Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Sumatra pit viper

Trimeresurus sumatranus

(Thomas Stamford Raffles, 1822)

In Thai: งูเขียวหางไหม้สุมาตรา, ngu khieow hang mai Sumatra

Trimeresurus sumatranus is a species of venomous pitviper (a subfamily of vipers within the larger Viperidae family) found in the tropical forests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Arboreal by nature, its coloration is pale to neon-green, with some black vertical markings, and a red-tipped tail. As with other vipers, this species has prominent, “keeled” scales, which appear somewhat raised and give the snake a rough-textured appearance. Common names include Sumatran pitviper, Sumatran tree viper, and Sumatran pit viper.


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.


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


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


The diet consists mainly of arboreal small mammals, birds, and tree 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.


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.

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Scientific classification

Trimeresurus sumatranus

Common names

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


  • 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).


  • Trimeresurus (Parias) sumatranus, Zeeshan A. Mirza et al. (2023)
  • Parias sumatranus, Peng Guo et al. (2018)
  • 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)
  • Trimeresurus sumatranus, Andreas Gumprecht et al. (2004)
  • Parias sumatranus, Anita Malhotra & Roger Stephen Thorpe (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)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Trimeresurus sumatranus - Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary

Copyright Khao Sok Snakes

Trimeresurus sumatranus - Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
Trimeresurus sumatranus - Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary

Copyright Khao Sok Snakes

Trimeresurus sumatranus - Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary

Range Map

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