“Seen coiled around a branch in an undated picture, a new species of snake called the ruby-eyed green pit viper (Cryptelytrops rubeus) has been discovered in Southeast Asia, according to a recent study. The snake lives in forests near Ho Chi Minh City and across the low hills of southern Vietnam and eastern Cambodia‘s Langbian Plateau.”

“We know this species from only a few specimens, and very few people in the world have seen this snake,” said study co-author Anita Malhotra, a molecular ecologist at Bangor University in the U.K.

“A large frog proved to be more than a mouthful for a ruby-eyed green pit viper, which abandoned its meal just after this undated picture was taken. Whether the newfound snake was disturbed by the camera flash or simply bit off more than it could chew isn’t known.”

“It’s not known how well the snake might adapt to other habitats, so it’s not clear whether the ruby-eyed green pit viper should be considered an endangered species. But Malhotra and colleagues hope the snake doesn’t fall victim to status-seeking collectors of rare animals.

Rubies, as the snakes are called, “might be very vulnerable to that,” she said, “because it’s such a beautiful species.”

via National Geographic