What makes Fer-de-lance (terciopelo) the most dangerous snake of Costa Rica?

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These snakes are the most prolific of all species in Costa Rica, and because of its association with human habitation, many bites occur. Unlike most other snakes they are not shy to human presence.

Fer-de-lance will use sudden reverse direction to defend themselves. As they can camouflage well under forest cover and dead leaves almost perfectly, this species can be extremely aggressive when threatened.

Adult Fer-de-lance are large (up to two meters) with long fangs which may inject from 1 to 6 cc of poison.

Their natural enemy ¨Clelia clelia¨ (black snake). Most people will see snake, regardless of color, panic, and kill the snake. They don’t realize that when they kill the black snake that they are killing the snake which keeps the Fer-de-lance population small.


Here are some prevention tips:

·         Always wear shoes.

·         Watch where you step.

·         Many snakes live in caves or under logs, rocks etc. If you cannot see what´s in there, don’t stick your hand in there.

·         Pay close attention to branches when you try to collect fruit as some snakes like trees.

·         If you are going to be walking where you might see one of these snakes take a friend with you.

·         If you see a snake, LEAVE IT ALONE, do not try to touch it or grab it.

·         Keep the surroundings of your house or cabin clear of weeds or anything under which a snake could hide.


What do I do if a snake bites me?


After the initial panic…calm down, reduce physical activity as much as possible, then find the closest phone and call 911 or find someone to do it for you. As soon as possible go to the closest hospital. Do not medicate yourself or try anything like sucking out the poison.