Lifescapes Gallery

27 / Jul / 2010
The Weatherman of Coorg
Malabar Pit Viper, Coorg Photograph: Vijay Rao Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Weatherman of Coorg

Most of us have grown up to develop a very healthy dose of cynicism about most things in life. While the promises and peccadilloes of our politicians is at one end, the bumbling fallibilities of our weather forecasters is at the other, and rarely fails to bring a smile that both mocks and forgives in the same breath. Rare is the weatherman whose predictions are in the same pin code as the actual weather, and chances are that if they predicted a clear day, we’d set out armed with umbrellas. Just in case! The expert weatherman of Coorg, however, has it down to a fine art; an exactitude in measuring temperature that would be comforting, if it weren’t so fraught with danger. Meet the Malabar Pit Viper, a common resident of Coorg, and an uncommonly accurate assessor of ambient temperatures. This viper gets his name from the ‘pits’ or holes near his snout which are highly evolved heat sensors that help in identifying warm blooded prey even in absolute darkness. Sensitive to infrared radiation, these pits can sense even a minute 0.2 degree centigrade variation of temperature, which helps him to not just find prey, but also judge the size of his meal portion to a nicety. The accuracy of his radar also helps decode the heat sensitivity of the ambient colors to choose the right camouflage. After all, when you dress for dinner, it wouldn’t do to stand out like a sore thumb. Normal service includes servings of rodents, frogs and smaller snakes, but the camouflage helps the Pit Viper to also avoid becoming someone else’s dinner…Monitor Lizards, King Cobras, Goshawks and Kites for instance. Just as with us humans, perhaps not everyone in the animal world looks upon the weatherman with a benevolent eye.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 6:00 pm and is filed under Reptiles . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
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  4. Tarun Jacob says:

    Seen a few “Russels Viper” and heard of the “Saw scaled Viper” but never knew there was a Malabar Pit Viper.Thanks!

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  12. Dev says:

    This snake looks very dangerous. Nice picture

  13. Dr. Jayesh Mehta says:

    That’s ferocious. Wow, what a pic!

  14. Rudra says:

    This viper looks very dangerous snake Just think if it’s on green leaves we can’t see it properly………………………………………..

  15. 泳鏡 says:

    woot, thank you! I’ve finally came across a website where the owner knows what they’re talking about. You know how many results are in Google when I check.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with tons of owners just copying eachother’s articles… ugh. Anyway, thankyou for the information anyway, much appreciated.

  16. Swetha Sunder says:

    beautiful !

  17. Atindra C Mohan says:

    Awesome!! Its a great feeling when someone takes a picture like this, the kind of effort and time one needs to put in is generally never talked about. Cheers to you for showing us such great pictures.

  18. Sameer says:


  19. sakina khozema says:

    beautfy lies in the heart of nature

  20. rahul says:

    I wish I could take such great shots.

  21. Vidya nadkarni says:

    Kudos Juttoo,(vijay)– impeccable picture!! and to Rajesh for crafting your thoughts so well, as always.

  22. Dr. Satish Sharma says:

    Excellent Image. And a wonderfully evocative commentary. Look forward to reading these masterpieces every time.

  23. Dilan Mandanna says:

    Wow! great work Vijay.. excellent shot.

  24. Sonia Dinkar says:

    Fabulous Pic..!…Amazing photography….!…
    Hats off to the hard work behind the photo!…

  25. GANESH HR says:

    Dear Vijay Rao sir, Namaskara! What a beautiful shot this is! I can’t believe my eyes. In short … a heavenly photo sir. I have never seen a Malabar pit viper in my life. Thank you so much for showing us this beautiful Viper through Lifescapes. Great work with the camera sir. keep up the good work.

    Thanks & Regards
    Ganesh HR
    Naturalist, Orange county, Coorg

  26. Lakshmi Srinivasan says:

    Hey, This is an amazing shot…
    Hats off to you Mr.Rao!!

  27. Ravi says:


  28. Rajesh Rajoo says:

    Err, I’ve just found out from one of the comments to this post that the copy person who writes all these wonderful copy (sic) is R. Rajesh. And I happen to share the same name. And I’m a copy guy too. Heck! Is this why you’ve never taken my mails praising the copy seriously? Gosh! I am not him. So please, please congratulate him for me. His copy is the only reason I open each mail from Orange County without fail.

  29. kn mohankumar says:

    At lifescapes we do see brilliant pictures. But what is missing are the details of the equipment and the photospecs, like…
    what camera and lens used???
    at what focal lenth, what shutter & aperture???
    these details will add to the beauty of the pics.

  30. Asha says:

    You did it again! Kudos to you Sirji!! And to the photographer too….The picture is brilliant!

  31. Nisha says:

    Beautiful! Great picture..

  32. devanand says:

    Hissss Highness R. Rajesh, the czar of copy does it again: makes us laugh a lot while enriching our brain cells. The photograph is simply awesome, too.

  33. Ashish C says:

    Always wanted to see this beautiful creature having handled and photographed its green (bamboo) cousen! Excellent photo that brings the creature live. Well done OC for this inetative.

  34. Dr Sameer R. Rao says:

    Beautiful !!!

  35. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Well I can make accurate predictions too…especially for wednesday weather…it’ll be cool and breezy and very pleasant every alternate wednesday, because that’s when Lifescapes is delivered on my desktop. Once again an outstanding photo coupled with a casually intelligent narrative style that is growing on me. Thanx guys!

  36. Kannan .K.V. says:

    Superb picture

    Superb picture!!! Must certainly be the result of patient and painstaking work.Keep it up Orange County and Vijay.

  37. Sanjay Ojha says:

    Its amazing photgraph! Through your lens, you have shown the world how beautiful a snake could be which is otherwise considered as a deadly reptile and often they become victim of intolerant human being. I am sure picutes like this will force us to engage more in admiring their beauty.

    Hats off!

    • Vijay Rao says:

      Thank you for your wonderful comments, people … It truly inspires!! Glad that you guys enjoyed the picture as much I had clicking it… Glad also for the fact of the existence of such a forum, where such lesser known species are showcased to us. Bravo, Orange County… Keep it up.


    What a amazing snake she is a absolute beauty . Mr.Vijay Rao continue the amasing Photography work and these pictures u post and when i see it makes my day much better !!!!!!!!!!!! Cheers to you and your efforts .

  39. Maithreyi K Mulki says:

    Dadis… awesome picture man.. The colours in this photograph are so vivid and beautiful.. keep up the great work.

  40. jagadish .b. machimanda says:

    Mr Vijay I saw picture in u r nature watch sight it was very good and snake about Malabar pit viper picture is very impressed.

  41. Sarath Champati says:

    Great picture of this beautiful snake! I am delighted to see the ‘small’ things of Nature being highlighted in Lifescapes!

  42. Ramapathi Rao says:

    Great photograph…. Continue the good work of sharing the natures’s creation…

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