It was a Friday evening and I was relaxing in front of the TV when all of a sudden, a neighbour burst in, telling me his dad caught a Russell's Viper. My eyes opened wide. Something I'd been wanting to see for quite a while. I got my camera and in a hurry left to his house with him. On the way, I recalled that a few years ago, I had been in a similar situation, when my grandad told me another neighbour had caught one of these snakes. But it had turned out to be a Checkered Keelback. However, this time, it was a real Russell's Viper!
My fingers went over the shutter button a number of times. Finally, I was staring at a wild Russell's Viper, a highly venomous snake (one of the 4 most dangerous snakes in India) that I'd been wanting to spot and photograph for years. It was rather long, about a metre in length. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), this snake was almost dead as my neighbour had whacked it several times with a metal pole. Well, it's not surprising, as the people here kill almost any snake they see, like I said in the Spectacled Cobra post.
Here's a close-up of it's V-shaped head and big nostrils.
This snake is known to kill more people than any other snake in India- hence being one of the most feared. The other 3 most dangerous snakes of India are the Spectacled Cobra, Common Krait and Saw-Scaled Viper. These are commonly known as the Big 4. Russell's Vipers are especially dangerous as they prefer to reside in human habitation and settlements, to forests. Its venom is haemotoxic, which prevents blood clotting and results in internal bleeding. A bite from this snake could prove fatal unless treated properly and in time. It is a really beautiful snake, but at the same time, a very dangerous one.
By the time I was done with my shots, it was completely dead. I carried it by hand to a spot where I dug a big ditch and buried it. Rest in Peace, the only Russell's Viper I've ever seen.
CAUTION: Snakes like these are, like I've already said a couple of times, highly venomous and dangerous. I handled this one only after making sure it was dead. Please NEVER attempt to handle, provoke or go near such snakes. Always keep a a good distance when photographing them. And remember, respect them, and they'll respect you.