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Tropidolaemus wagleri
General Details, Taxonomy and Biology, Venom, Clinical Effects, Treatment, First Aid , Antivenoms
Tropidolaemus wagleri  ( Wagler's Pit Viper )  [ Original photo copyright © Dr Anita Malhotra ]
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Tropidolaemus
Species: wagleri
Common Names
Wagler's Pit Viper , Temple Pit Viper , Speckled Pit Viper , Wagler's Palm Viper
Local Names
Ular Kapak Tokong , Ular Bakaw , Ular Krudu Daun , Ular Nanti Bulau , Djalimoo , Ular Engkerudu Daun , Ular Kapak , Babakusui , Timpahasan , Ular Beliong , Engkrudu
Southeast Asia
Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Taxonomy and Biology
Adult Length: 0.60 m
General Shape
Medium in length, moderately heavy, stout ( especially females ), laterally compressed bodied snake with a medium to moderately short prehensile tail. Females can grow to a maximum of about 1.35 metres. Head is large, triangular shaped, thick when viewed laterally and distinct from neck. Snout is obliquely truncate when viewed laterally, with a distinct canthus rostralis. Eyes are medium to moderately small in size, yellow with vertically elliptical pupils. Dorsal scales are usually weakly keeled in males and strongly keeled in females. Dorsal scale count ( 23 to 29 ) - ( 21 to 27 ) - ( 17 to 21 ) and usually 21 to 23 midbody dorsal scale rows in males and 23 to 27 midbody scale rows in females.
Elevations up to about 1200 metres but most abundant at elevations up to about 600 metres in lowland primary forest, secondary forest and jungle including coastal mangrove.
Arboreal and mainly crepuscular and nocturnal. Quite sluggish and docile during the day but a strong climber. Mild disposition, reluctant to bite and will only bite if provoked. Juveniles are more aggressive and often strike if disturbed.
Feeds mainly on lizards, rodents ( ground and tree ), frogs ( ground and tree ) and small birds, particularly chicks in tree nests.
Species Map
Small (Approx 20k) version
Average Venom Qty
65 to 90 mg ( dry weight ), Minton (1974) ( Ref : R000504 ).
General: Venom Neurotoxins
Probably not present
General: Venom Myotoxins
Probably not present
General: Venom Procoagulants
Mixture of procoagulants
General: Venom Anticoagulants
Possibly present
General: Venom Haemorrhagins
Probably present
General: Venom Nephrotoxins
General: Venom Cardiotoxins
Probably not present
General: Venom Necrotoxins
Possibly present
General: Venom Other
Clinical Effects
General: Dangerousness
Unknown, but potentially lethal envenoming, though unlikely, cannot be excluded.
General: Rate of Envenoming: 40-60%
General: Untreated Lethality Rate: Unknown but lethal potential cannot be excluded
General: Local Effects
Local pain, swelling, bruising & bleeding ± necrosis
General: Local Necrosis
Potentially may occur
General: General Systemic Effects
General systemic effects not documented
General: Neurotoxic Paralysis
Unlikely to occur
General: Myotoxicity
Not likely to occur
General: Coagulopathy & Haemorrhages
No reports of coagulopathy, though related species can cause bleeding problems
General: Renal Damage
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: Cardiotoxicity
Unlikely to occur
General: Other
Insufficient clinical reports to know
First Aid
Description: First aid for bites by Viperid snakes likely to cause significant local injury at the bite site (see listing in Comments section).
1. After ensuring the patient and onlookers have moved out of range of further strikes by the snake, the bitten person should be reassured and persuaded to lie down and remain still. Many will be terrified, fearing sudden death and, in this mood, they may behave irrationally or even hysterically. The basis for reassurance is the fact that many venomous bites do not result in envenoming, the relatively slow progression to severe envenoming (hours following elapid bites, days following viper bites) and the effectiveness of modern medical treatment.
2. The bite wound should not be tampered with in any way. Wiping it once with a damp cloth to remove surface venom is unlikely to do much harm (or good) but the wound must not be massaged.
3. All rings or other jewellery on the bitten limb, especially on fingers, should be removed, as they may act as tourniquets if oedema develops.
4. The bitten limb should be immobilised as effectively as possible using an extemporised splint or sling; if available, crepe bandaging of the splinted limb is an effective form of immobilisation.
5. If there is any impairment of vital functions, such as problems with respiration, airway, circulation, heart function, these must be supported as a priority. In particular, for bites causing flaccid paralysis, including respiratory paralysis, both airway and respiration may be impaired, requiring urgent and prolonged treatment, which may include the mouth to mask (mouth to mouth) technique of expired air transfer. Seek urgent medical attention.
6. Do not use Tourniquets, cut, suck or scarify the wound or apply chemicals or electric shock.
7. Avoid peroral intake, absolutely no alcohol. No sedatives outside hospital. If there will be considerable delay before reaching medical aid, measured in several hours to days, then give clear fluids by mouth to prevent dehydration.
8. If the offending snake has been killed it should be brought with the patient for identification (only relevant in areas where there are more than one naturally occurring venomous snake species), but be careful to avoid touching the head, as even a dead snake can envenom. No attempt should be made to pursue the snake into the undergrowth as this will risk further bites.
9. The snakebite victim should be transported as quickly and as passively as possible to the nearest place where they can be seen by a medically-trained person (health station, dispensary, clinic or hospital). The bitten limb must not be exercised as muscular contraction will promote systemic absorption of venom. If no motor vehicle or boat is available, the patient can be carried on a stretcher or hurdle, on the pillion or crossbar of a bicycle or on someone's back.
10. Most traditional, and many of the more recently fashionable, first aid measures are useless and potentially dangerous. These include local cauterization, incision, excision, amputation, suction by mouth, vacuum pump or syringe, combined incision and suction ("venom-ex" apparatus), injection or instillation of compounds such as potassium permanganate, phenol (carbolic soap) and trypsin, application of electric shocks or ice (cryotherapy), use of traditional herbal, folk and other remedies including the ingestion of emetic plant products and parts of the snake, multiple incisions, tattooing and so on.
Treatment Summary
Bites by these snakes are often minor, but may cause moderate to severe local effects, with shock, but generally not necrosis or coagulopathy. In the absence of specific antivenom, treatment is generally supportive & symptomatic.
Key Diagnostic Features
Local pain & swelling + general systemic symptoms
General Approach to Management
All cases should be treated as urgent & potentially lethal. Rapid assessment & commencement of treatment including appropriate antivenom (if indicated & available) is mandatory. Admit all cases.
Antivenom Therapy
Antivenom is the key treatment for systemic envenoming. Multiple doses may be required.
1. Antivenom Code: SAsTRC01
Antivenom Name: Green Pit Viper Antivenin
Manufacturer: Science Division, Thai Red Cross Society
Phone: ++66-2-252-0161 (up to 0164)
Address: Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute
1871 Rama IV Road
Bangkok 10330
Country: Thailand
Tropidolaemus wagleri ( Wagler's Pit Viper ) [ Original photo copyright © Dr Anita Malhotra ]
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Tropidolaemus wagleri ( Wagler's Pit Viper ) [ Original photo copyright © Dr Julian White ]
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Tropidolaemus wagleri ( Wagler's Pit Viper ) [ Original photo copyright ©
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