Bushmaster (Lachesis muta muta) - The Largest Pit
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.
with the Tropical Rattlesnake, the Bushmaster ranges throughout
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
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
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
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