Protobothrops maolanensis. Image courtesy Jian-Huan Yang, Sun Yat-Sen University.
A new species of pit viper discovered this year in China is also one of the smallest in this family of venomous snakes, according to a report in National Geographic. The snake, Protobothrops maolanensis, has a full adult size of around 2 1/2 feet and is grayish brown. It was first discovered at the Maolan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China by Jian-Huan Yang, a herpetologist at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China.
The snake is a forest floor dweller, staying at ground level like most snakes in the pit viper family, which includes copperheads, rattlesnakes, and the water moccasin. According to the report, local Miao people kill the snake because they believe not doing so will bring bad luck. They also told Yang that the snake's venom is very poisonous.