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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Check Out These Ssseriously Cool Bothrops Jararaca Facts

Bothrops jararaca facts like they are fond of living in tropical forests are interesting.

Bothrops jararaca is a type of pit viper snake commonly seen in South American countries. It is also known as B jararaca or yarara depending on the country and language. It is a species of highly venomous snake which is the cause for majority of snakebites in Brazil. The name "jararaca" is a mix of two words, yarará and ca, from Tupi language which means "large snake". Bothrops jararaca usually grows about 3 ft (0.9 m) to 4 ft (1.2 m). They have noticeably variable color patterns, especially at the dorsal ground color which can be tan, brown, gray, yellow, olive, or maroon. The head has dark brown stripes while the tongue is black.

These species of pit vipers are seen in large numbers. These venomous reptiles are said to cause 95% of snake bites in some localities, jararaca Bothrops are known as Brazilian pit vipers and have no subspecies under them. They passively help in agriculture by killing rodents which destroy crops. The discovery of blood pressure lowering compounds in their venom led to the commercial introduction of the drug ‘Captopril'.

For more relatable content, check out these dugite facts and western ribbon snake facts for kids.

Bothrops Jararaca Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Bothrops jararaca?

Bothrops jararaca is a species of pit viper snake. They are seen in parts of South America such as southern Brazil and northern Argentina. This is comparatively a medium-sized snake which is nocturnally active. These pit vipers are found in a variety of environments ranging from forests to cultivated lands. Another common feature is the presence of heat sensitive organ on their head. These organs help them find preys in darker conditions.

What class of animal does a Bothrops jararaca belong to?

Jararaca snake belongs to the class of reptiles. Reptiles may include animals such as turtles, crocodilians, snakes, amphisbaenians, and lizards. The major characteristic of reptiles is that they are cold-blooded animals. They also like to live on the ground inside holes and small creeks. The most distinguishing part of reptiles and especially that of snakes is that they do not have any glands in their skin.

How many Bothrops jararacas are there in the world?

There is no estimate about the population of B Jararaca. Jararaca Bothrops are classified as Least Concern snake species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Brazilian researchers who did studies on these species of reptiles concluded that they were ‘abundant’ locally. Also since they are related to pit viper species, the majority are of Least Concern.

Where does a Bothrops jararaca live?

Bothrops jararacas live in the tropical rainforest.

What is a Bothrops jararaca's habitat?

Bothrop jararaca’s habitat is usually the dense Brazilian tropical perennial forests found on the Atlantic coast. They are also seen to live on thickets, scrubs, savanna, semitropical upland forests and cultivated fields. Some researchers have even found them living in some Brazilian cities. This animal is highly terrestrial.

Who do Bothrops jararacas live with?

This species like to live by themselves as they lead a solitary lifestyle and are sedentary during cold climates. The young ones become independent once they are born. Young snakes can be usually found on trees.

How long does a Bothrops jararaca live?

These reptiles have a typical lifespan of about 10-20 years. When these snakes are captured their average lifespan is reduced to 6.5 years.

How do they reproduce?

Like other pit vipers, they reproduce sexually by means of internal fertilization. The eggs produced in the body of female snakes are hatched inside. Males usually mate with more than one female. There is fight between males for mating. Bothrop jararaca give birth to children twice every year. This animal reproduces once in every two years. Ovulation and fertilization of females happens in the spring time. The average litter size of jararacas varied anywhere from 5-16, whereas extremes of up to 34 were concluded by some researchers. The mating usually happens around April-June.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is Least Concern.

Bothrops Jararaca Fun Facts

What do Bothrops jararacas look like?

Bothrops jararaca has a broad head that's triangular. They are about 4-7 ft (1.2-2.1 m) long. Their bodies feature black-edged diamonds. Dorsal ground color can be tan, brown, gray, yellow, olive, or almost maroon. They have lighter mid body color. The head is dark brown striped.

Bothrops jararaca's vertical lined pupils help them with depth perception.

How cute are they?

These snakes look cuter with their color and pattern on their body. The beautiful part about this particular snake species is their color pattern which is different from one snake to the other. The well-defined eyes are beautiful along with the side stripes on their heads. However, the fact that they are considerably dangerous makes them less cute than non-venomous snakes.

How do they communicate?

They communicate using the interpretation of vibration and vision. Another feature is the infrared sensory pits located on both sides of their head, which is a major feature of vipers.. These pits help them to detect various infrared wavelengths and locating their prey’s location. Their nerves have the ability to detect changes in heat, which they used to hunt prey. They have distinct pupils in their eyes which can elongate in need and that will help with perceiving depths. This is indeed a very useful ability which grants them binocular vision as a predator.

How big is a Bothrops jararaca?

Jararaca is a small to medium-sized snake. Their average length is 23.6 in (60 cm) which is 80% shorter than a black mamba 118 in (3 m). Females are larger and heavier than male jararacas. They grow up to their maximum size by the end of third or fourth year.

How fast can a Bothrops jararaca move?

There has not been any official recording of their speed but usually pit vipers have a speed of 2.1 mph (3.3 kph). Their speed is very low when compared to the black mamba (12 mph or 19.3 kph), which is one of the highly poisonous snakes. Even though their speed is low, that does not make jararacas any less of a predator. When compared to other related viper species, they maintain a good striking speed that can surprise the prey.

How much does a Bothrops jararaca weigh?

When they are born, female jararacas weigh 0.2-0.3 oz (7-8.5 g), while males weigh 0.2-0.3 oz (6-9 g). After one year, females grow significantly faster. At the age of three years, females are considerably larger. Even though there are no official measurements of the weight of jararaca, full grown pit vipers are said to weigh anywhere between 6-11 lb (2.7-5 kg). During pregnancy jararacas may weigh more. They reach their full potential at 3-4 years.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female species of Bothrops jararaca.

What would you call a baby Bothrops jararaca?

A baby Bothrops jararaca is called a snakelet.

What do they eat?

Adults jararacas eat mammals such as rodents while juveniles eat frogs and other arthropods. They bite on to their prey for a long time until they inject the venom needed to immobilize and kill them. When they are little, they prey on small cold-blooded animals and when they grow up, they change their diet to small warm-blooded animals. They usually hunt at night. Baby jararacas like to climb trees and spend time on tree barks. They also like to eat house mouse and rice rat. Adults are usually seen on the ground searching for food.

They use their tongue flicking ability to find prey that is moving. They can flick their tongue which can range anywhere from 10-20 times per second during these times. They are sedentary during colder climates and active during warmer climate. Some jararacas are known to be scavengers; they feed on dead animals. Another way these snakes hunt is with their tail which is camouflaged to look like insect larvae. Potential preys are attracted by the tail and bitten and eaten by this snake. They also possess good camouflage ability which gives them better stealth than other snakes.

Are they poisonous?

They are considerably poisonous. Jararacas possess toxic venom and has a fatality rate of 0.7%. Their venom has an estimated total dried venom quantity of 0.01 oz (300 mg).  This venom may cause the blood to thicken and may cause disruption of blood vessels in the brain. Sometimes victims might have to amputate their limbs. So we should always be alert when dealing with poisonous snakes. Female venom has more blood vessel disrupting ability while male vipers possess more muscle destroying abilities.

Would they make a good pet?

No. Pit vipers, including B jararacas, do not make good pets as they are quite venomous and dangerous. There have been many incidents where the snake owners and their family members were stung by vipers. While the exact injection speed isn't known, the fact that these snakes can attack very fast makes them highly dangerous. Also the lethal dose for children is much lower than adults. This means that children getting a jararaca bite may have proportionally higher symptoms and mortality rate. They also are host to many parasites. So it is not a good idea to keep B jararaca as a pet.

Did you know...

Bothrops jararaca venom has been used for medicinal purposes. The venom is used to make medicine known as Angiotensin Converting Enzyme or ACE inhibitor commonly used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. ACE inhibitor is derived from a peptide from the toxin known as bradykinin-potentiating peptide (BPP).

Haemocoagulase enzyme derived from this venom is used as antihemorrhagic drug. Bothrops polyvalent antivenom is used in Brazil to treat bite from Bothrops venom.

It has been known that some tribes used to extract jararaca venom to use in their arrow heads for hunting purposes.

These pit vipers passively help in agriculture by killing rodents which destroy crops.

Bothrops jararaca's venom

Bothrop jararaca has an average venom yield of 0.0008-0.0009 oz (25–26 mg). Female jararaca produces a larger amount of venom 0.007 oz (220 mg) when compared to male 0.001 oz (40mg). It should also be noted that the female venom is much more lethal compared to male counterpart. The venom is produced from salivary glands. The venom consists of both enzymatic and non enzymatic group of proteins. Median lethal dose for a 132 lb (60 kg) male is 0.003 oz (80 mg) .

The Bothrops jararaca bite

It has been found out that the snake can lift its body during a bite due with enormous force and speed. They usually bite on their prey's head or neck. The majority of snake bites in South America are attributed to Bothrops jararaca. After a bothrop jararaca bite, the typical symptoms include  bleeding, swelling, blistering and bruising. Other symptoms include kidney failure, shock and coagulopathy where blood will have abnormal clotting properties. Bothrops polyvalent antivenom is used in Brazil to treat bite from Bothrops venom.

In case of a Bothrops bite we should take measures to be safe. If a bite is suspected we should always move away from the snake as fast as possible. This will help to decrease the possibility of a multiple bite. We should remove tight clothing from the bitten part . You should always seek medical attention as fast as possible.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these corn snake facts and rattlesnake facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Bothrops Jararaca coloring pages.

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