pit viper

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.

pit viper,

poisonous snakesnake,
common name for an elongated, limbless reptile of the order Squamata, which also includes the xlizards. Most snakes live on the ground, but some are burrowers, arboreal, or aquatic; one group is exclusively marine. In temperate climates they hibernate.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of the family Crotalidae, primarily a New World family. Like the Old World true vipersviper,
any of a large number of heavy-bodied, poisonous snakes of the family Viperidae, characterized by erectile, hypodermic fangs. The fangs are folded back against the roof of the mouth except when the snake strikes. Vipers are distributed throughout Eurasia and Africa.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (family Viperidae), pit vipers have long, hollow, erectile fangs that are folded back against the roof of the mouth except when the snake is striking. In addition, the pit vipers have developed special organs of heat reception that help them to sense warm-blooded animals, an ability that is especially useful at night, when many of them hunt. These organs consist of pits, for which the group is named, located just behind the nostrils and covered with a temperature-sensitive membrane. Some pit vipers may also use these organs to find cool refuges from inhospitable daytime temperatures.

The largest group of pit vipers is the rattlesnakerattlesnake,
poisonous New World snake of the pit viper family, distinguished by a rattle at the end of the tail. The head is triangular, being widened at the base. The rattle is a series of dried, hollow segments of skin, which, when shaken, make a whirring sound.
..... Click the link for more information.
 genus Crotalus, found in North, Central, and N South America. Other New World forms are the fer-de-lancefer-de-lance
, highly poisonous snake, Bothrops atrox, found in tropical South America and the West Indies. A pit viper, related to the bushmaster and the rattlesnake, it has heat-sensitive organs on the head for detecting its warm-blooded prey.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (genus Bothrops) and the bushmasterbushmaster,
large venomous snake, Lachesis muta, of Central America and N South America. It is a member of the pit viper family, which also includes the rattlesnake. The largest New World snake, it reaches a length of 8 to 12 ft (2.5–5.5 m).
..... Click the link for more information.
 (genus Lachesis). The genus Ancistrodon includes the copperheadcopperhead,
poisonous snake, Ancistrodon contortrix, of the E United States. Like its close relative, the water moccasin, the copperhead is a member of the pit viper family and detects its warm-blooded prey by means of a heat-sensitive organ behind the nostril.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and water moccasinwater moccasin
or cottonmouth,
highly venomous snake, Ancistrodon piscivorus, of the swamps and bayous of the S United States. Like the closely related copperhead, it is a pit viper and has a heat-sensitive organ for detecting warm-blooded prey.
..... Click the link for more information.
, as well as about a dozen Asian species. Pit vipers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, family Crotalidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in periodicals archive ?
Based on the history, presentation, and initial findings, it was determined the MWD had been struck by a venomous pit viper.
If a victim is biten by the pit viper, they will bleed from every pore in their skin before dying.
The initial symptoms after a bite from a pit viper are usually pain and swelling around the bite, with physical signs of fang marks, hemorrhagic vesicles, and tenderness at the bite site.
Effects of green pit viper (Trimeresurus erythrurus and Trimeresurus popeorum) venoms on blood coagulation, platelets and the fibrinolytic enzyme systems: studies in vivo and in vitro.
Two published estimates of apparent annual survival for North American pit vipers based on robust estimators for timber rattlesnakes Crotalus horridus (Brown et al., 2007) and western rattlesnakes Crotalus viridis oreganos (Diller and Wallace, 2002) suggest high annual rates of survival (0.820-0.958) for adult terrestrial pit vipers.
COPPERHEAD FAMILY (AKA HIGHLAND MOCCASIN): a brown, copper or tan pit viper with darker brown, hourglass patterns on its back.
The only person he frequents outside of that circle is "the Kermeur boy," a saturnine youth with the ethics of a pit viper, who comes to serve as Louis's evil genius.
Curiously there is a species of rattlesnake, the Mojave Rattlesnake, a pit viper found in Arizona and parts of California, with a venom that contains a special toxin named Type-A Mojave Toxin.
Other amazing finds include a pink cyanide-producing dragon millipede and a green pit viper.
The venom of a Malaysian pit viper has a chemical in it that prevents blood from clotting.