Common Name: Bushmaster
Range: The Central American bushmaster is found all over Central America including Costa Rica with in Northern South America and in Ecuador and Lower Columbia. Bushmasters are inhabitant to southern Central America and all through the northern half of South America. It can be found in southern Nicaragua to south to northern Colombia.
The two southern subspecies are found from central Colombia to central Bolivia, extending from the eastern half of Ecuador and northeastern Peru to the coastlines of northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana and Surinam. They are also found on the island of Trinidad and along the southern coast of Brazil.
Their species can be found in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica and the national parks such as Corcovado National Park, La Selva, Santa Rosa National Park, San Vito, and San Jose. Researchers from Costa Rica say that the bushmaster from Osa, Costa Rica is more aggressive than others.
Size: Bushmaster is the largest New World snake; it can reach to a length of 8 to 12 ft (2.5–5.5 meter).
Weight: The Bushmaster adults normally weigh up to 3 to 5 kilo (6.6 to 11 lb).
Diet: Their diet in the wild is primarily small mammals and in the captivity they eat domestic rats.
Average life span: The average lifespan in the wild is unknown. In captivity, they normally live 12-18 years, with a recorded maximum life span of 24 years.
Habitat: This great snake is found in the cool and moist habitats of the tropical forests from mountainous areas to coastal lowlands throughout the Central American range. This bushmaster never strays very far from a source of water, and seldom, it ever leaves the forest areas. They live at tall trees in tropical rainforest of Costa Rica.
Breeding/Reproduction: The Central American and Costa Rican bushmaster is an oviparous species and they lays 10-12 eggs rather than having live young like many snakes. They are the only pit viper in the Americas that are oviparous (lay eggs) and they also guard the eggs until they hatch.
Bushmasters are solitary except when mating. Males locate receptive females by following scent trails left by females. Finding a female, he rubs his head and flicks his tongue along the sides of her body to get his intentions and make sure she is interested. If so, he flips his body upside down on top of hers and rubs his spinal ridge back and forth in a sawing motion against her body to stimulate her. If she is coiled up, he may also strike her with the side of his body to encourage her to loosen her coils and allow him right of entry. When she uncoils, they wrap their bodies around each other and mate in that position, sometimes they remain together for five or more hours.
When a female bushmaster is ready to lay her eggs, she finds a burrow built by another small animal to claim as her own, sometimes sharing the burrow with the animal that built it. She then lays eggs, each of which is white and slightly larger than a chicken egg. After laying her eggs, the female coils her body around them and guards them until they hatch 76-79 days later. She will not leave her eggs even to hunt during this period.
Bushmaster is a deadliest snake. It is more than four meter long and is the largest viper in the whole world. Cascabel muta” is the scientific name of this creature given by Carolus Linnaeus, the founder of modern biological nomenclature. It means the silent rattle snake. The bushmaster is found in Brazil, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and in different parts of Central America. Researchers from Costa Rica say that the bushmaster from Osa, Costa Rica is more aggressive than others.
There are three types of Bushmaster snakes. One of them is Black-headed bushmaster. It is seen in the Pacific versant of southeastern Puntarenas province, Costa Rica. Another one is South American Bushmaster. They are seen in South America in the equatorial forests east of the Andes: Colombia, eastern Ecuador, Peru, northern Bolivia, Guyana, Surinam, eastern and southern Venezuela, French Guiana and much of northern Brazil. Central American Bushmaster is also common one. They are found in the Atlantic lowlands of southern Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica, as well as the Pacific lowlands of central and eastern Panama situated in the Central America region.
A bushmaster grows up to 4.25 meters long at its adult age. Its tail ends with a narrow horny spine which sometimes vibrates. It happens when the snake is disturbed. The bushmaster usually likes camouflage. It hides itself with the bush and high grasses even with the leaves of the jungle tree.
Bushmasters lay eggs about a dozen at a time. The female snake stays most of the time with her eggs. During incubation she may aggressively defend the enemy if approached. The hatchlings are on an average 30 cm in length and are more colorful than the adults. Bushmaster is thought to be unique among the New World pit vipers.
Bushmasters choose a likely hunting spot by utilizing their sense of smell, and surround themselves with the kind of foods that their prey likes to eat. They then lie in and wait for the prey, sometimes for days, for their next meal of rat or bird. They can hunt in night with the help of their Infrared sensing pits. Even the warm-blooded mammals are easier to find for the bushmasters.
Infrared pits that have mentioned above are located between the eyes and nostrils of bushmaster. They are used to smell prey, which consists mostly of tiny rodents. Bushmaster first swallows the head of the prey, but after a while it bites and then releases larger or more dangerous prey. In this type of attack, the folds of skin protect their eyes and pits.
A bushmaster can coil for many days even for several weeks at one site. It waits in the form of coil to ambush prey along routes of travel, such as fallen limbs, buttresses of trees, or trails along the ground. This snake can survive by taking fewer than 10 large meals per year. It is the only pit viper in the world to lay eggs (instead of bearing live young), and female snakes remain with the eggs for a time before hatching.
This large snake has copious amounts of venom and delivers them through some of the longest fangs in the world. The fangs of the Central American bushmaster can sometimes exceed 1 inch in length, and the venom can be quite deadly to humans. The venom of the Central American bushmaster causes massive internal bleeding in humans when bitten. While the venom of a bushmaster is not as toxic as some venomous snakes, they produce and deliver a much larger dose due to their size. Fortunately, the Central American bushmaster is rarely seen due to their shy nature, and bites are quite rare.