Are eyelash vipers deadly?

The Eyelash Viper or eyelash palm-pitviper (Bothriechis schlegelii) is a venomous pit viper snake species found in Central America and northern South America, without a subspecies currently recognized.

They are definitely the most common species of the genus Bothriechis, both the green palm-pitvipers, and also are very often within zoo displays. The species-specific name”schlegelii” was attributed in honor of their German ornithologist, Hermann Schlegel.

​They are also known by other common names like eyelash pit viper, eyelash palm viper, eyelash palm-pitviper, Schlegel’s pit viper, Schlegel’s viper, Schlegel’s palm viper, eyelash lancehead, eyebrow snake, and semen mountain viper and horned palm viper.

The eyelash viper range stretches from southern areas of Mexico on the Atlantic plains and lowlands throughout Central America to northern regions of South America at Venezuela and Colombia. The species is found in the Pacific and lowlands versant in parts of Ecuador, and Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Peru.

Their habitat ranges from tropical rainforests, wooded cloud and montane forests to dense sea-level forests or streamside vegetation in lowlands and foothills.

These are arboreal snakes meaning they invest their lives in trees, palms, shrubs and vines and they usually like to stay near a permanent water source. The eyelash pit viper occurs at elevations from sea level up to 2600 meters in altitude. They also use their tail to move around trees and foliage.

The Eyelash viper, like all pit vipers, owns heat sensitive organs, known as pits, located on both sides of the head, between the nostrils and eyes.

These pit organs are complex structures which let them discover possible prey by their body warmth, a terrific evolutionary adaptation to a predator who hunts mostly at night.

These small and arboreal snakes have been characterized by a variety of color variants, as well as the superciliary scales over the eyes out of which derives their name. These”eyelashes” are thought to assist the snake’s camouflage among the leaves where they conceal.

Their color varies greatly ranging from brown, red, yellow, green or even pink, quite often with brownish or black speckling, the bottom colour is generally dependent on the snake’s geographic location. They’ve keeled scales which sense dull and sharp .

The herbaceous viper is thought to be a little to midsize pit viper and is now still one of the smallest venomous snakes found in Central America. Females are measuring 35 to 82 cm whereas men measure around 37 to 69 cm in length.

Because of their arboreal character, the eyelash pit viper weighs less and can be considerably shorter than the more terrestrial pit vipers such as the bushmaster or fer-de-lance. They have a binocular vision.

Eyelash Viper

Though their endurance in captivity will exceed 16 years their projected lifespan in the wild will be roughly a decade. Some of their predators include large mammals such as hedgehogs, badgers, foxes but also snakes, fish, birds of prey and of course individuals.

The eyelash vipers are a favorite species from the exotic pet trade and can be found in zoos across the world.

They have been shipped around concealed among banana shipments. If eyelash vipers are harassed or threatened they won’t be afraid to strike.​

Are eyelash vipers deadly?

The eyelash viper venom is mainly hemotoxic but also neurotoxic, including procoagulants and hemorrhagic compounds. It affects both the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system, which makes it deadly to humans, and poisonous.

They exude the venom using their 2 incredibly long fangs, based on the upper law, these stay folded back in their mouth when they’re not in use.

While they are not thought to be aggressive snakes, lithium pit vipers have bitten humans who venture too near. The sting can result in severe pain, swelling, often necrosis , bleb formation and bruising, if left untreated, it may result in lack of a limb, and even be deadly.


A grownup eyelash viper preys on small mammals, birds and nestlings, lizards, frogs, rodents, snakes, and marsupials. Though the Allied snakes prey primarily on small frogs, sometimes using “caudal luring”, in which they are able to emphasise their tail motivating an expected prey to come within striking range.

The eyelash pit viper is mainly a predator, however, during the day they’re also effective at shooting moving prey such as hovering hummingbirds. In order that they are able to take advantage of birds spring migration these snakes are known to return to a ambush site.

Like many pit vipers they’re a typical”sit-and-wait” ambush type predator, exposing their prey by surprise and injecting their highly toxic hemotoxic and neurotoxic venom. Then they wait for the prey prior to swallowing it whole, to die.


The eyelash pit viper reaches sexual maturity at around 2 decades old, and they replicate through the year in hot surroundings. They’re a polygynous species, and breeding takes place during the night.

The men participate in an awesome courtship ritual called”dancing of this adders”. In it, the 2 males try to intimidate one another together with all the mind as well as the forepart of the body held upright into a”cobra-like” posture. Before one is pushed away to the floor , this sometimes can go on for hours, there is not any biting in the ritual.

The eyelash pit viper is a ovoviviparous species, the females incubate the eggs during the gestation period of about 6 months. Following the gestation, the eggs hatch inside the mother’s body, and the hatchlings are born live.

Except for their own body size, around 15 to 20 cm, the younglings are similar to mature snakes and are fully equipped and separate from birth. Females bear anywhere from two to 20 live young.


The herbaceous viper has not yet been appraised by the IUCN Red List. The species has been eliminated in CITES Appendix III in 2002, they are listed as endangered species.

But though they aren’t listed as endangered, the species like most others faces the risk of habitat loss and degradation from deforestation for timber, agriculture or urbanization.


Presently there are not any subspecies recognized. Some scientists understand a montane form of the viper.

Known as the eyelash mountain viper or the blotched palm-pitviper, it’s either regarded as a full species (B. supraciliaris) or even a subspecies (B. s. supraciliaris).

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