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)
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