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Wistar rats were administered increasing doses of Russell's viper venom (RVV; 0.025–0.4 mg/kg) intraperitoneally to investigate acute kidney injury (AKI) by measuring creatinine (1.5-fold increase in serum creatinine above baseline) and examining kidney histology. Approximately 50% of rats receiving 0.25–0.4 mg/kg venom died within 72 h. An increase in serum creatinine only occurred at a venom dose of 0.4 mg/kg, except in two rats. Acute tubular necrosis, glomerular necrosis, cortical necrosis and interstitial inflammation were observed at venom doses of ≥0.25 mg/kg in 12/36 rats. However, of those 12 rats only four survived to 48 h compared to the 24 rats not developing nephrotoxicity, in which 18 were alive at 48 h. There was poor correlation between histological nephrotoxicity and AKI based on creatinine measurement. The early death in rats with AKI makes this a poor model for studying RVV-induced AKI.Russell's viper venom (RVV) injected intraperitoneally causes renal damage in male Wistar rats.Rats that develop RVV-induced nephrotoxicity tend to die within 72 h.Serum creatinine is a poor biomarker in detecting RVV-induced AKI.Wistar rat is a poor animal model for studying biomarkers of RVV-induced AKI.