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Lashings of eyelashes

eyelash viper

Golden Eyelash Viper, Bothriechis schlegelii, Costa Rica (c) Andrew Gray

Before leaving the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica I was joined by my good friend George Madani, who was particularly interested in looking to see the Golden eyelash vipers this area is so well known for.  Even here these beautiful snakes can be very hard to come across – but this particular day we were lucky enough to find 5 in 5 hours!

It’s always a very special moment when you actually see one of these snakes,  as they come in a wide variety of colours and although you might think a bright yellow-orange snake would be very easy to spot, some can be inconspicuous and very well camouflaged. The yellow-orange form is stunning (pictured above is the more common solid yellow form), but these snakes can be green and orange, lichen coloured, or can even match the grey of the tree branch on which they’re sitting.


Florentino Grenald, Manzanillo, Costa Rica (telephone: 888412732)

Eyelash vipers are totally arboreal and normally sit motionless on vegetation and on branches, waiting for unsuspecting prey. Adults can strike so fast they can literally snatch a hummingbird mid flight. They have a pair of sensitive heat-sensing pits which help them detect prey that is warm-blooded  – and excellent vision to help them catch prey that isn’t. Here is a specimen that was less easy to spot, and that was pointed out by our excellent local guide Florentino Grenald. If you go down to Manzanillo, be sure to ask for Florentino’s services. He is a really good guy, one of the best local guides in Costa Rica, and will ensure you see absolutely loads of cool things of  interest.


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