Russell Viper in Bangladesh

Russell Viper in Bangladesh

Understanding One of the Deadliest Snakes

Introduction of Russell Viper in Bangladesh

Russell Viper in Bangladesh (Daboia russelii) is a highly venomous snake found across Asia, including Bangladesh. Known locally as “Chandrabora,” this snake is notorious for its potent venom and the significant number of fatalities it causes each year. In this article, we delve into various aspects of the Russell Viper in Bangladesh, including its habitat, bite effects, antivenom treatment, and more.

Habitat and Distribution

The Russell’s viper thrives in a variety of habitats, making it one of the most widely distributed snakes in Bangladesh. It prefers open, grassy areas but can also be found in scrub forests, agricultural fields, and even in suburban areas. This adaptability to different environments increases the likelihood of human encounters, which often lead to dangerous situations.

Physical Description

Russell Viper in Bangladesh is easily recognizable by its distinct appearance. It has a robust, stout body with a length that typically ranges from 1 to 1.5 meters. Its coloration includes a light brown or tan background with dark brown or black oval spots arranged in a series of rows down its back. These spots are often edged in white or yellow, providing a striking contrast. The head is triangular and broader than the neck, with a pair of prominent heat-sensing pits located between the eyes and nostrils.

Venom and Its Effects

The venom of the Russell’s viper is hemotoxic, meaning it primarily affects the blood and tissues. It contains a complex mixture of enzymes and proteins that cause extensive tissue damage, disrupt blood clotting, and can lead to internal bleeding. The primary effects of a bite include:

  1. Local Symptoms: Immediate pain, swelling, and bruising at the site of the bite. In severe cases, necrosis (death of tissue) can occur.
  2. Systemic Symptoms: Hemorrhaging, decreased blood pressure, and organ failure. The venom can cause significant damage to the kidneys, leading to acute renal failure, which is often fatal if not treated promptly.
  3. Neurological Symptoms: Though primarily hemotoxic, the venom can also exhibit neurotoxic effects, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, and even paralysis in severe cases.

Bite Incidents and Mortality

Russell Viper in Bangladesh is responsible for a significant number of snakebite incidents and fatalities each year. The time it takes for a bite to become fatal can vary, but without prompt medical treatment, death can occur within hours due to complications such as hemorrhagic shock or kidney failure. Rapid administration of antivenom is crucial to counteract the venom’s effects and improve the chances of survival.

Treatment and Antivenom

The primary treatment for a Russell’s viper bite is the administration of specific antivenom. In Bangladesh, antivenom is available in various hospitals and clinics, though availability and accessibility can sometimes be challenging, particularly in rural areas. The price of antivenom can range from $50 to $150 per vial, but government hospitals often provide it for free or at a subsidized rate.

The treatment process includes:

  1. First Aid: Immobilizing the affected limb and keeping the patient calm to slow the spread of venom.
  2. Medical Treatment: Administering antivenom intravenously as soon as possible. The dosage depends on the severity of the envenomation.
  3. Supportive Care: Monitoring and managing symptoms such as blood clotting disorders, kidney function, and pain management. In severe cases, dialysis may be necessary to support kidney function.
Russell Viper in Bangladesh

Conservation and Legal Protection

The Russell’s viper, like many other wildlife species in Bangladesh, is protected under national wildlife conservation laws. This protection is crucial for maintaining ecological balance, as the Russell’s viper plays a significant role in controlling rodent populations. Illegal trafficking and killing of these snakes can disrupt this balance and are punishable by law.

Public Awareness and Education

Public awareness and education are vital in reducing the number of snakebite incidents. Efforts include:

  1. Educational Campaigns: Informing the public about the habitats and behaviors of the Russell’s viper to avoid accidental encounters.
  2. Training for Healthcare Workers: Ensuring that medical professionals in rural and urban areas are trained to handle snakebite emergencies effectively.
  3. Community Engagement: Encouraging communities to report sightings of Russell’s vipers and take preventive measures, such as clearing vegetation around homes and wearing protective clothing when working in fields.


The Russell’s viper in Bangladesh is a significant public health concern due to its highly venomous nature and the number of fatalities it causes. Understanding its habitat, recognizing the symptoms of a bite, and knowing the importance of prompt medical treatment can save lives. Conservation efforts and public education are also crucial in mitigating the risks associated with this deadly snake. By raising awareness and ensuring access to medical care, the impact of Russell’s viper bites can be significantly reduced, making communities safer while preserving an essential species in the ecosystem.

Russell Viper in Bangladesh