Pink baby rattle snakes are dangerous

Snakes in Costa Rica

Small and colorful or large and inconspicuous

Snakes, that is a sensitive topic, because many people, much more than you think, are afraid of snakes and therefore do not travel to Costa Rica. In most cases, however, the concern is unfounded, because most snakes hide very well, so that you rarely get to see one on a Costa Rica trip - unless you are specifically looking for the animals. Above all, respect goes to the large and poisonous snakes in the country, but if you stay on the marked trails in the national parks, you will only meet a snake in the rarest of cases. If you are specifically looking for a beautiful lance viper, for example, you should definitely take a guided tour, because the local tour guides know best from their experience where the animals like to hang out and hide.

Costa Rica is the home of 137 different types of snakes, that is about 5% of the world's species. With more than 100 species forms the Adder family the largest group. Most of the Costa Rican snakes are non-poisonous and usually quite shy. Many are only around 20 centimeters long, but there are also snakes over 3 meters tall. There are 6 types of large snakes, including the notorious one Boa Constrictor, also called king boa. It grows up to 3 meters long and can weigh up to 20 kilograms. Like the snakes, giant snakes do not produce poison, but kill their prey by strangling, which is where the term "strangler snake" comes from. In addition to the adders and the giant snakes, there are also 22 different types of venomous snakes, the most dangerous and also the most common in Costa Rica is the Central American lance viper



    The Central American lance viper is the most dangerous of the 22 species of venomous snakes in Costa Rica. Because the snake has a very irritable character and it often stays near human settlements. It is more likely to meet a lance viper than any of the other species. The so-called bushmaster has a similarly life-threatening and large amount of poison as the lance viper, but he lives far away from people, in the dense primary forest and has a rather calm character. These two snake species belong to the pit otters along with 14 other species. Most of the other venomous snake species are not really dangerous to humans and there is no life-threatening injury from a snakebite.

    By far the strongest and most effective poison can be found in the Poison snakes, or also called elapids. There are a total of them five species in Costa Rica, two of them live in the sea off Costa Rica: the coral snake and the sea snake. Each of these five species has an extremely potent neurotoxin that can be fatal to humans, even in tiny amounts.

    But we can reassure you: Most of the time, there are no fatal incidents with these snakes. Every year in Costa Rica 500 to 600 bite accidents with poisonous snakes are reported, but thanks to the good medical care in the country these are fatal in only 1.5% of the cases. The special antidotes are developed and manufactured directly in Costa Rica. The victims are mostly plantation workers who are in increased danger due to their constant work in nature. In contrast, tourists are rarely attacked by snakes. Should a snake feel threatened by humans, the smaller and faster snakes usually flee into the safe thicket, many only trust their good camouflage and others in turn immediately show a clearly recognizable and species-specific threatening behavior. For example, the rattlesnake rattles its tail. With this, the snake warns its attacker not to get any closer. Should the attacker come closer in spite of everything, the snake bites.

    Live in Costa Rica, for example5% of the world's snake species. But don't worry, most of them are non-toxic and completely harmless. However, the rattlesnake is not one of them. It is one of the 22 poisonous snakes found in Costa Rica. The Chill rattlesnake is part of the vipers family and, like all vipers, can be recognized by their triangular head and of course their rattling tail, which they shake like a rattle when in danger. Schauer rattlesnakes are up to 1.80 meters long, the smallest, however, only about 80 centimeters. Their color variation ranges from gray-brown to earth-colored to grayish, yellowish and reddish. Usually each individual looks different, which is why no precise description can be made. A black diamond band usually stretches across their backs. The snake has a body that is comparatively slender compared to its head. When the snake looks into the light, its pupils narrow to vertical slits.

    Shiver rattlesnakes are crepuscular and nocturnal, during the day she hides in caves of small animals or tree hollows. In contrast to other snakes, the shower rattlesnake does not hibernate, which is due to the consistently warm, tropical air. It lives mainly in regions with low vegetation, stony and arid regions, but can also be found in completely different areas. It is also an occasional visitor near human settlements, but bite accidents rarely occur. If accidents do occur, however, they can be fatal. Because the poison of the shower rattlesnake is the most poisonous of the rattlesnakes. It has both neurotoxic (effects on the central nervous system, which can also lead to kidney failure) and hemotoxic (proteins that destroy tissue). With just one bite, the rattlesnake can inject up to 40 milligrams of venom into its victim. Even a much smaller dose would be fatal for most animals. The victims cannot be saved with the appropriate antidote in all accidents.

    Don't panic now: Yes - there are snakes in Costa Rica. And yes, there are poisonous snakes too, but nothing has ever happened to one of our customers! If you are careful in the jungle and stick to the rules, you can observe the beautiful animals from a distance and do not expose yourself to any danger. There is something mystical about snakes, many people are afraid of these wonderful beings. Unfortunately, since Adam and Eve were driven out of paradise with the help of a snake, they no longer have a good reputation. Although they are fascinating wonders of nature. Fear not, you probably won't see a snake in Costa Rica unless you want it and look for it. Most of the time, however, snakes live very secretly. Nevertheless, one should always be careful.

    Live in Costa Rica 22 species of snakes that are poisonous. These 22 species include the pit vipers. The most important species of pit vipers are the "Terciopelo lance viper“And the“ prehensile tailed lance otter ”. Both species can be recognized very quickly by their triangular head.

    The Terciopelo lance viper is brown in color with diagonal stripes. It grows up to 2 meters long and its main food consists of small mammals. Sometimes also from possums or agoutis. It can be found on the ground most of the time, but can also live in trees. The lance viper is nocturnal, so a collision between humans and snakes is relatively rare. Lance vipers lay - in contrast to many other snake species - no eggs - but give birth to around 40 live young animals.

    Despite their nocturnal activity, statistics show that most of the snake bites in Costa Rica come from the Terciopelo lance viper. Most of the otters' bites, however, are “dry bites”. H. non-poisonous bites. They are therefore not poisonous, since the lance viper would need several days to reproduce their venom. Without poison, it is difficult for this little snake to catch prey. So they save their poison in order to satisfy their hunger with smaller animals. The lance viper only attacks humans when it feels threatened. And since she knows that humans are too big to eat, she saves her poison for prey. Most of the poisonous bites do not come from large, experienced lance vipers, but from small or medium-sized Terciopelos, which are still quite inexperienced. The poisonous bite of this snake is very dangerous for humans because it contains enzymes, low molecular weight polypeptides, metal ions and other components that have not been understood so far. Even so, the bite of this snake is far from being a death sentence. If you get to the hospital fast enough, the chances of recovery are very good. Hardly anyone in Costa Rica dies of a snakebite these days.

    You can protect yourself from snakebites by wearing sturdy shoes, staying on the paths, walking carefully through the jungle and under no circumstances reaching under stones or into hidden holes. Then nothing can actually happen to you.


    Strangler snake is a collective term for snakes that, unlike poisonous snakes, kill their prey by strangling. Make known species Boas, Pythons and many types of adder. After the bite, the snake wraps around the body of its prey and squeezes it tighter with each exhalation, so that the animal's blood cannot flow back to the heart and it cannot take any more air.

    The snake does not suffocate its victim, as previously assumed, but causes cardiovascular failure. The snake can feel when the heart of its prey stops beating and then devour it whole. Since most strangler snakes are as good as blind, they recognize potential prey by so-called "licking". Using their extremely sensitive tongue, they recognize the fragrances of animals that are in their environment. They can also see heat in the form of infrared radiation. Well-known strangler snakes in Costa Rica are, for example Boa Constrictor and the Pointed head python.

    The boa is a beautiful snake - a picture-book snake with beautiful drawings. It is quite common in Costa Rica and not impossible to see. Still, you won't see it if you don't look for it. She often visits the chicken coops of the campesinos and unfortunately you can see a lot of dead on the street. But if you manage to find a living boa, you can call yourself lucky.

    The boa constrictor, too Idol snake, King snake or King boa is called the most famous snake from Central America. At a huge 2 to 4 meters, it is also the largest of them. King snakes occur all over Costa Rica and feel comfortable in trees as well as on the ground. As a rule, they prefer coastlines, semi-deserts and moist rainforests at altitudes up to 1,500 meters above sea level.

    Idol snakes are characterized by a huge variation in color and body structure. The colors of the boa can range from white, to brown, to red and black, but all boas have dark saddle marks on their backs. An extraordinary peculiarity of the boa shows on its scaly skin, so it can change its color, similar to the chameleon. Depending on the temperature, their skin turns lighter or darker and so a darker boa lying in the shade is no longer so easy to recognize. Idol snakes are crepuscular and nocturnal, but sometimes they are also seen in the daytime near their hiding spots for sunbathing. If the king boa feels threatened, it hisses. A bite does not threaten death because boas are not poisonous, but a bite wound can still be quite painful. The boa constrictor feeds mainly on birds, lizards and mammals, which it usually attacks from a branch and then strangles. In doing so, it crushes its prey so hard that a circulatory collapse sets in and the animal does not suffocate, as previously wrongly assumed. In some cases, this process can take up to 16 minutes and accordingly costs the snake a lot of strength and energy. In order not to use up too much energy, the boa feels the heartbeat of its prey so that it stops exactly when it is no longer available.For king boas, there are certain mating times during which the female emits special scents, which the males then specifically follow . The boa gives birth to its young alive after around 130 days, with a litter size of around 10 to 60 young. The newborn snakes weigh about 50 grams at birth, are around 50 centimeters long and surrounded by a thin egg membrane. The young snakes stay in trees for the first months to years, with the mother temporarily protecting their offspring, sometimes encouraging them to crawl on with their snouts and helping them out of their egg shell. After that, the boys are on their own. Anyone who would like to see a boa constrictor can book an individual trip with travel-to-nature, where you have a good chance of seeing one of the rare animals.

    The pointed head python is a species of snake that lives in Central America and is the only species in the pointed head python family. It can be up to 120 centimeters long, with its head seemingly merging into its rather strong body without a neck. The snake can appear dark brown to gray-brown and when it is illuminated by the sun it shimmers purple. Their belly is usually dark in color. The pointed head python has noticeably large head scales, whereas these are rather small in most of its genus.

    Pointed head pythons occur from northern Costa Rica to the Mexican Pacific coast and prefer moist to dry forests at an altitude of 0 to 600 meters above sea level. Here the python can simply dig through fallen leaves and damp earth to either track down prey or to build a shelter. Often these snakes even spend a few days completely underground. In order to be able to move perfectly in the ground, the python has a pointed head and small eyes. The pointed head python feeds mainly on small mammals or small reptiles and their eggs. He kills his prey by strangling, because the pointed head pythons have no fangs.

    The pointed head python is an egg-laying snake. Once the snake has laid eggs, they must then be hatched.


    Most of the non-poisonous snakes in Costa Rica are adders. With around 100 species, these form the most species-rich snake family in Costa Rica. Most snakes are slender and have fairly large scales that cover their bodies. If you discover an adder, it usually looks at you with large eyes - unless you come across one of the burrowing species, these have smaller eyes. Most types of adder are harmless because they have no fangs.

    As a rule, adders feed on small mammals, birds, and fish. They are nocturnal hunters and if you come across an adder during a hike during the day, you can usually see them sleeping in tree hollows or sometimes in the beams of a hiker's hut, for example. If they are out at night, it can even happen that an adder catches a sleeping hummingbird - hardly imaginable when you think of the nimble flying artists you meet during the day. The Costa Rican snakes are all egg-laying animals.

    The most well-known species of the Costa Rican species are: nose whip snake, belt snake, ore pointed snake, thin snake, chicken eater and the indigo snake.

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