The Protobothrops jerdonii, more commonly known as Jerdon’s a beautiful, ferocious, and venomous snake. The viper’s natural habitat is spread across China’s provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Yun-nan, Tibet, Shaanxi, and throughout southern Asia. They live in mountain areas and on plateaus at altitudes of 1,350-3,160m and can be seen in wild meadows, cultivated land, or stony outcroppings and commonly live in grass or deadwood near creeks and rivers. Beautiful markings help camouflage a most venomous serpent, making human observers a bit spooked at the idea of such a dangerous creature lying nearby, undetected. As a result, the vipers are sometimes referred to as nature’s ghost.

Jerdon’s pit vipers belong to the family Viper-idae, genus Protobothrops. Tubular erectile fangs are characteristic of the species as is a triangular-shaped head, which is clearly distinguished from the neck. Smaller scales on the head and back transition into larger ones on the snout and eye sockets. With average body thickness and a shorter tail, the snake is greenish yellow and covered in brown spots and markings.

Jerdon’s pit vipers camouflage themselves by taking advantage of their coloring, and are able to avoid predators. All snakes have poor eyesight and rely heavily on their tongues to sense the environment around them as well as pits on either side of their heads for sensing temperature fluctuations. Through these two pits, they sense extraneous thermal changes and are able to track and capture prey or to avoid predators. Mice, birds, frogs, and occasional salamanders make for excellent dining options. The snake will occasionally raid a bird’s nest and eat the young hatchlings.

Jerdon’s pit vipers are fairly common in their natural habitats, but they are not easy to see. Attacks on humans by this species take place most frequendy in the Qinling area. If bitten, there is a high chance of the victim going into respiratory failure and a blood serum injection is the only known antidote at present. When coming across one of these snakes, the best reaction is to slowly and quietly move away without disturbing it further.