By Anders Nielsen, Ph.d.
There are two different myths about the bushmaster. One is that it hunts in pairs, and the other one is that they are attracted by campfires which, of course, is not true.
The bushmaster snake can be found in the tropical forests of South and Central America—from Southern parts of Nicaragua through Brazil and Bolivia. In Brazil the bushmaster is called jararacucu. It is a venomous snake and can cause death—but in most cases victims only experiences severe pain, vomiting, nausea, chills, etc.
However, all fatalities caused by the bushmaster snake may not have been accounted for. Some people bitten by this snake may never have been able to reach help before they succumbed to its venom.
The bushmaster snake is the largest among the pit-viper snakes. Typically, an adult bushmaster reaches a length of 6 feet (2 meters). Larger specimens can reach lengths of 10-12 feet, but that is uncommon.
It is a very sturdy and tough snake with a broad head and thick body. Its body coloration is made up of yellow, red, and brown coloring with a lot of irregularities and scales.
Bushmaster snakes are the longest viper species and one of the most venomous snakes in the world. They can be as long as 10-12 feet. In this video, you will see a person measuring a bushmaster that is about 9 feet long and weighs about 10 pounds.
Rats are among the preferred prey for bushmaster snakes. In this video, which was taken in a Serpentarium in Wilmington, NC, you will see how the bushmaster snakes are fed with two rats by visitors.
The bushmaster is not an aggressive snake1but it will defend both itself and its eggs if disturbed or threatened.
Diet and Life Cycle
The bushmaster snake is perhaps most efficient as a nocturnal predator. It feeds on a variety of other animals, such as rodents, frogs, invertebrates, and birds.
It lays eggs and takes its stand against intruders seeking to harm her eggs. Newly hatched juvenile snakes are approximately 8 inches long.
1Jorge et al. SNAKEBITE BY THE BUSHMASTER (LACHESlS MUTA) IN BRAZIL: CASE REPORT AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE,Toxicon Volume 35, Issue 4 (1997)
Read a West Indian note about the bushmaster snake
And don’t forget… bushmaster shock death
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