Snake of the Week: the Bothrops asper

Blog 2 Apr 2020

The Centre for Snakebite Research and Interventions (CSRI) has decided to launch a new Twitter initiative called #SnakeoftheWeek, where we will share interesting facts, pictures, and videos of the medically important snakes we house in our herpetarium and whose venoms we use for our research here at LSTM. 

Assembling the snake profiles has been a great way for new staff to learn about the different snake species with which we work, and we thought it would be a good idea to share these profiles with the CSRI’s followers on Twitter to teach them more about snakes, venoms, and snakebite. Each week we will be featuring a new snake species with the aim to eventually run a “snake-off” to determine Twitter’s favorite snake. Each snake profile will be posted with a link to a paper featuring that week’s #SnakeoftheWeek for our scientific followers, but we’d love to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds! 

The first SnakeoftheWeek, is the Bothrops asper (also known as a Terciopelo viper). They hail from Central America, and are responsible for the majority of snake envenoming in that area of the world. As well as having haemotoxic venom, female snakes give birth to an average of 40 or more young.

Juvenile snakes can also perform a sneaky trick called caudal luring, hiding their distinctive flat head and body and leaving their colourful tail tip exposed to lure in prey. For more information, read this paper.