Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus (Gray, 1832)

Species:C. purpureomaculatus
Common Names:Mangrove Pit Viper, Shore Pit Viper

Systematics & Taxonomy

Formerly known as Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus.


The Mangrove Pit-viper has a slender body in males and a stouter one in females, Like all vipers, it has a broadly triangular head which is very distinct from the neck. The colours on the dorsal part of the body are variable and could be olive, grey or brownish-purple. The ventral part is cream-green or brown, with a row of white strip along each side. Juveniles have dark brown rectangular bars along the back. This snake grows to a total length of 1 m.

Read more about the Squamata order.
Read more about the Viperidae family.


Myanmar, Peninsular and central Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and western Sumatra.


Lim Chu Kang, Pasir Ris Park, Pulau Semakau, Pulau Ubin, Sentosa, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

General Biology

This is an arboreal snake that inhabits mangroves and coastal forests. During the day, it is usually found coiled among the vegetation. It is active at night.

It can be aggressive. When provoked, it would shake its tail vigorously against the vegetation, creating a rattling sound, but it has been known to strike quickly as well.

This is a venomous snake and the venom targets the blood vessels and blood cells.


It feed on lizards, small bird and mammals.

Life Cycle

Ovoviviparous; each clutch comprises up to 15 neonates.

Other Resources

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Trimeresurus&species=purpureomaculatus. (Accessed October 2012).


Baker, N. & K.K.P. Lim, 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

Cox, M. J., P.P. Van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata & K. Thirakhupt, 2010. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. 144 pp.

Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 376 pp.

Lim, K.K.P. & F.L.K. Lim, 2002. A Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.

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