January 12, 2017
The Neotropical King of Serpents
- as seen by -Don Boyer
The bushmaster, Lachesis muta, is the largest venomous snake in the Western Hemisphere.
This gigantic pit viper has a fearsome reputation. The Latin name Lachesis is derived from the Greek goddess of fate who assigned the length of a person’s life. There is no doubt that bites inflicted by this species can be quite severe, but in terms of disposition, they are fairly calm. Bushmasters seem to be supremely confident in their ability to defend themselves.
Bushmasters are a good indicator species for pristine habitat as they prefer undisturbed tropical forest. Ambush hunters by night, they sit very still, but alert, waiting for prey to come within reach. These superb predators are equipped with heat-sensing pits in front of their eyes that provide infrared vision allowing them to detect the body heat of warm-blooded prey and accurately direct their strike.
To see one up close, we now have a beautiful young bushmaster (above) on exhibit at the World of Reptiles at the Bronx Zoo.
Nikon D5, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E Lens