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Chapter: Modern Medical Toxicology: Organic Poisons (Toxins): Venomous Bites and Stings

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Russell’s Viper - Poisons (Toxins)

Russell’s Viper - Poisons (Toxins)
Scientific Name: Vipera russelli, Daboia russelli.

Russell’s Viper

Scientific Name

Vipera russelli, Daboia russelli.

Geographical Distribution

All over India.

Physical Appearance

·              This is a brownish, stout snake, growing up to several feet in length (Fig 12.8).


·              The head is triangular, with a ‘V’ shaped mark (apex pointing forward), and is covered with small scales. Pupils are vertical.

·              Fangs are long, channelised, and hinged, being erected at the time of striking (Fig 12.9).


·              There are 3 rows of chained dark spots over the entire body.The Russell’s viper is known to hiss loudly when agitated. Like other vipers, it is viviparous.

·              Russell’s viper is a nocturnal snake, but unfortunately for humans, during the daytime it often rests up under bushes, at the base of trees, and in leaf litter. It is therefore frequently encountered by rural workers as they carry out general agricultural activities.

Nature of Venom

Predominantly vasculo- and haemotoxic, but is able to produce neurotoxic effects also. Acute renal failure and adrenal insuf-ficiency have also been associated with this snake.


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