tropidolaemus subannulatus

The Temple Viper - Trimesurus subannulatus (now Tropidolaemus walgeri)

The Temple Viper is so-called because of its abundance within the Temple of the Azure Cloud (aka “Snake Temple”), in Malaysia. Once thought to have numerous sub-species or to be different species altogether, there are numerous color and size variations of this snake, but genetic sequencing shows them to be a single species. 

This is a venomous snake, and a member of the arboreal Asiatic pit vipers (part of the subfamily Crotalinae). Like all pit vipers, they are able to sense body heat, and are ambush predators

While many of the snakes at the Snake Temple have been de-venomed (a less-harmful but still-invasive tactic than de-fanging a snake) to render them “safe”, there is a native population of temple vipers in the surrounding areas, and individuals from that population have come into the temple of their own accord, with venom fully intact. These native snakes (or skipped-over temple snakes) have been known to envenomate pilgrims to the temple on occasion.

Interestingly, as the Walgerins (venom proteins unique to this species) are so specialized to mouse neuroreceptors, they have a somewhat lessened effect upon humans - not that it’s recommended you play with these snakes. They’re still deadly, but the peptides within their venom are much more potent by volume against rodents than other animals.

Seriously though, don’t play with venomous snakes. They don’t want to be your friend.

Contributions to the Natural History of Labuan, and the adjacent Coasts of Borneo. James Motley and Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn, 1855.