Evolutionary theories it seems are plagued with exceptions and traps they set for themselves! ‘Have you seen the bright yellow viper in the bush in front of the building?’asked Chetana Polymorphism is often suggested as an evolutionary strategy used by certain species to render it a survival advantage since it confuses predators. A few species of snakes are known to frequent their preferred spots with fair regularity and some even use the same tree to rest for several successive nights. Photos. The pit viper that Chetana was now talking about, had chosen a small low bush just outside the front of the research station. Whatever the possible reason for the Malabar pit viper’s varied avatars it certainly makes it for a very beautiful and interesting species to observe and photograph. ‘Is it still there?’ I asked while continuing to eat my lunch in the dining shed at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station. Our Mission is to conserve snakes in their natural habitat and reduce human mortality due to snake bites through research, education & outreach activities Over the years and about a dozen Malabar pit vipers later however, I have come to understand that there is no such thing as a usual color or pattern for a Malabar pit viper. Whatever the possible reason for the Malabar pit viper’s varied avatars it certainly makes it for a very beautiful and interesting species to observe and photograph. I did not believe her until later when I checked and actually found myself staring at a snake which had seemingly materialized out of nowhere to coil around the exact twig Chetna had pointed at! So it happened to us too. ‘Oh yes I just saw it’ came the nonchalant reply.
1. The snake stayed unmoving while I photographed it. They disappear in seconds. On my first evening there Chetana had shown me a sparse bush about three meters tall saying that by nine pm there would be a pit viper sitting on the twig she was pointing at. So it is highly unlikely that someone will ever hear me say something like that again. It was an odd reply and reaction coming from me considering that under normal circumstances I would drop anything and everything and rush out to find the snake. I’ll check it out after lunch’ I replied while continuing to eat at leisurely pace. Information 2 photos. This could make sense when you think about the fact that most predators often lock onto particular aspects and cues such as body color to hone in on their prey. Just about any snake enthusiast knows that snakes don’t wait around. Here are some interesting facts about this snake: 1.
Some specimens may have a dark streak behind the eye.
But none of them are as picky, particular and therefore as predictable as Malabar pit vipers. It had obviously been there for several days since none of the researchers there also eating their lunch with me bat an eyelid on hearing Chetana’s comment! There may also be scattered yellow spots along its sides. He had been seeing it in the same spot for days. As its name suggests this snake has a heat sensitive pit located in between the eye and nostril, one on each side of the face. 2. Like all vipers these snakes are live bearers Here are some interesting facts about this snake:
I was going by the colors of the previous two Malabar pit vipers which had been different from each other but basically still shades of brown and grey. This phenomenon of the presence of variable color morphs in a single species is known as polymorphism. A plausible explanation indeed. Variations include black and yellow mosaic pattern and a reddish-brown (sometimes almost maroon) form. Over the years I have seen several different Malabar pit vipers choosing not just visiting the same tree or bush but also the exact same branch and twig to nestle on for days on end! Trimeresurus malabaricus, commonly known as Malabar pit viper, Malabar rock pit viper, or rock viper, is a venomous pit viper species endemic to the Western Ghats of southwestern India. 3. It was indeed bright yellow which at the time seemed to me to be an unusual color for a Malabar pit viper. The only reason this was the exception was because I knew that Chetana was talking about a Malabar pit viper. Wildlife guide, Writer, Photographer, Fitness instructor, Pain therapist, Backpacker. 3. Malabar Pit Viper Home / Vipers / Pit vipers. A day later Brian (a researcher from California also staying there) showed me a Malabar pit viper sitting on a low bush about a hundred meters from the station building. Malabar pit vipers are usually nocturnal but also seen by day in the monsoons.
But then why don’t most other snakes exhibit polymorphism? Malabar pit vipers are usually nocturnal but also seen by day in the monsoons. However, once the monsoon ends, you rarely find a Malabar pit viper. Rainforests and snakes kind of go hand-in-hand, right? They are nocturnal and usually inactive in the day, sometimes seen basking on rocks or trees near streams. 2. A single trip where one comes across not one, but five Malabar Pit Vipers in hues of green, brown, and a rare yellow, undoubtedly is enough to convert one into a lover of snakes for life. ‘Ok thanks for letting me know! I look for Malabar pit vipers every year during the rains in Ambolim and I have found them in shades of grey, azure green, brown, yellow and a rusty chocolate! No subspecies are currently recognized. Click on the pics to load them in high resolution. Malabar pit vipers are endemic to the Western Ghats. The underside is usually pale green, yellow or grayish-white with scattered brown and yellow markings. A typical behaviour found is that they are very active during the monsoon season (you get to see many of them). 4. The venom of this snake is apparently mild in effect causing moderate pain and swelling which subsides in a day or two. Malabar Pit Viper Published by Diana Banik on September 10, 2018 September 10, 2018. The pit is extremely sensitive to heat and helps the pit viper track prey in pitch darkness Consider the notes I’ve copied from Snakes of India which are hardly less variable in suggesting possible body patterns and colors for this beautiful viper: Typically green olive or brown back with prominent brown /black spots that may join to form a faint zigzag pattern.