Dec 29, 2008

Poisonous Snakes of Mumbai

There are areas of Mumbai around Borivli, Goregaon, Malabar Hill, Pali hill, Worli, Sion, Andheri, and Malad where snakes can be found. Here is a list of poisonous snakes of Mumbai.

Naja Naja (Nag). Large snake that can grow upto 150 cm.

Callophis Melanurus. Small coral snake that can grow upto 34 cm.

Russel's Viper. Grows upto 160 cm. Its fangs are nearly 1 cm long and are capable of penetrating flesh. Only 15 mg of venom is enough to kill a grown man.

Echis Carinatus (Phoorsa). This is a small venomous viper that grows up to 40 cm. Its inconspicuous nature, the speed of its strike, and its readiness to bite at the smallest provocation makes it the most dangerous reptiles in Mumbai. The species produces 18 mg of venom and may inject as much as 12 mg per bite. Only 5 mg is a lethal dose. The snake is quite hardy and is out and about even during hot days.

Trimeresurus gramineus (Indian green tree viper). Small green snake grows to about 75 cm. It can be recognized by its triangular head and golden eye balls. It can be found within forest areas of Borivli.

Enhydrina Schistosa (sea snake). Ash colored snake with round body can be seen around Versova after high tides. The snake can not move on land. It is not aggressive and its fangs are located far behind in his mouth and therefore it can not grip to inject poison. However, its poison is 4-8 times as venomous as that of king Cobra. About 1.5 mg is considered to be lethal. These snakes are active during day as well as night.

Hydrophis mamillaries (sea snake). Buff colored sea snake. Its fangs are located far behind as well so it can not grip effectively to deliver venom. The venom is neurotoxin.

Polyvalent Antivenin produced by Haffkine Institute of Mumbai is the only remedy against the snake bites from these species. One note of caution. Haffkine Antivenin is not effective against venom of King Cobra or other snakes not listed above. So, be careful handling exotic species in Mumbai.