This snake is native to Southeast Asia and sometimes referred to as the temple viper because of its abundance around the Temple of Azure Cloud in Malaysia. It is found in southern Thailand, west Malaysia, in Indonesia on Sumatra, the islands of the Riau Archipelago, Biliton, Nias, the Mentawai Islands, Natuna, Karimata, Borneo, Sulawesi and Buton and in the Philippines on the islands of Balabac, Basilan, Bohol, Dinagat, Jolo, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Negros, Palawan, Samar and Tumindao. They usually feed on rodents, birds and lizards. They are generally active by night and lays coiled high in the trees during the day. Mature female bears live young by ovoviviparity. Litters range from 6 to 50 hatchlings.
The snake has triangular-shaped head mounted on a body that normally trends towards the thin side. The female can grow to approximately 1m in total length however males typically do not exceed 75cm. There is a wide variation in their color and patterns, sometimes referred to as phases. Phases vary greatly from black or brown coloration as a base, with orange and yellow banding to others having a light green as the base color with yellow or orange banding and many other variations within them.