LoginLogin WebcamsCams GalleryGallery Gift ShopGift Shop SitemapSitemap Education CenterEducation Center ForumForum About Tigerhomes.orgAbout

Bushmaster (Lachesis muta muta) - The Largest Pit Viper

By: C.M.Shorter

Bushmaster Snake
Bushmaster Snake
Pictures of Bushmaster Snakes

The Bushmaster, lachesis muta muta is the largest Pit Viper in the world with a nasty reputation as a "cruel dude". The Bushmaster is a huge, thick-bodied and highly venomous snake with a triangularly shaped head, one of nature's warning signs that a snake is poisonous and potentially deadly. Bushmasters live in remote, heavily forested tropical jungle terrain. Isolated in their jungle environment, envenomation by a Bushmaster is very serious, sometimes fatal and particularly dangerous to humans. It is important to familiarize yourself with wilderness survival before entering Bushmaster territory because often snake bite victims are miles and miles away from any traditional medical help. The Bushmaster is the largest venomous snake in the New World, often reaching lengths in excess of 6 feet with a maximum recorded length reaching an amazing 14 feet! The Bushmaster has a prominent dorsal ridge and an upturned snout with well defined body scales, keeled and extremely rough. Identifying Bushmaster body color hues range from light brown to shades of pale pink with a series of dark brown or black blotches markings running the entire length of the body including the tail. CLICK HERE TO SEE ANIMAL WEBCAMS

The Bushmaster has earned this fierce reputation, known to aggressively attack man but only few human attacks have been recorded due primarily to the Bushmaster's nocturnal nature. Even if they do attack only occasionally, the Bushmaster is greatly feared by people indigenous to their jungle habitat. Appropriately named in English, the name Bushmaster when translated from Latin means "Brings Silent Death". One of the largest and most dangerous snakes in South America, the Bushmaster is capable of multiple bite strikes, injecting large amount of venom and even the bite of a juvenile Bushmaster can be fatal. In the case of envenomation, a polyvalent Crotalidae Antivenom is recommended and contains all the necessary fractions to neutralize the venoms of all Central and South American species of Lachesis.

The Bushmaster has extremely long fangs - not as long as those of the Gaboon Viper who has the elite distinction of having the longest fangs of any snake in the world (reaching over 2.5 inches), but still extremely dangerous. These long Folded Fangs function like hypodermic needles designed to penetrate deeply, grab and hold onto prey while the snake injects its victim with immobilizing venom. Snake venom delivered by the Bushmaster has powerful Hemotoxic properties affecting the circulatory system destroying red blood cells causing organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage which can be fatal if left untreated.

Sharing territory with the Tropical Rattlesnake, the Bushmaster ranges throughout the countries of Brazil, Costa Rica, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama, and Trinidad. The Bushmaster has the unique distinction among reptiles of having the infamous 158th Infantry Regiment, Arizona's First Volunteer Infantry later organized into the 45th Division after World War I, honor this snake by taking the name "Bushmasters" for their Regiment. Trained in jungle warfare in the Panama Canal Zone, this Infantry became so famous for their newly acquired jungle fighting skills the regiment adopted the name "Bushmasters". General MacArthur himself personally selected the Bushmasters Regiment to be sent under his command to Japan during World War II. It was this elite military Regiment that proceeded two days ahead of America's famous D-Day, to silence Japanese air warning stations.

Education is key to understanding both the beauty and potential danger of these poisonous snakes which are best observed and appreciated from a distance. Snakes, including poisonous snakes deserve our respect - vital to a healthy ecosystem, they are very beneficial to man. Nature has given snakes the assignment of rodent population control. Snakes being broad spectrum cold-blooded carnivores, tend to take up residence where there is an abundance of prey, particularly mice and rats. Snakes help us sustain a healthy balance of life in natural ecosystems by eating a variety of prey including small rodents, birds, frogs, large insects, lizards and often, even other snakes.

Common Name: Bushmaster
Scientific Name: Lachesis muta muta
Snake Family: Viperidae
Description: The Bushmaster is the largest Pit Viper in the world. This snake has a triangular shaped head with rough scales. Long and heavy-bodied in shades of brown to pale pink with dark brown or black blotch marking running the length of their bodies.
Characteristics: Caution! Known to aggressively attack, particularly when agitated or startled.
Reproduction: Oviparous (egg bearing) with 4-12 young hatched in the Spring.
Length: 2 - 3.7 meters (Approx. 3 -12 ft)
Habitat Distribution: Tropical forested areas throughout Central and South America including the countries of Brazil, Costa Rica, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama, and Trinidad

As always, we hope you enjoyed this article featured as part of TigerHomes Sanctuary's continuing Educational Series. We also hope you will take this opportunity to visit our world renowned Animal Cams. You are invited to take your own snapshots and enter your pictures into our Viewer Gallery Contest for a chance to win monthly prizes! The SANCTUARY is a permanent home to Rare White Tigers, Golden Tigers, Bengal Tigers, Siberian Tigers, African Lions and Lemurs. Our residents are quite the characters and simply amazing to watch in their natural habitats. It is our Mission to preserve and protect these Endangered Species. You can help save Endangered Species right now by visiting our Gift Shop. Become a proud Sponsor! Please help us by sponsoring the animals & our work. TigerHomes Sanctuary welcomes and needs your support!

See also:
How to Avoid Snake Bites
| Poisonous Snake Bites Effects | Snake Venom | Snake Fangs
Other Snakes:
Diamondback Rattlesnake
| King Cobra | Spitting Cobra | Kingsnakes & Milk Snakes
Copyright © 1999-2006 Tigerhomes.org | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact Us