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The Levantine viper inhabits stony, semi-arid country, with sparse scrubby vegetation.
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Levantine Viper or Mountain Adder
Macrovipera lebetina, Macrovipera lebetina obtusa, Macrovipera lebetina turanica

Local Name: none (Urdu)
Genus: Macrovipera
Status: Rare and restricted
Warning: This snake is deadly poisonous. Risk to man high. A dangerous snake of major medical importance


Levantine Viper (Macrovipera lebetina obtusa)
Photo Credit:
D. Hegner



Species and sub species:

Genus Macrovipera is represented in Pakistan by one species and two subspecies:

  • Levantine Viper or Mountain Adder (Macrovipera lebetina)

  • Macrovipera lebetina obtusa

  • Macrovipera lebetina turanica

Description and Biology:
This is a large snake, up to 1.6 meters long; females larger than males. Has no horn, no shields; fangs very large. Scale pattern consists of rosettes with light centers; intensity of margination may merge into wavy band, lateral spots more distinct than dorsal patterns. Coloration is gray, gray-brown or yellowish with gray underside in females. Tail pinkish brown, tapers abruptly. 


General characteristics
Head short, wide; supraoculars divided; 10-11 supralabials separated from eye by two to three rows of small scales, 12-14 infralabials; dorsal keeled, in 23-25 rows at midbody; ventrals 168-176, subcaudals 42-49. Dorsum khaki to yellow brown, with minute spottings. A median row of 39 to 42 indistinct dark gray cross-bands. Ventrum buff, anteriorly whiter, clouded with gray. tail pinkish brown. Snout-vent length 1030-1040mm, tail 135-143 mm



Levantine Viper (Macrovipera lebetina obtusa
Photo Credit:
L. Trutnau


Normally placid during day, but quite alert and will strike quickly. Occasionally aggressive at night. Risk to man high. A dangerous snake of major medical importance.


Habitat, Distribution and Status:
This snake is found in dry, rocky, mountainous areas between 1,000 and 2,500 meters elevation. Terrestrial, but can be found in bushes. Inhabits stony, semi-arid country, with sparse scrubby vegetation. 


Extends from Caucasus to Lebanon, through southern Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In Pakistan, records are from Chitral, Waziristan, hilly tracts to Quetta.


Macroviperia lebetina (X)

Map Credit: Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan




  • A Guide to The Snakes of Pakistan, Muhammad Sharif Khan, Edition Chimaira Frankfurt am Main 2002

  • Venomous Snakes of the Middle East (Identification Guide), Defence Intelligence Document, U.S Defence Intelligence Agency 

  • Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan, Herpetological Lab Rabwah, Pakistan

  • Nausherwan Ahmed


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