Identifying the Velvet Snake or Fer-De-Lance

Fer de Lance - Photo Matthew Kritzer

Fer de Lance – Photo Matthew Kritzer

Most people panic and kill anything that wriggles on the floor without knowing what specie they are eliminating.

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In Costa Rica, there are about 120 species of harmless snakes, among them the blind snakes, waterfowl, pythons, and boas. The velvet snake or fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper) is spread throughout Costa Rica being the main poisonous snake in Central America.

It earned his notorious bad fame for its aggressiveness and the large amount of venom that can be inoculated in a single bite.  It is terrestrial and can reach 7.2 ft. (2.2 meters) in length. This snake has a great ability to adapt to deforested areas. The ventrolateral part of its body is white or cream with dark marks, from the dorsal area to the head is dark brown. They can be visually identified by their distinct coloration pattern of triangles connecting on the back resembling the letter “A.” Its jaw is white or yellow.

Another distinctive feature –of a poisonous snake – is its triangular shaped head. They also have two sets of nasal pits. Two are the nostrils, which are used for breathing and the others are the loreal pits; these are located between the nostril and the eye; they are thermo reception organs, helping to detect preys emitting infrared radiation.

Posted in Environment & Wildlife, Reptiles & Amphibiens and tagged .