Snakes: A Hazard of Living in the Jungle

by Rose

Whenever our worker chops the tall grasses around our property with his machete, invariably he runs across a snake.

I wish I could say the snakes here were all non-poisonous snakes, like the snakes I grew up with in Western Washington or to have no snakes at all like my cousin in Hawaii, but this is not the case.

Usually if you find a snake here in Panama, it is poisonous.

This week our worker killed a poisonous snake called the Bushmaster (Lachesis muta muta), while clearing a field by the house.

Danillo with a Bushmaster he killed (Notice its belly bulge-it has recently ate!)

This Bushmaster is almost as tall as Danillo, who is 5’1!

Here is some information about the Bushmaster:

The Bushmaster, is the largest pit viper and venomous snake in the world. It is found in Central and South America, as well as island of Trinidad. It often reaches lengths in excess of 6 feet with a maximum recorded length of an incredible 12 feet. The Bushmaster is usually thick bodied, with a triangular-shaped head characteristic of the pit vipers.
This snake has a fearsome reputation for being particularly aggressive towards humans, if agitated or startled. The Bushmaster has extremely long fangs and has the ability to quickly strike multiple times, even the bite of a juvenile snake can be fatal.  It delivers a large and powerful dose of hemotoxic venom which attacks the circulatory system, destroys red blood cells and leads to generalized tissue damage and organ degeneration. However, this snake is basically nocturnal and contact with humans is minimized for this reason.

*Addendum to the orginial post-added on 01/11/2012*:

‘Arne O. left a comment for me stating this snake is a Bothrops and not a Bushmaster. Our worker called it a Bushmaster, but then again he is not a herpetologist and neither am I. We appreciate your correction, Arne.

My parents had told me we have  “Fer-de-Lance” snakes in this area, aka Bothrops. From what I have investigated on the internet, I like it no better than the Bushmaster. A venomous snake is a venomous snake, right? (If anyone can verify if this is a Bothrops atrox or asper or …please let me know…? I might have a picture that is closer up, if needed. Gracias.)’

I hope this doesn’t scare any of you from back home from coming down and visiting us! We have never seen a snake in the house or in close proximity to it, so please don’t change any future plans you had!!!

I hope everyone’s week has started off well and covered in blessing.

All of us here are still absorbing the news of my Fathers diagnosis of cancer and are trying our best to make some plans of how we need to act. My Father is very tired and has been sleeping a lot. We have put him on a raw food diet, rich in alkaline foods with plenty of carrot juice and green drinks. My Mother and I have also been searching the internet for different alternative treatments. (My Father is not sure he wants to have traditional treatments at this time, but he plans to meet with an oncologist in Panama City in the coming week.) Thank you all for your messages and emails of support and comfort. It is appreciated more than you know.

Shalom (Peace) to you all my dears, Rose

P.S. To our dear nephews, Jonathon and Tyler, when you come down to visit us, there will be no searching, hunting or handling of snakes. Comprende?