Fun Mangshan Viper Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 12, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Mangshan viper facts are interesting to search for.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

Vipers are broadly classified into two subdivisions: true vipers and pit vipers. Mangshan vipers have the characteristics of pit vipers.

Therefore, the species of Mangshan viper are sometimes popularly referred to as Manghshan pit viper. Apart from that, these snakes are also known as the ironhead viper, Mangshan iron-head snake, Mang Mountain pit viper, and Chinese pit viper.

These snakes are distributed over a very small range in the Mangshan Mountain range and are native snake species of the Guangdong and Hunan provinces of China.

The Mangshan pit viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis) was first found in the Mangshan mountain of Hunan, China, in 1989. Since then, there have been many name changes associated with this snake.

They are dangerously toxic, but the venom degrades under direct sunlight. There exists very little information about the behavior and the habit of this snake in the wild as they can be quite difficult to search for in the wild.

However, commercial exploitation of the species like pet trade and hunting, along with natural causes like habitat destruction and climate changes, have made them endangered. Several conservation programs have been introduced for these endangered animals.

To know more about these vipers, continue reading these amazing facts and for similar content, check out pit viper facts and gaboon viper facts too.

Mangshan Viper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mangshan viper?

Mangshan pit viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis) is a type of snake found in China.

What class of animal does a Mangshan viper belong to?

The Mangshan pit vipers of Squamata order and Viperidae family belong to the class Reptilia, the common class for all reptiles.

How many Mangshan vipers are there in the world?

Mang Mountain pit vipers have a very small range, and most of their range remains highly unexamined. Since their discovery, only limited population surveys have been carried out in their native provinces of China.

Their cryptic coloration and low density make it very difficult to spot vipers on the forest floor.

This has left the researchers with very less credible data regarding the viper population. One study has reported that there are only 460 snakes are left in the wild, while the State Forestry Administration of China stated that there are around 500 individuals.

Other similar studies conducted in a particular area also recorded around 300-500 individuals. However, their population is extremely threatened, mainly because of illegal pet trades.

Secondary threats like deforestation and habitat loss have also affected them severely.

For proper conservation methods of this species, the vipers need to be closely studied and monitored. Breeding programs and other initiatives for reintroducing the population of the Mangshan vipers have even been carried out by different facilities of the United States and Germany, especially by the San Diego zoo.

Where does a Mangshan viper live?

Mangshan pit vipers are found in specific regions of southern China. They cover a very small range and can be found only in two areas: the Mangshan mountain range in Hunan and Ruyuan county in the Guangdong Province.

What is a Mangshan viper's habitat?

The Mangshan iron head belongs to the montane subtropical forests that consist of thick and dense vegetation. They mainly populate the undisturbed mature forests in wet terrains where they lie on the ground among lichen-covered logs.

They can also adapt to extreme summer and winter temperatures easily. They are found in mountain forests consisting of trees like oak, maple, bamboo, and camphor.

Who does Mangshan viper live with?

Mangshan pit vipers are a type of viper found lying on the forest floors alone in solitude. They leave their partners as soon as breeding gets over.

How long does a Mangshan viper live?

The average lifespan of a viper is 20 years, but the Mangshan pit viper is estimated to live up to 25 years years old.

How do they reproduce?

Unlike most vipers that follow viviparous reproduction, the Mangshan pit viper is one of the very few snakes of the world that performs oviparous reproduction. This means that the snake produces young snakes by laying eggs.

After mating, the female snakes lay up to 13-21 eggs in a single clutch in nests built on leaf litter. Females build the nest by themselves and protect the nest and their eggs aggressively from other animals.

The eggs hatch and the young snake emerges from it after an incubation period of 49-51 days. The female Mangshan pit viper leaves the nest, leaving behind the newborns, just after the eggs hatch and the young snake grows up on its own.

What is their conservation status?

The Mangshan pit viper is listed as an Endangered animal in the Red List produced by the International Union of Conservation of Nature or the IUCN.

The species have a limited range and only inhabit two areas in China, so any kind of threat has a huge impact on their population. They are harvested on a large scale for the illegal pet trade and also because they act as a local delicacy in China.

Apart from that, habitat destruction by illegal logging since their time of discovery has continued to affect its population in the wild negatively.

However, to increase the number of these snakes, the Mangshan pit viper species have been introduced in the Mangshan Natural Nature Reserve. Captive breeding is also being practiced in China as well as in Germany and the United States.

The efforts of captive breeding have gained success, and more than 100 hatchlings have been recorded that were born in captivity.

Mangshan Viper Fun Facts

What does a Mangshan viper look like?

Mangshan vipers have the characteristics of pit vipers

The Mangshan pit viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis) is a large-bodied robust snake that has a pronounced and large triangular head. Their body is covered with patterns of bright green color and brown blotches.

This type of coloration helps the snake to blend with the forest floor and maintain a cryptic identity in the forest.

As pit vipers, these snakes consist of noticeable pits between their eyes and mouth. These pits play a very important role in the nocturnal snake's eyesight.

Internally they are connected to the optic nerve of the viper that helps it to detect the infrared rays and strike its prey successfully even in the dark. The color of the eyes matches the green color of the body.

The last 4 in (10.1 cm) of the length of the tail is bright white in color, which mimics a grub. The white color helps them to attract their prey towards it.

The Mangshan pit viper has long fangs that grow up to 0.8 in (2 cm) in length and can fold their fangs when they are not in use.

Juvenile snakes, when born, look pale, and their color brightens with age. The male snakes have a longer tail than the females, although the latter has a more robust body structure.

How cute are they?

Mangshan pit vipers are one of the brightest looking vipers in the world. Their intricate green and brown camouflaging patterns make them a favorite of many wildlife enthusiasts.

How do they communicate?

Mangshan pit vipers are generally shy and calm. The communication behavior of these vipers has not been studied well as they are quite difficult to search and account for.

However, it has been determined that these pit vipers open their mouth and gape at their predators or intruders. When they become angry, they also let out a strong and warning hiss to alarm the predators.

How big is a Mangshan viper?

The species of Mangshan pit viper is a large and robust snake that can grow up to 7 ft (213.3 cm) in length. They are even larger than the largest true vipers, the gaboon vipers, who grow up to 6 ft (182 cm). These snakes are much bigger than horned vipers and European vipers.

How fast can a Mangshan viper move?

The Mangshan pit viper is a heavy and large snake that moves slowly and sluggishly.

How much does a Mangshan viper weigh?

The weight of the species of Mangshan pit viper ranges between 6.6-11 lb (3-5 kg). They weigh much less than the average cobras.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female species of the mang mountain pit vipers do not have any specific name. Both of them are together known as Mangshan pit vipers.

What would you call a baby Mangshan viper?

The baby of a snake is referred to as snakelet, hatchling, or neonate.

What do they eat?

Mangshan pit vipers are ambush predators who prey by striking quickly. These vipers hunt by the method of caudal luring; they wiggle the white portion of the tail to lure their prey towards them.

As the prey approaches, they bite them and wait for the venom to act. Their diet consists of frogs and birds. Apart from frogs, birds, insects, they also feed on small mammals.

Are they poisonous?

Like all vipers, like the jumping pit vipers and eyelash vipers, Mangshan pit vipers are also highly venomous snakes. Their venom causes severe damage and can even kill humans.

The fangs of these vipers are capable of injecting a large amount of venom at once. A small amount of venom is capable of corroding the muscle tissues, blood clotting, cause internal bleeding, and even killing people. The venom helps them to prey and digest their food.

However, snakes lose the effect of venom in sunlight. They have excess melanin in the scales around the venom glands to protect their venom.

Would they make a good pet?

Vipers are dangerous and venomous snakes. Petting them requires experience and training. However, the shy and calm nature of the Mangshan pit vipers has made them popular captive viper species anyway.

Did you know...

Mang Mountain pit vipers are capable of spitting venom. They can spit venom up to a distance of 6.6 ft (2 m).

What are vipers known for?

These vipers are classified from other snakes by their long and hollow, rotating fangs. The fangs are attached to their venom glands which help them to inject the venom into the prey's body when they bite.

What is special about pit viper?

Pit vipers have pit organs between the eyes and the nostrils, which help them detect infrared rays and strike their warm-blooded prey accurately.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these golden-tailed gecko facts and Monocled Cobra facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Mangshan Viper coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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