales. Ventrally it is greenish or yellowish, and the ventral scales may be thinly edged with black.

Scalation includes 21 (23) rows of dorsal scales at midbody, 183-190/182-191 ventral scales in males/females, 57-66/55-64 subcaudal scales in males/females, and 8-10 supralabial scales.

Habitat

In Borneo it inhabits lowland forests at elevations below 800 m sp=us.

Behavior

It is nocturnal, climbing onto low branches to hunt its prey.

Diet

The diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, and frogs.

Geographic range

Found in southern Thailand, West and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo) and Indonesia (Bangka, Billiton, Borneo, Sumatra and the nearby islands of Simalur, Nias, and possibly the Mentawai Islands The type locality given is "Sumatra."

According to Gumprecht et al. (2004), the records regarding its occurrence in the Mentawai Islands are probably based on T. hageni.

Venom

Because it is a large snake with large fangs, Trimeresurus sumatranus can inject large quantities of venom. Fatalities from its bite have been reported, and it should be considered extremely dangerous.

Subspecies

  • T. s. malcolmi
  • T. s. sumatranus

(see subspecies details further below)

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Suborder
Serpentes
Family
Viperidae
Genus
Trimeresurus
Species
Trimeresurus sumatranus

Common names

  • German: Sumatra-Bambusotter
  • English:
    • Sumatran pit viper
    • Sumatran tree viper
    • Malcolm's pitviper
  • Thai: งูเขียวหางไหม้สุมาตรา, ngu khieow hang mai Sumatra

Subspecies

  • Trimeresurus sumatranus malcolmi, Arthur Loveridge, 1938

    Common name: Malcolm's pitviper

    Range: East Malaysia at 1, 000-1, 600 m elevation (3, 280-5, 250 feet).

  • Trimeresurus sumatranus sumatranus, Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822

    Common name: Sumatran pitviper

    Range: Thailand (Pattani Province and Betong in Yala Province), West Malaysia, East Malaysia (Borneo), Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatra, Simalur, Nias, the Mentawai Islands [Sipora, Bangka and Billiton).

Synonyms

  • Parias sumatranus, Tanya Chan-Ard et al. (2015)
  • Parias sumatranus, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Trimeresurus (Parias) sumatranus, Patrick David et al. (2011)
  • Parias sumatranus, Anita Malhotra & Roger Stephen Thorpe (2004)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus, Andreas Gumprecht et al. (2004)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus, Roy W. McDiarmid, Jonathan A. Campbell & T'Shaka A. Touré (1999)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus sumatranus, Kenneth R. G. Welch (1994)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus sumatranus, Philippe Golay et al. (1993)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus sumatranus, Arthur Loveridge (1938)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus, Malcolm Arthur Smith (1922)
  • Lachesis sumatranus, Nelly de Rooij (1917)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus, Thomas Barbour (1912)
  • Lachesis sumatranus, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Bothrops sumatranus, Theodorus Willem van Lidth de Jeude (1886)
  • Trimeresurus formosus, George Albert Boulenger (1885)
  • Bothrops sumatranus, Theodorus Willem van Lidth de Jeude (1866)
  • Bothrops formosus, Giorgio Jan (1863)
  • Bothrops formosus, Pieter Bleeker (1858)
  • Trimeresurus formosus, John Edward Gray (1849)
  • Trigonocephalus sumatranus, Theodore Edward Cantor (1847)
  • Trigonocephalus formosus, Johannes Peter Müller & Hermann Schlegel In Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1845)
  • Trigonocephalus formosus, Johannes Peter Müller & Hermann Schlegel In Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1842)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus, John Edward Gray (1842)
  • Trimesurus sumatranus, John Edward Gray (1842)
  • Coluber sumatranus, Heinrich Boie (1826)
  • Cophias wagleri, Hermann Schlegel (1826)
  • Coluber sumatrensis, Friedrich Boie (1826)
  • Coluber sumatranus, Thomas Stamford Raffles (1822)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Sumatra pit viper, Trimeresurus sumatranus in Thailand
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Waeng District, Narathiwat

Range map of Trimeresurus sumatranus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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