Fer de Lance Bothrops asper
Fer de Lance Bothrops asper

Not every inhabitant of Costa Rica's lush rainforests and dense jungles is as friendly and cute as me! In fact, some of the denizens of Costa Rica's national parks are downright deadly. Come with me to learn more about three of the most dangerous snakes in Latin America.

Deadly predators

Fortunately for visitors, most of the reptiles found in Costa Rica are perfectly harmless. However, the dangerous ones more than make up for it.

Perhaps the most lethal snake in Costa Rica is the fearsome fer-de-Lance. Its name is derived from a French expression, meaning "iron of the lance" ; or "spearhead". Some experts claim that attacks by these dangerous pit vipers account for a majority of snakebites throughout Central and South America, due to their tendency to live in environments close to areas of human habitation. The prevalence of and danger posed by this species across Latin America is even believed to have been a deciding factor in where the Mayan civilization chose to locate their cities!

Blending in perfectly with their surroundings due to their mottled brown skin, the venom of the fer-de-lance can be deadly to humans. Left untreated, a bite from this dangerous snake can cause a range of conditions, from blindness and tissue necrosis to internal bleeding and even death.

Yellow Eyelash Palm Pitviper
Yellow Eyelash Palm Pitviper

Lightning Quick

The bushmaster is another deadly snake found throughout Costa Rica and Latin America. Identifiable by the triangular patches of black scales that run down the length of their bodies, the bushmaster is a capable predator. This species' generic name, "Lachesis", comes from a Greek word that refers to one of the Three Fates in Greek mythology that determined the length of mortal lives.

Fortunately, bushmaster snakes are nocturnal, and contact with humans is rare. However, this deadly reptile can strike several times in quick succession, and its venom is so powerful, even a bite from a juvenile specimen can be fatal.

Eyelash pitviper striking
Eyelash pitviper striking

What's that sound...?

Another of Costa Rica's most deadly snakes is the tropical rattlesnake. Growing to more than six feet in length, these dangerous predators are found all over Latin America, and an attack by one of these fearsome predators is very serious. As with other species of rattlers, the nine subspecies of the tropical variety strike with lightning speed, and its venom quickly renders its prey immobile before breaking down their tissue with powerful neurotoxins.

Neotropical Rattlesnake Cascabel
Neotropical Rattlesnake Cascabel

Safety lies within

But don't worry snakes are very rare to see and as I always suggest you should always hike with a guide while in the forest as they are trained to steer you clear of these beautiful but deadly creators!