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Adults grow to an average length of 91-121 cm, with the largest specimen on record measuring 154.5 cm. The head has a pronounced soft "horn" on the snout, the length of which varies. It is because of this rostral appendage that the species is sometimes referred to as a "snorkel viper."
The color pattern consists of a grayish or reddish brown ground color overlaid with a series of brown or reddish brown lateral triangles with grey or beige centers. These join middorsally giving the appearance of alternating triangles of different colors. The head is dark brown on top and beige or pinkish on the sides.
Sharp-nosed viper, snorkel viper, hundred pacer, Chinese moccasin. Chinese copperhead, five-pacer, hundred-pace snake, long-nosed pit viper, sharp-nosed pit viper, hundred-pace pitviper.
Found in southern China (Chekiang, Fukien, Hunan, Hupeh, Kwantung), Taiwan, northern Vietnam and possibly Laos. The type locality was not included in the original description. It was later given as "Wusueh [Wu-hsueh], Hupeh Province, China" by Pratt (1892) and Pope (1935). Listed as "Mountains N. of Kiu Kiang" in the catalogue of the British Museum of Natural History.
This species is mostly active at night or in the evening and spends the day coiled in sheltering rock ledges, among fallen leaves or bracken, in hollow logs and other places where its color pattern keeps it camouflaged. When encountered it may appear sluggish at first, but it is capable of striking vigorously when threatened.
The diet consists of small mammals, birds and frogs.
As one of the few oviparous pit vipers, D. acutus can lay up to 24 eggs, which may be retained during initial incubation -- an adaptation that shortens post-deposition incubation time. Hatchlings are lighter and more vividly patterned than the adults, but this darkens considerably with age.
Dangerous animals often have exaggerated reputations and this species is no exception. The popular name "hundred pacer" refers to a local belief that, after being bitten, the victim will only be able to walk 100 paces before expiring. In areas where the snake is regarded as even more venomous, it has been called the "fifty pacer." Nevertheless, this species is considered dangerous and fatalities are not unusual. An antivenin is produced in Taiwan.
According to the US Armed Forces Pest Managent Board, the venom is a potent hemotoxin that is strongly hemorrhagic. Bite symptoms include severe local pain and bleeding that may begin almost immediately. This is followed by considerable swelling, blistering, necrosis and ulceration. Systemic symptoms, which often include heart palpitations, may occur suddenly and relatively soon after the bite.
In popular culture
The snake is also sold as a meal in some Taiwanese restaurants, served with the venom as a drink, pills floating in both the drink and in the snake. The pills are said to counteract the venom.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Deinagkistrodon". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|