Fun pit viper Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Pit Viper facts are interesting for snake enthusiasts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.3 Min

Are you interested in knowing about some of the most deadly snakes? You are in the right place as we are going to talk about one of the deadliest snake groups that roam this earth. It is the Pit Vipers that have interested scientists for a long time because of their venom.

This is like a club of venomous snakes. Under the subfamily Crotalinae, there are about 22 genera and 151 subspecies.

Most of them are starkly different from each other except for the 'pit' that they have between their eyes and the nostrils. This is called a fossa. It it present on both the sides of the face and it senses heat.

Pit vipers look very different from each other in terms of colors and length. They are found all over the world.

Rattlesnakes are a common family of pit vipers endemic to the Indian subcontinent and to North America.. However, a lot of species like the Eastern Copperhead are found in different parts of America.

As they belong to different genera, the habitat of the Pit Viper snakes also differs drastically. Another interesting factor that binds them is the ovoviviparous reproduction form, where the eggs fertilize and mature inside the bodies of mother snakes.

Even the number of eggs present in a clutch can vary drastically according to the genera and species. Keep on reading to know more about these interesting Pit Viper snake facts.

Do not forget to check out the articles on the green anaconda and rattlesnake to know more about individual snake species.

Pit Viper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pit viper?

Pit Vipers are a type of venomous snake, and they belong to the subfamily Crotalinae.

What class of animal does a pit viper belong to?

The Pit Vipers belong to the class Reptilia and the order Squamata because they have scales on their body.

How many pit vipers are there in the world?

As Pit Vipers are abundantly found throughout the world, their exact numbers haven't been noted yet. Some species, such as Mangshan Pit Viper or Zhaoermia mangshanensis, is currently listed as Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, and it is estimated that only 300-400 individuals live in the world.

Where does a pit viper live?

As we have seen, the Pit Vipers are present all over the globe, except in Antarctica. Hence, the different species have adapted to various habitats, including rainforests, deserts, and grasslands. However, most species like to stay in an area with enough vegetation. Asia, as well as South America, is especially known for its huge population of Pit Vipers.

What is a pit viper's habitat?

The habitat of Pit Vipers depends on their species. Some are arboreal, and they like to stay on the trees, whereas others are ground-dwelling.

Tree-dwelling Pit Vipers often have green scales which help them to camouflage with their habitat. The Bamboo Pit Vipers is one such species that is widely found in the southern part of India. In comparison, the Copperhead are snakes that are predominantly found in different parts of the United States and tend to stay on the ground.

Who do pit vipers live with?

Snakes are usually solitary animals, and the Pit Vipers are no different. They only come in contact with other snakes during the mating season.

How long does a pit viper live?

The usual lifespan of Pit Vipers is around 12-18 years, but it may increase or decrease according to their habitat, size, and species. Most snake species tend to live much longer when kept in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Most of us are used to the fact that snakes lay eggs. However, it works a little differently with the Pit Vipers.

This group of venomous snakes is usually ovoviviparous. So, the eggs of a female snake fertilize and mature inside their body, and the baby snakes come out of them after hatching.

The shell of the eggs is expelled from the mother's body either during the process of giving birth or after it is over. The Calloselasma, Lachesis, and some Trimeresurus are species that follow the reproduction process of oviparous where they lay eggs.

The Pit Vipers do have a mating season, but it varies according to their genera and species. For instance, the Copperhead snakes usually mate during late spring.

What is their conservation status?

Most pit vipers are listed as of Least Concern in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. However, there are some species that have come under the threat and are classified as Endangered. Some, such as the Island pit vipers, are even Critically Endangered.

Pit Viper Fun Facts

What do pit vipers look like?

It is hard to classify the appearance of a Pit Viper as there are hundreds of subspecies under the subfamily Crotalinae. However, these snakes are quite colorful, and they are great at camouflaging with their environment.

The distinguishable feature that makes them other snakes are the deep pits that are present on either side of the head. It is used as a heat-sensing organ by these snakes.

Another important thing in the group is their fangs. As these are venomous snakes, their bite is very important for killing their prey.

The Indian Saw-scaled Viper has one of the most beautiful scale patterns of the colors red, gray, and white. However, they are also the species that are most accountable for frequent snakebites happening in India.

There is a beautiful species called the Blue Pit Viper or the Trimeresurus insularis that have striking blue or green scales. The species is endemic to Southeast Asia.

Pit viper facts are amusing for kids.

How cute are they?

Well, we wouldn't call Pit Vipers cute as they are quite deadly and aggressive in nature.

How do they communicate?

Apart from the usual hiss, snakes are good at communicating through pheromones as a cue to others snakes either of their territory or for calling them to participate in mating. In snakes like the Rattlesnakes, the end of their tail plays a vital role in communication.

They shake it like a rattle to ward off any predators. As snakes like to be left alone, they only tend to bite in situations of utmost necessity.

How big is a pit viper?

The size of pit vipers depends a lot on their species. A Pit Viper such as the Timber rattlesnakes is around 36-40 in (91-101 cm).

On the other hand, the Indian saw-scaled viper grows to a length of about 12-36 in (30-90 cm). The Southern American bushmaster is one of the longest snakes that may grow from 6-12 ft (1.8-3.6 m).

How fast can a pit viper move?

Pit Vipers aren't fast snakes, and they usually wait in ambush to strike at their prey and have a good bite on the animals. As there are too many species, the speed of a Pit Viper cannot be noted.

How much does a pit viper weigh?

Even the largest Pit Vipers grow up to have a weight of 15 lb or 7 kg, like in the case of Bushmasters. But, the weight will definitely depend on the species and their length. For instance, the Pit Viper Eastern Copperheads usually have a weight of 4-12 oz (113-340 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female Pit Vipers.

What would you call a baby pit viper?

A baby Pit Viper can be called a snakelet or a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Pit Vipers sustain themselves on prey like rats, mice, other small rodents, birds, and lizards. Some Pit Vipers like to prey at night, while others can hunt during the day.

Are they poisonous?

No, but they are venomous. Pit Vipers are amongst one of the most venomous groups of snakes found on this plant.

They have specialized fangs that help them lodge the venom deep inside their victims. The jaws and fangs of Pit Vipers can mold according to their victim to have a better bite. As Pit Vipers often lay in ambush, it is very hard to spot one if they are near you and they bite quite suddenly.

The toxicity level of the venom will depend on the species, Rattlesnakes being one of those snakes that have a deadly venom. The fangs throw out venom that can easily lead to paralysis and muscle damage.

Would they make a good pet?

We wish these colorful and wonderful snakes could have been good pets. But, sadly, most of them are highly toxic because of their venom and deadly bite. So, apart from a scientist, seldom can anyone keep these healthy venom-spewing snakes as their pet.

Did you know...

One of the interesting Green Pit Viper facts is that their venom is both hemotoxic and neurotoxic. It means that the venom spread through their bite can affect your blood as well as the nerves.

One of the fun Pit Viper facts for kids is that the snakelets use a worm-like movement.

What is special about pit vipers?

The specialty of Pit Vipers lies in their pit organs present on both sides of their face. These organs help them in heat sensing that comes in handy to catch prey as well as to stay away from predators.

It might be hard to believe, but Pit Vipers aren't aggressive, to begin with. They only strike and bite when they feel threatened or irritated.

The pits on either side of their head help the snakes to prey on warm-blooded animals.

The venom of different Pit Vipers can act differently. However, the Indian Saw-scaled viper can have the most toxic venom with the ability to inject about 1.4 oz (40 mg)  of venom in a single bite which is enough to kill a human.

The Pit Vipers even have specialized fangs for getting the perfect bite. Another special thing is that many of the Pit Vipers follow the ovoviviparous method of reproduction.

How to draw a pit viper?

Drawing a Pit Viper isn't that hard as it is like drawing any other snakes. The simplest way is to make a broad 'S' shaped body with a prominent head.

Don't forget to give them a long bifurcated tongue. Now, make scales on their body that go towards their tail, and the size of scales will become smaller along the way.

Draw eyes on two sides of their head and then color the snake with your favorite colors. You can even draw the Pit Viper in a sitting position where their underbelly is showing.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including sand lizard, or copperhead snake.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our angry snake coloring pages.

Pit Viper Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small rodents, reptiles, birds

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

2-86, depending on the species

How Much Did They Weigh?

Up to 15 lb (7 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

variety of habitats based on the genera and species

Where Do They Live?

all continents except antarctica

How Long Were They?

1-13 ft (30-400 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Bamboo pit viper - Trimeresurus gramineus Eastern copperhead - Agkistrodon contortrix Timber rattlesnake - Crotalus horridus Southern American bushmaster - Lachesis muta Indian saw-scaled viper- Echis carinatus

What Do They Look Like?

Color and patterns vary based on species, but they have unique pits on their heads

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

humans, large birds, large mammals

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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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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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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