Ovophis monticola makazayazaya (Günther, 1864)
Mountain Pit Viper 山烙鐵頭

Ovophis monticola
Squamata 有鱗目
Serpentes 蛇亞目
Family Viperidae 蝰蛇科
Genus Ovophis 烙鐵頭蛇屬
Species Ovophis monticola makazayazaya
Other name -
Chinese name 山烙鐵頭蛇台灣亞種, 阿里山龜殼花(台灣)
Total length Average 45 - 60 cm, can reach 95 cm.
Description Ground body colour grey, with chocolate-brown blotches on dorsum, blotches are H-Shaped in the anterior half of dorsum.
Two rows of alternating pale brown on lower flanks. A whitish Y-shaped marking extends from neck on to head.
Ventrals greyish, with chocolate-brown markings. Body stocky. Head triangular, dark brown on top.
Labials grey. A pale stripe from snout along labials to angle of jaw. Eyes small, with vertical slit-like pupils.
A heat sensing pit between eye and nostril. Two large hinged fangs at the front of upper jaw.
Tail tan, with a thin central line of white dots on top. Head scales granular. Dorsal scales weakly keeled.

Formerly recorded from Tai Mo Shan and Lantau Peak at an elevation of about 900 m. The habitat in both localities is a mixture of mountain grassland and bamboo, interspersed with large rocks and boulders.
More recently has been found at lower altitudes, on the north slope of Kwun Yam Shan (400 m) in forest.

Behaviour Primarily nocturnal. Most specimens were found in the open at night though some were seen by day crossing mountain paths or hiding under objects.
Unlike Bamboo Snake (Trimeresurus albolabris), is generally not aggressive, but its behaviour is unpredictable and may strike if provoked. Although venomous, has never been known to cause a human fatality.
Diet Feeds on small mammals. In captivity young snakes accept frogs and lizards.
Reproduction Oviparous. Lays 4-11 eggs. The female constructs a nest out of bamboo leaves and guards it.
One local female laid 4 eggs (2 unfertilized) in late June, which hatched in about 1 month. Hatchling 15 cm in total length.
Distribution Currently known in Hong Kong from 13 specimens recorded since 1965, mainly from higher elevation.
This sub-species is found in southern China including Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Conservation Status IUCN Redlist: NE (Not Evaluated)
Ovophis monticola Ovophis monticola Ovophis monticola
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