The most poisonous snakes in the world: Russel's viper

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The most poisonous snakes in the world: Russel's viper

Russel's Viper can reach 170 cm in length. The head, distinct from the neck, is triangular in shape. It has a background color of the livery usually brownish or tending to an orangeish color with three series of circular dark brown spots bordered with black for the length of its body.

Russell's viper is widespread in much of Southeast Asia. It has been found in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, China (Guangxi, Guangdong), Taiwan and Indonesia (Endeh, Flores, east Java, Komodo, Lomblen islands).

It is not limited to a particular habitat, but avoids dense woods, so it is found mostly in open areas. However, it can also be found in small woods and plantations. It is more common in the coastal lowlands and in the hills.

It generally does not live at high altitudes, but has also been reported at 2300–3000m. Avoid humid environments, such as swamps and rainforests. It is a terrestrial animal, active mainly at night. During colder days, however, he can change his habits, becoming more active during the day.

Mating usually takes place in the first months of the year. The gestation period is over six months. The chicks are born in May, with greater frequency in the months of July and August. Broods of 20-40 chicks are common, the maximum recorded is 65 in a single litter.

This species is very dangerous for humans, in fact it holds the sad record of maximum poisoner in India, where every year about 10,000 people die from its bite. This species is not particularly aggressive; however, due to its laziness, it generally does not warn the victim of its presence (as opposed to more aggressive and venomous snakes such as cobra or mamba), biting it only when this is unknowingly very close to the snake.

The high mortality is to be attributed, in addition to the aforementioned laziness and scarce tendency to estrangement, to the coexistence of man and animal in the same territories and, above all, to the fact that the most common precautions are not observed; for example, due to poverty, most farmers do not wear shoes and this increases the vulnerability of man and, consequently, mortality.

The poison contains toxins with haemotoxic and cytotoxic action. The poison immediately produces severe pain in the bite area, after about 20 minutes there may be bleeding in the mouth, gums, as well as a sudden reduction in heart rate and a drop in blood pressure.

In severe cases, systemic bleeding, thrombosis, cardiac or respiratory failure (which occurs in about 30% of untreated bites) may later occur. Death can occur after 1-14 days and even beyond. In case of survival of the bite, the venom can have serious permanent consequences such as hypopituitarism (which in turn can induce other endocrinopathies such as hypogonadism, hypothyroidism, Addison's disease etc.) and consequent sterility. Hypopituitarism occurs in 29% of bitten people.