In Costa Rica there are many species of snakes, and lots that particularly enjoy eating frogs. This means that whenever you are out looking for amphibians you must always be aware where you are putting your hands and feet. There are many things that can be extremely harmful in the rainforest at night, including large spiders, bullet ants, giant wasps, and of course venomous snakes.
The largest and most dangerous snake out here is called the Bushmaster, Lachesis stenophrys, which is the largest viper in the world (pictured above, photographed today). The largest specimen of one of these I have ever come across in the forest was at the CRARC a few years ago when I was out with Brian – it was huge, about 2.5 meters long. As far as I am aware, there are very few people who ever survive a bite from these awesome creatures. The other species of venomous snake that is extremely dangerous is called the Fer-de-lance, Bothrops asper, and it is responsible for the most amount of snake bites, and deaths from a snakebite, in all the Americas. I come across these often while in the forest looking for frogs, but this time I only saw one crossing the road at night.
On another night, while in the forest this time, I did find a beautiful adult Coral Snake, which is another snake to admire at a distance. Some of the other species we have come across on this trip include a few harmless snake species that feed primarily on small tree frogs and their eggs, including the yellow blunt-headed snake, Imantodes inornatus (Pictured, click on to enlarge)
These are amazing to watch, as they move their long, slender bodies gracefully through the branches. They have large eyes, with cat-like pupils. To watch a clip of the one we found please Click Here. The other arboreal snakes we have seen on this trip include the Golden Eyelash Viper that I showed in an earlier post, but today, on the way to San Jose we saw a favourite snake of mine being maintained in Turrialba. It was a rare relative of the eyelash viper, the Palm Pit Viper, Bothriechis lateralis, a species that occurs only in the highlands. This video I dedicate to Adam, who has being doing a fine job of looking after our collection back in Manchester while I have been away. Many thanks Adam.
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