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Temple Pit Viper or Wagleri's Pit Viper

Tropidolaemus wagleri

Description:

Tropidolaemus wagleri is a venomous Pit Viper species native to South East Asia, however, it is a non-agressive snake They are also referred to Temple Pit Viper because of their presence in a Taoist Temple in Penang, Malaysia. This species is sexually dimorphic: the females grow to approximately 1 m (39⅜ inches) in total length, while males typically do not exceed 75 cm (29½ inches). They have a large triangular-shaped head, with a relatively thin body. They are almost entirely arboreal, and the tail is prehensile to aid in climbing. They are found in a wide variety of colors and patterns, often referred to as "phases". In the past, some researchers classified the different phases as subspecies. The phases vary greatly from having a black or brown coloration as a base, with orange and yellow banding to others having a light green as the base color, with yellow or orange banding, and many variations therein.

Habitat:

Tropical forest but this few Pit Vipers lives in a Taoist Temple in Penang. They are not in cages and are free to roam around the Temple premises.

Notes:

According to the story behind this Snake Temple, the Taoist Temple was built in 1873 and after the Temple was completed, the Pit Vipers were found to take refuge in the Temple. Being typical Pit Vipers, they do not moves around much and usually hang around the same branch for days. The Temple caretakers took this presence of the Pit Vipers as good omen and let them be. The number of Pit Vipers varies throughout the years as they come and go but the legend has it that more Pit Vipers will appears in the Temple during its Anniversary period. In present days, it is suspected that the Temple Caretakers collects the Pit Vipers from the wild and keep them in the Temple although they are free to move around and leave. Currently, the Temple has a breeding program behind the Temple, so they probably 'replenishes' the Pit Vipers in the Temple from their breeding. On the day I visited the Temple, there were more than 30 Pit Vipers in the Prayer Halls of the Temple.

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AlbertKang
Spotted by
AlbertKang

Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Spotted on Jan 9, 2015
Submitted on Jan 9, 2015

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