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Temple Viper

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Is the Temple Viper right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Speckled Pit Viper; Wagler’s Palm Viper, Wagler’s Pit Viper; Temple Pit Viper; Bamboo Snake

Scientific name: Tropidolaemus wagleri

The basics:
Beautiful coloration and small size have rendered this arboreal beauty popular in some private snake-keeping circles. However, it is not, as sometimes asserted, “only mildly venomous”, and should be enjoyed in zoos only.

The Temple Viper ranges from southern Thailand through Malaysia to Indonesia, with a possible isolated population in southern Vietnam.

Nocturnal and highly arboreal, it is found in trees and vine tangles within lowland rainforests, marshes, and coastal mangrove swamps.

Appearance / health:
The ground color varies greatly, and may be black or various shades of brown and green, and marked with yellow and/or orange banding. Adults reach 75 –100 cm (30-39 in) in length.

Zoo specimens are somewhat sensitive and stress-prone, and have reached age 10+. Temple Vipers do not thrive in arid environments, but if kept overly-damp are subject to skin and respiratory ailments.

Behavior / temperament:
Temple Vipers remain motionless most of the time, but have the typical lightening reflexes and long strike range of arboreal snakes. They remain high-strung and resentful of disturbances in captivity.

Housing
It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.

Diet:
The wild diet includes small rodents, bats, birds and lizards. Zoo animals are fed small mice.

Breeding:
Female Temple Vipers produce 15-41 live young at irregular intervals throughout the year.

Written by Frank Indiviglio