The dangerously venomous Trimeresurus stejnegeri is one of a group of morphologically similar green and arboreal Asian pitviper species known as "green pitvipers" (these species are sometimes segregated into a genus Viridovipera, e.g., V. stejnegeri; Malhotra and Thorpe 2004a,b,2005, Guo et al. 2009).Most green pitviper species share a common color pattern consisting of a uniform green coloration with a white lateral line on the first dorsal scale row, often also with red lateral lines and postocular stripes (Guo et al. 2009). Green pitvipers are among the most common venomous snakes in Asia and in many Asian countries account for a large fraction of snakebites, but working out the systematics and taxonomy of this group has been challenging. Malhotra and Thorpe (2004b) discuss these challenges in their analysis of the T. stejnegeri complex, as do Guo et al. (2009) in their review of Viridovipera.
Trimeresurus stejnegeri is known from China (central and southeastern), Taiwan, Vietnam, and possibly northeast Thailand. All reported records of this species from Myanmar apparently refer actually to T. yunnanensis. (Leviton et al. 2003) . Trimeresurus stejnegeri is nocturnal and has been reported to be very common around fast-flowing streams at elevations from 500-900 m. (Leviton et al. 2003 and references therein)
Guo and Zhao (2006) undertook an analysis of skull morphology of nine Asian pit vipers, including Viridovipera stejnegeri.
Leviton et al. (2003)provide a technical description of Trimeresurus stejnegeri: Scales in 21 longitudinal rows at midbody; 9-11 upper labials, first upper labials separated from nasals by a distinct suture; a single narrow supraocular, sometimes divided by transverse suture; 11-16 scales in a line between supraoculars; above bright to dark green, below pale green to whitish, the two separated by a bright bicolored orange or brown (below) and white (above) (males) or bicolored or white only (females) ventrolateral stripe, which occupies the whole of the outermost scale row and a portion ofthe second row; ventrals 150-174, subcaudals 54-77 (with a geographic component to variation?), all paired; hemipenes short, spinose beyond bifurcation. Total length: 750 mm; tail length: 145 mm.
Common names for this pit viper include Stejneger's pit viper, Chinese pit viper, Chinese green tree viper, bamboo viper, Chinese bamboo pitviper, green bamboo viper, and Chinese tree viper. For other common, non-scientific names, see § Common names below.
Trimeresurus stejnegeri grows to a maximum total length of 75 centimetres (30 in), which includes a tail length of 14.5 centimetres (5.7 in). The males have hemipenes that are short and spinose beyond the bifurcation.
The dorsal scales are arranged in 21 longitudinal rows at midbody. There are 9–11 upper labials, of which the first are separated from nasal scales by a distinct suture. The supraoculars are single, narrow, and sometimes divided by a transverse suture. There are 11–16 scales in a line between the supraoculars. The ventrals number 150–174, and the subcaudals are 54–77. All of the subcaudals are paired.
The color pattern is bright to dark green above, pale green to whitish below, the two separated by a bright bicolored orange or brown (below) and white (above) (males) or bicolored or white only (females) ventrolateral stripe, which occupies the whole of the outermost scale row and a portion of the second row.
Bamboo vipers are carnivores: they eat small rodents, birds, frogs, and lizards.
Common names for T. stejnegeri include bamboo viper, Chinese tree viper, bamboo snake, Chinese green tree viper, Chinese bamboo viper, Stejneger's pit viper, Stejneger's palm viper, red tail snake, Stejneger's bamboo pitviper,
Trimeresurus stejnegeri is found in Northeast India) and Nepal through Myanmar and Laos to much of southern China (Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Fujian, Anhui, Zhejiang), Vietnam, and Taiwan. The type locality was originally listed as "Shaowu, Fukien Province, China", and later emended to "N.W. Fukien Province" by Pope & Pope (1933) (Fukien being the former romanization of Fujian).
Trimeresurus stejnegeri has a potent hemotoxin. The wound usually feels extremely painful, as if it had been branded with a hot iron, and the pain does not subside until about 24 hours after being bitten. Within a few minutes of being bitten, the surrounding flesh dies and turns black, highlighting the puncture wounds. The wound site quickly swells, and the skin and muscle become black due to necrosis. The size of the necrotic area depends on the amount of venom injected and the depth of the bite.
Common names for this pit viper include Stejneger's pit viper, Chinese pit viper, Chinese green tree viper, bamboo viper, Chinese bamboo pitviper, green bamboo viper, and Chinese tree viper. For other common, non-scientific names, see below.