Description: Light brown body with three rows of dark brown or black splotches bordered with white or yellow extending its entire length.
Characteristics: This dangerous species is abundant over its entire range. It is responsible for more human fatalities than any other venomous snake. It is irritable. When threatened, it coils tightly, hisses, and strikes with such speed that its victim has little chance of escaping. Its hemotoxic venom is a powerful coagulant, damaging tissue and blood cells.
Habitat: Variable, from farmlands to dense rain forests. It is commonly found around human settlements.
Length: Average 1 meter (3 feet), maximum 1.5 meters (5 feet).
Distribution: Much of south and southeast Asia, particularly Sri Lanka, south China, India, Malaysian Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and surrounding islands (Figure E-40).
Figure E-40. Russell's Viper Habitat