Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Dinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles » Vipers and Pitvipers: Viperidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Vipers, Pitvipers, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Vipers and Pitvipers: Viperidae - Black-headed Bushmaster (lachesis Melanocephala): Species Accounts

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Physical characteristics: As its name says, the top of the black-headed bushmaster's head is black. The back of this large snake has black diamond-shaped blotches on a dark or light brown or yellowish background. Adults often reach 6.6 feet (2 meters) in length but can grow to 7.9 feet (2.4 meters).


Geographic range: They are found in Costa Rica, possibly reaching into Panama.


Habitat: This species lives in wet or moist forests in valleys and other low places.


Diet: The black-headed bushmaster apparently eats mainly mammals.


Behavior and reproduction: A land-living snake, the black-headed bushmaster remains still much of the time, waiting for animals to wander by. If it is hungry, it will strike out and bite the passing animal. When it is not hunting, it often stays in underground tunnels Black-headed bushmaster adults often reach 6.6 feet (2 meters) in length but can grow to 7.9 feet (2.4 meters). (Illustration by Dan Erickson. Reproduced by permission.) made by other animals. If threatened, it may shake its tail. This is an egg-laying species, and females lay up to sixteen eggs. Unlike many reptiles, the female remains with her eggs until they hatch.


Black-headed bushmasters and people: If they are left untreated, humans bitten by this snake may die.


Conservation status: This species is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books

Brazaitis, Peter, and Myrna E. Watanabe. Snakes of the World. New York: Crescent Books, 1992.

Campbell, Jonathan A., and Edmund D. Brodie Jr. Biology of the Pitvipers. Tyler, TX: Selva, 1992.

Campbell, Jonathan A., and William W. Lamar. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989.

Campbell, Jonathan A., and William W. Lamar. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003.

Ernst, Carl H. Venomous Reptiles of North America. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.

Gloyd, Howard K., and Roger Conant. "Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex: A Monographic Review." Contributions to Herpetology, Vol. 6. Oxford, OH: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1990.

Harding, James. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Holman, J. Alan, and James Harding. Michigan Snakes. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Extension, 1989.

Jena, I. Snakes of Medical Importance and Snake-bite Treatment. New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, 1985.

Lamar, W. The World's Most Spectacular Reptiles and Amphibians. Tampa, FL: World Publications, 1997.

Mallow, D., D. Ludwig, and G. Nilson. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Melbourne, FL: Krieger Publishing Company, 2003.

Nilson, G., and C. Andrén. "Evolution, Systematics and Biogeography of Palearctic Vipers." In Venomous Snakes: Ecology, Evolution and Snakebite, edited by R. S. Thorpe, W. Wüster, and A. Malhotra. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London. London: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Palmer, T. Landscape with Reptile: Rattlesnakes in an Urban World. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1992.

Schuett, Gordon W., Mats Höggren, Michael E. Douglas, and Harry W. Greene, eds. Biology of the Vipers. Eagle Mountain, UT: Eagle Mountain Publishing, 2002.

Spawls, S., and B. Branch. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Sanibel Island, FL: Ralph Curtis Books, 1995.

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