Fun Black-headed Bushmaster Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 09, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 08, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Black-headed bushmaster facts are about venomous snakes.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

The Lachesis genus is composed of bushmasters or pit vipers in the forests of South and Central America. Four separate species have been grouped under the genus namely the Chocoan bushmaster (Lachesis acrochorda), South American bushmaster (Lachesis muta), black-headed bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala), and Central American bushmaster (Lachesis stenophrys).

One of the longest vipers found in the Neotropics, the black-headed bushmaster is a deadly venomous snake that you would want to steer clear of.

Initially, these snakes were considered a subspecies of the South American bushmaster but research rendered the species its unique identity.

Endemic to the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica, the species is believed to be nocturnal and crepuscular but during rains, a great amount of activity has been noticed in the afternoons. These reptiles are terrestrial that love to remain on their own.

Did you know that human activities such as deforestation can eradicate the species from existence? Towards the north, the lowland forests on the foothills of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca were converted for the production of coffee.

A large number of low montane rainforests were reclaimed for commercial purposes due to which the habitat of several burrowing animals is lost.

Loss of habitat and scarcity of food are major concerns that threaten the conservation status of these pit vipers. Conservation of the bushmasters, therefore, becomes crucial as the species can rarely be seen outside Costa Rica.

For some more fascinating facts about some other snake species check out the king cobra and smooth green snake.

Black-Headed Bushmaster Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black-headed bushmaster?

The black-headed bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) is a member of the Viperidae family of highly venomous snakes.

What class of animal does a black-headed bushmaster belong to?

Black-headed bushmasters have been classified under the Reptilia class.

How many black-headed bushmasters are there in the world?

The number of black-headed bushmasters in current existence cannot be stated due to the dearth of quantification data. However, the population of the pit viper species is not distributed throughout the world as it can be mainly found in Costa Rica.

Where does a black-headed bushmaster live?

Native to Costa Rica, the species inhabits the southwestern parts and is abundant in northern Ciudad Neily of the southeastern Puntarenas province. The Pacific coast, particularly the Osa peninsula boasts of the black-headed bushmaster.

They can also be spotted occasionally in western Panama. The Central American bushmasters can be found in Nicaragua, north of Costa Rica but it's not known whether the black-headed bushmasters overlap with them.

What is a black-headed bushmaster's habitat?

The habitat range of this species comprises moist rainforests and montane forests. These snakes prefer to remain isolated and often tend to hide under leaf litters when intruders are in the vicinity.

Who do black-headed bushmasters live with?

Black-headed bushmasters prefer to dwell solitarily outside the breeding period. They tend to stay aloof of any kind of company perhaps because of their shyness. Unless captured and reared, they can rarely be found looming near human society.

How long does a black-headed bushmaster live?

The exact lifespan of the species needs to be unearthed. In general, bushmasters have a lifespan of around 10-18 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction data on the breeding behavior of the black-headed bushmasters are currently lacking. However, these snakes are oviparous. Reproduction details could be extracted by breeding these snakes in captivity. It can be estimated that the reproduction process of the species is similar to the other bushmasters.

Post-breeding the females lay eggs in burrows and guard them. Incubation prolongs for two months. The females leave after the eggs hatch as the young can hunt for themselves. Clutch comprises 6-13 eggs. Eggs generally hatch after a span of 74 days.

What is their conservation status?

The black-headed Bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) is Not Listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Very little research or data is available about the snake species therefore no conclusive statements can be made regarding its population distribution or its numbers. However, the snake can be commonly found within its habitat range in Costa Rica.

Black-headed Bushmaster Fun Facts

What do black-headed bushmasters look like?

The most prominent feature of these snakes is the black coloration on their heads that justifies their name. The dorsal region is shaded in cream-white, light brown, or yellow.

The area surrounding the dorsal spine is patterned with rhombus designs that stretch to their sides. They are large-sized with highly poisonous fangs that can produce a lethal dose of poison within no time.

How cute are they?

These pit vipers possess a frightening look that can easily scare off anyone. Although some animal lovers might take fancy to this marvelous species, it doesn't possess a pleasing appearance that can actually qualify to be called cute.

How do they communicate?

In general, bushmasters interact via tactile stimulations and chemical trails, especially in their search for mating partners. They're also capable of sensing infrared energy with the help of a pair of pit organs.

How big is a black-headed bushmaster?

The average length of the black-headed bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) comes in an approximate range of 6.2-6.6 ft (1.9-2 m). Females are usually shorter than males. They're bigger than horned vipers measuring 12-24 in (30–60 cm).

How fast can a black-headed bushmaster move?

These pit vipers mostly remain concealed within the thick vegetative covers of forests and are therefore difficult to trace. Due to inadequate data, the average speed limit of the species remains a mystery that needs some research. However, the snake is known to be extremely agile in its reflexes.

How much does a black-headed bushmaster weigh?

The average weight of the species is not known owing to deficient research data. However, at birth, the neonates weigh around 0.16 lb (72.9 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Just like all other snakes, the males and females of the species are referred to as male and female snakes.

What would you call a baby black-headed bushmaster?

The babies of black-headed bushmasters are called snakelets or neonates.

What do they eat?

The species is known to indulge in a carnivorous diet comprising small mammals like rabbits and rats, amphibians, and perhaps a few reptiles. They do not search for or pursue their prey, rather they ambush them.

Are they poisonous?

The most important question remains, does Black-headed Bushmaster bite or how deadly is its bite? Bushmasters are considered to be one of the most venomous snake species in the entire world. A few specimens of the black-headed bushmaster venom have a mortality rate of 80% among humans.

It is potent enough to kill any animal that dares to cross paths with it. A black-headed bushmaster snake bite can actually be fatal. Undoubtedly, the species is hailed as one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.

Would they make a good pet?

Absolutely not! This species is known to be highly poisonous. Regardless of its behavior, it mustn't be reared as a pet, especially when children or other pet animals or birds are around.

Did you know...

All species of bushmasters have the reputation of being the largest and one of the deadliest pit vipers in the world.

Why are they called black-headed bushmasters?

The word 'melanocephala' has been derived from the Greek terms 'melanos' and 'kephalos' implying 'black' and 'head' respectively. Since the black-headed bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) has heavy black-colored pigmentations on the crown of its head, it is locally termed as Plato Negro.

Are they aggressive?

Although you might not find the black-headed bushmasters aggressive at all times primarily because they prefer to maintain a safe distance from human society, they can discharge violent attacks at the slightest hint of danger.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our sand lizard facts and black mamba facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing from one of our free printable snake coloring pages.

Costa Rica Panama

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >