Common Lancehead (Bothrops atrox)
(aka Fer-de-lance)
Common Lancehead, Amazonas, Brazil, July 2001 - click for larger image Presidente Figueiredo, Amazonas, Brazil
July 2001

The Common Lancehead is probably the most feared poisonous snake in tropical South America.

Common Lancehead, Amazonas, Brazil, July 2001 - click for larger image In part this is because, although it is primarily a forest snake, it also invades agricultural land. It is aggressive and relies on its camouflage when hunting prey often lying in wait along paths such as is seen in these photos. This is a problem for birders who tend to look up far more often than they look down!
Its prey consists of small mammals, birds, lizards and smaller snakes. The warm blooded animals are detected by sensing their body heat by means of a pit organ which is situated between the snake's eye and nostril.

It can grow up to about 2 metres (6 feet) in length and comes in a variety of subdued colours such as grey, brown, green and olive. It gets its name from the pointed, triangular shape of its head like that of a lance.

There is some on-line information at the University of Michigan site.

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