Bushmaster snake is king of the tropics

August 21, 2014, 1:21 p.m.
bushmaster

Photo: Andrew Snyder/MNN Flickr Group

Don't tread on me

This beautiful but lethal snake is one you don't want to get close to. There are three species of bushmaster; the one photographed here is Lachesis muta and is found in South America. This particular snake was spotted by the photographer during a night hike in the Kanuku Mountains. The bushmaster is a huge snake; adults average around 7-8 feet but some adults can grow as long as 10 feet. One specimen reached a whopping 12 feet in length! The tail of a bushmaster ends in a horny spine and it vibrates this as a warning when it is disturbed. Though the tail doesn’t rattle like the infamous rattlesnake, it does make quite a bit of rustling noise as it hits leaves in the undergrowth. A person should be glad for the warning because if one is bit, the venom can be fatal.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.