Mangshan pit vipers

What are the differences between Mangshan pit vipers and Mambas?


The Mangshan pit viper and the Mamba are both venomous snakes that hunt and defend themselves using their deadly toxin. But, there are more differences in these impressive predators than there are similarities. So what are the differences between the Mangshan pit viper and the Mamba?

1. The Fangs

The Mamba has what are called “fixed fangs”. This means that their fangs sit firmly in their mouth in much the same way that our teeth do. Because they can’t be folded back or extended, the fangs have to remain small enough to fit comfortably inside the snakes closed mouth. The Mangshan pit viper on the other hand has longer fangs that are more hooked, this is because they’re retractable. When the pit viper has its mouth closed, the fangs fold back as if on a hinge, ready to come out when needed.

2. The Scales

The mamba has a series of flat scales that fit perfectly together to make a smooth, glossy, and uninterrupted surface on their bodies. The pit viper however, has what is called “keeled scales”. This means that each scale has a ridge in the center of it that, when fitted with the other scales of its kind, make a bumpy textured surface. It’s been said by some that it makes the skin almost dragon like to touch.

3. The Size

The mamba can reach an average length of about 8ft, with a max size of 14ft (though it’s rare). They’re considered sleek and aerodynamic. The pit viper only reaches a max size of about 7ft. Don’t let the smaller length of the viper fool you though. The Mangshan has a much bulkier body. Their weight averages about 9lbs while the mamba is more like 4lbs. This makes the viper a little sturdier and the mamba a bit faster.

4. Their Habitats.

The mamba hails from the African savannas and are use to rocky hills and open woodlands. Though they can be found in more moist and tropical areas, they much prefer a drier semi-arid environment. The Mangshan pit viper is only found in a specific place in China called the Mangshan mountains and its surrounding areas. They’re almost extinct and not often seen. They need the wet atmosphere and high elevations of their home mountain range to be comfortable.

5. Hunting Style

The mambas slim build and quickness play into its hunting style. It’s an active hunter that travels around its area looking for prey. Sometimes this involves having to chase something down. The pit viper is the opposite. Its large bulky body doesn’t make an ideal active hunter. Instead, it’s what’s called an ambush predator. It hides perfectly still in a hard to see place like leaf litter and waits for something to come by, then it strikes at lightening speed before the prey even knows what is happening.

The mamba and the Mangshan pit viper are both amazing in their own ways. Their differences, if anything, just shows how beautifully variable our world is. These impressive predators deserve our respect and our protection. If you want to show your support for one of these gorgeous creatures, then think about purchasing our snake keychain. It’s modeled after the Mangshan pit viper and features over 1000 individual scales to mimic the keeled scales of the real snake.


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