How poisonous is a golden lancehead?

The golden lancehead name “lancehead” refers to the distinctive head contour of all Bothrops genus snakes, that can be elongated and includes a point in the nose.

In addition, it is uninhabited and travel to the island is prohibited by the Brazilian navy, and there is a good reason, it is home to several thousand venomous golden lancehead snakes.

The island can be a tropical or subtropical moist woods containing many unique kinds of habitats such as forest, clearings, along with footprints. The climate is very mild, and the temperatures never fall under 64ºF (18ºC), or even above 72ºF (22ºC).

They can typically be found seeking refuge among leaf litter or in rock crevices, especially during unfavorable weather or after having just swallowed a victim. But are found at the trees hunting for prey.

The golden lancehead grows to an average length of 28 inches (70 cm) but it’s proven to reach 46 inches (118 cm) in optimum duration.

The snake’s color pattern consists of a collection of triangular or quadrangular blotches, which can be broader or slim, and switching or reverse along the rear overlaid in a pale yellowish brown ground colour.

The golden stomach is a uniform pale cream or yellowish, and they lack a stripe that is postorbital that is well-defined. Their yellowish color becomes darker, when in captivity.

The golden lancehead has a longer tail than the jararaca (Bothrops jararaca), its closest relative, which probably an adaptation to help them maneuver through the trees located on the island.


All these are highly venomous snakes but because the golden lancehead only occupies a place uninhabited by people, there has never been a listed bite .

​But other lancehead species are responsible for more human deaths than any other snakes at both North and South America.

The chemical analysis of their venom indicates that it is 5 times stronger than that of the cousin the jararaca (Bothrops jararaca), and is also the fastest-acting venom in their own genus.

The mortality rate to other lancehead species envenomations is about 7 percent when the victim does not receive medical treatment, but even if the individual receives therapy the bite is fatal on 3 percent of these scenarios.

The consequences of lancehead venom include local swelling and pain, nausea and vomiting, blood blisters, swelling, blood in the vomit and pee, intestinal blockage, kidney failure, brain hemorrhage, and severe necrosis of muscle tissue.

Lancehead snakes have a hemotoxic venom that eats away at tissue and flesh to help digest the victim before they swallow it, but the gold lancehead also has some neurotoxic components in their venom to assist killing the prey.


Their diet is made up largely of perching birds, but they have been reported to consume lizards as well as resort to cannibalism.

The golden lancehead juvenile and newborn snakes prey largely upon invertebrates. It has had a deep effect on their development, As there are no mammals indigenous to the island Queimada Grande.


The golden lancehead breeding season occurs during August and September, and these vipers are proven to partner using both the ground or trees. The golden lancehead gives birth to live young.

The normal litter size around 7 infants and there is no recorded data about their size in the beginning, but you might expect it to be like that of their Jararaca (approximately 10 inches).


From the IUCN Red List, the gold lance mind is classified as critically endangered, this can be due to many factors, but the primary threat to the species is habitat destruction. In the past, therefore it could be utilized for agriculture fires that were started on the island in an attempt to eradicate the snakes.

To maintain that the lighthouse in the island, the Brazilian Navy has also donated to habitat destruction by the removal of plant. The species was also plagued by more than harvesting out of scientists.

The island of Queimada Grande is the only location in which these snakes are found in the wild, but it could only support a small spider population because of the small size of just 43 hectares.

This also contributes to a great deal of inbreeding within the golden lancehead people and the occurrence of”intersexes” (specimens born with both male and female reproductive parts) that is harmful because most of the intersexes are created sterile.

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