Fer de lances are a species of venomous pit vipers found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are one of the most feared snakes in the world due to their large size, aggressive nature, and potent venom. Fer de lances are also known as “lance-headed vipers” or “barba amarilla”. In Spanish, their name literally means “spearhead”, which is a reference to their long, slender head and needle-like fangs. Let us know more about what type of venom does a fer de lance have.
What are they?
The fer de lance is a member of the Crotalinae family, which includes all Old World and New World pit vipers. Other members of this family include the copperhead, cottonmouth, rattlesnake, and death adder. Pit vipers get their name from the heat-sensing pits located between their eyes and nostrils. These pits allow them to accurately strike at prey even in complete darkness.
Their features to know:
- Fer de lances can grow to lengths of over 3 meters (10 feet), but most adults average between 1-2 meters (3-6 feet).
- They are heavy-bodied snakes with thick tails.
- Their skin is covered in large brown or black spots edged in white or cream.
- The pattern on their back typically consists of two rows of spots that run the length of the body.
How poisonous are they?
All members of the Crotalinae family are venomous, but some are more dangerous than others. The fer de lance is considered to be one of the most venomous snakes in the world due to its large size and potent venom.
Symptoms of envenomation (venomous snake bite) include severe pain, swelling, tissue necrosis (death), and hemorrhaging (bleeding). If left untreated, bites from these snakes can often lead to limb amputation or death.
What type of venom do they have?
Fer de lances produce a hemotoxic venom that attacks the blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Hemotoxic venoms cause localized tissue damage and internal bleeding. These effects can often be seen externally as bruising or discoloration around the bite wound. Bites from these snakes are extremely painful and can take weeks or even months to heal properly.
Where can you find them?
Fer de lances can be found throughout Central and South America in countries like Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
They typically inhabit primary forests at elevations below 1 kilometer (3281 feet). However, they have been known to live in secondary forests, coffee plantations, pastures, and even suburban areas.
Tips to stay safe:
- The best way to avoid getting bitten by a fer de lance is to stay away from areas where they are known to live.
- If you must travel through these areas, be sure to wear long pants and boots to protect your legs from getting bitten.
- Also, be sure to keep an eye out for these snakes when walking through tall grass or leaf litter. If you see one… just walk away!
So, there you have it! Now you know a little bit more about the fer de lance, one of the most feared snakes in the world. Remember, if you ever come across one of these snakes, just walk away!