Look but don’t touch: the eyelash viper

April 8, 2015

150407eyelashviper01

We found this little fellow curled against a tree in Tortuguero, a serpent no bigger than your typical garter snake. Its orange skin looked bright and cheery. Indeed, Bothriechis schlegelii is basically harmless – unless you lean in too close, and then its bite can be deadly.

The eyelash viper is one of the most venomous snakes in Costa Rica. Local naturalists are fond of saying that most Costa Rican spiders won’t hurt you, but don’t mess with the snakes. Farmers routinely lose their dogs and cats to snake bites, and varieties like the coral and green vine snakes can inject a powerful toxin.

Of course most of these snakes will do anything they can to avoid you, and they won’t get hostile unless they feel threatened. (Or you step on one by accident.) If you are bitten, just stay calm and get yourself to the nearest hospital – antivenins can treat almost any venom out there.

But the soundest advice, when interacting with any wild animal, is: look but don’t touch. Most visitors to Costa Rica know this already. The less wildlife has to interact with people, the better – which is why they invented telephoto lenses.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Costa Rica
149 views

The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 21, 2019.

Alexander Villegas - January 21, 2019

An attack in Nicaragua, our Puerto Viejo Deep Dive and a new Sele squad. These stories and more in this…

Venezuela military group arrested after call to disavow Maduro
Latin America
383 views
Latin America
383 views

Venezuela military group arrested after call to disavow Maduro

AFP - January 21, 2019

A group of soldiers rose up against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at a command post near Caracas on Monday, but…

Prominent anti-Ortega journalist seeks refuge in Costa Rica
Daniel Ortega
384 views
Daniel Ortega
384 views

Prominent anti-Ortega journalist seeks refuge in Costa Rica

AFP and The Tico Times - January 21, 2019

Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, a critic of Daniel Ortega's government, announced on Sunday that he has decided to leave…