Mangshan Pit Viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis)
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017
A young Mangshan pit viper.
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.
Class: Reptilia - reptiles
Order: Squamata - amphibians, lizards, snakes, serpents
Family: Viperidae - pit vipers, vipers
Species: Protobothrops mangshanensis
3-5 kg and more (6.6-11 lb) for an adult
Up to 203 cm (up to 7 ft)
Shades of green, bright green, and yellow-green; brown blotches along its back and sides; last 10 cm (4 in) of its tail is white
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Southeast China (Mangshan Mountain and surrounding areas in Hunan Province, China)
Mature forested areas at elevations of 700-1300 m (2300-4300 ft)
Population in Wild
Lifts its body, moving forward in waves (similar to an earthworm's crawl). Also moves by undulating S-shaped movement (common for snakes).
Shy, calm. Little studied in the wild.
Insects, small mammals (rodents), and frogs.
Thought to have few predators.
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
Eggs laid in leaf litter
49-51 days (in captivity)
Up to 40 g (1.4 oz)
Up to 27 eggs
28-38 g (1.0-1.3 oz), on average
- This species was discovered (1989) and described (1990) relatively recently
- Like other pit vipers, has special infrared-sensing pit organs to "see" their prey's body heat (warm-bodied mammals); pit organs aid in detection of prey and help guide a strike
- Venom degrades in sunlight; melanin accumulates around this viper's venom glands to prevent damage to venom
- Most pit vipers give live birth, but the Mangshan pit viper lays eggs.
- Little known about many aspects of this animal's biology, including its growth, behavior, and reproductive biology
- Occupys a small range in China
- Major threats include illegal hunting and pet trade, logging of forest habitat, and climate change
© 2011-2017 San Diego Zoo Global. Minor conservation update in 2017.
How to cite: Mangshan Pit Viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis) Fact Sheet, 2011. c2011-2017. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/mangshanpitviper
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.