Do you have a taste for adventure? Are you intrigued by the wonders of the animal kingdom? Then let me introduce you to the mesmerizing Eyelash Viper, a snake like no other. With its striking appearance and fascinating behaviors, this venomous pit viper is a true marvel of nature. Join me as we explore the captivating world of the Eyelash Viper!
- Order: Squamata
- Sub-Order: Serpentes
- Family: Viperidae
- Sub-Family: Crotalinae
- Animal Type: Venomous Pit Viper
- Venom Delivery: Solenoglyphous
- Venom Type: Hemotoxic
- Primary Diet: Carnivorous; Rodents, Frogs, Lizards, Birds
- Average Size: 56 to 81 centimeters (22-32 in)
- Size at Birth: 15-18 cm (6-7 in)
- Altitude Range: 0-2640 meters
Range / Habitat
The Eyelash Viper, scientifically known as Bothriechis schlegelii, can be found in the lush tropical areas of Central America. These arboreal pit vipers are particularly fond of low altitude, humid regions with dense vegetation, often near a water source. From southern Mexico to Ecuador and Peru, these beautiful creatures have made the tropical forests their home.
Morphology and Coloration
The Eyelash Viper is a small pit viper with a triangular-shaped head. Its rough and keeled scales help protect it against the rough foliage of its habitat. But what truly sets it apart is the modified scales above its eyes, which resemble long eyelashes, earning it the name “Eyelash Viper”. These eyelash-like scales serve as a clever camouflage, allowing the viper to blend seamlessly into its surroundings.
Another remarkable feature of the Eyelash Viper is its prehensile tail, which it uses to navigate with utmost precision. This adaptability comes in handy in its arboreal habitat, where it spends most of its time.
The Bothriechis schlegelii species possesses unique sensory structures. It has highly sensitive infrared detecting organs that provide the viper with a thermal rangefinder. With this remarkable ability, it can swiftly detect both the distance and direction of its prey, even in the absence of sight and smell.
Coloration is another fascinating aspect of the Eyelash Viper. It varies greatly depending on their geographical location. These vipers can display a range of colors, from solid hues to intricate patterns in shades of pink, yellow, green, and brown.
The Eyelash Viper is often found perched in trees or shrubs near water, patiently waiting for an unsuspecting meal to pass by. As an ambush predator, it strikes swiftly and accurately when the opportunity arises. Interestingly, juvenile vipers employ a unique tactic called caudal luring, where they wiggle their tail to attract potential prey.
While the Eyelash Viper is not usually aggressive, it will not hesitate to strike if it feels threatened. So, it’s best to admire these incredible creatures from a safe distance.
Predatory threats to the Eyelash Viper include larger mammals, bigger snakes, and even some fish. Despite this, the viper’s venomous nature serves as a formidable defense against potential predators.
The Eyelash Viper follows an ovoviviparous reproductive strategy. This means that the eggs remain inside the female until the juveniles are fully developed. Sometimes the young may exit the mother’s body either shortly before or shortly after hatching from their membranous eggs. On average, the Eyelash Viper produces a clutch of six to twelve eggs, with some exceptional cases reaching up to twenty.
During mating, the sense of smell plays a crucial role for vipers. Male vipers engage in a fascinating courtship ritual known as “the dance of the adders.” They stand erect, facing each other, trying to knock their opponent down. The ritual can last for hours until a victor is determined, all without any biting involved.
Good news for the Eyelash Viper! As of 2002, it is no longer listed as a threatened species. This is a testament to the importance of conservation efforts and the positive impact they can have on our delicate ecosystem.
To wrap up our journey into the world of the Eyelash Viper, here are a few intriguing facts about these incredible creatures:
- The Eyelash Viper is one of the smallest venomous species in Central America.
- Individuals with yellow coloration are sometimes mistakenly shipped with bananas.
- Vipers have some of the longest fangs among snake families.
- Despite their toxic venom, Eyelash Vipers are popular pets due to their unique and striking appearance.
To learn more about the wonders of the animal kingdom, check out Ekilove.com, a hub of captivating information about the natural world.
- “Bothriechis schlegelii.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 27 May 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2012.
- Bullock, T. H. and Diecke, F. P. J. (1956). Properties of an infrared receptor. Journal of Physiology 134, 47-87.
- Eyelash Viper Fact Sheet. 2012. Smithsonian National Zoological Park. 27 May 2012 https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/reptilesamphibians/facts/factsheets/Eyelashpalmpit-viper.cfm.
- Heatwole, H. and Davison, E. (1976). A Review of Caudal Luring in Snakes with Notes on Its Occurrence in the Saharan Sand Viper, Cerastes vipera. Herpetologica Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 332-336.
- Parker HW, Grandison AGC. 1977. Snakes – a natural history. Second Edition. British Museum (Natural History) and Cornell University Press. 108 pp. 16 plates. LCCCN 76-54625.