Within seconds, my heart started racing. Affiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador. A red stain was spreading across the grey fabric covering my instep. Two doctors, Dr. Wu and Dr. Nunoz, checked my condition frequently. Cutting a path would have given the couple clues about where to go and offered them an easier path. In Ecuador, it occurs at elevations between 0 and 1642 m. Figure 2: Distribution of Bothrops asper in Ecuador. I jumped away from the tree and looked back. The snake bit him in defense. After one more cleaning operation on my foot, Clinica Biblica released me on April 5. It felt as though we all had just stepped out of a hot shower. Those are called Bothreichis. 2007. But the reconstructive surgery I needed would be better in the U.S, especially where I’m from—Hollywood. Workers there are often bitten by the snakes, which can lie camouflaged for hours, nearly undetectable, and strike with high speed. Although generally terrestrial, it is also an excellent swimmer and even climbs trees when necessary to reach prey. At one point, I worried the location was going to be too easy on the pair of survivalists. It was maybe eight feet away from me. Updated July 15, 2020. Published April 11, 2020. Nurses put me on a gurney. Distribution: Bothrops asper is native to the Neotropical lowlands and adjacent mountainous areas from Mexico to northwestern Peru. The belly may be white, cream or yellowish gray, with an increasing amount of gray to black mottling posteriorly that may fade again under the tail. It does, however, usually have a variety of parasitic worms.2,33, They donât.1 In fact, in the case of the Terciopelo, there is evidence that the snakes actively avoid developed areas.12 They do, however, follow their prey, mostly rodents.12 Therefore, vipers such as the Fer-de-Lance are common where rat populations have exploded.5, With a lethal dose of LD50 1.9â11.2 mg/kg, the venom of the Fer-de-Lance is considered âextremely toxic.â35,36 In poorly managed or untreated human envenomations, the venom may cause permanent complications and disabilities in 6% of cases, and death in 5â7% of cases.47â49. Natural history: Generally frequentRecorded weekly in densities below five individuals per locality. Clinical Toxicology. “Snake,” I yelled. It felt something like a throbbing concrete block. The trouble was, every time I stood up, the pain from the swelling took hold. We were moving vines and constantly tripping, but we couldn’t machete our way through the undergrowth.  In Bolivia it is called Yoperojobobo. What to do if you are bitten by a Fer-de-Lance? It got stronger. Their preferred habitats comprise most of moist environments situated in low to mid elevations around 2,000 feet (600 m) for example tropical … When human tissue gets digested and bleeds abnormally, the result is tissue death. On the head, the rostral scale is about as high, or slightly higher, than it is wide. Thirty minutes later, I was at a hospital in San Jose. I tried to think positive. A terrestrial species, adults usually grow to a total length 75–125 cm (about 30-50 inches) and are moderately heavy-bodied. Bothrops asper (common names Terciopelo [English], Cuatro Narices [Spanish], and often called the fer-de-lance among many other colloquial names, but see discussion under common names below) is a highly venomous pit viper species, ranging in distribution from southern Mexico to northern South America.They are found in a wide range of lowland habitats, often near human habitations. I felt a painful burning sensation in my left foot. Soini (1974) mentioned of a series of 80 specimens collected in northeastern Peru, the largest was a female of 138.8 cm (4.55 ft). Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. Bleeding prey loses blood and blood pressure so that it cannot perfuse its muscles and brain, which causes it to stop running at a distance that is not too far for the snake to recover. The fer-de-lance, known in Spanish as barba amarilla (“yellow chin”), is a pit viper (subfamily Crotalinae)—i.e., distinguished by a small sensory pit between each eye and nostril. The biggest lesson from this story is that getting to an appropriate hospital and antivenom as quickly and safely as possible, as was done in this case, can save your life. By April Fool’s Day, one week after the initial bite, the blisters popped and the resulting wounds began festering. A woman played happy birthday for me on a flute. These blotches may oppose or alternate across the midline, often fusing to form bands. 38,39,59, For example, the protein similarities between the venom of two populations of Fer-de-Lance in Costa Rica may only be around 52%. It is the minium dosage of venom that will lead to the deaths of 50% of the tested population. Most deaths occur in tropical regions of Asia and Africa, where farmers and children in rural communities experience increased exposure to bites and reduced access to proper healthcare and antivenom. “Agressive” is a misnomer for snake behavior toward humans; “defensive” is more accurate. My leg continued to swell for the next five or six days. In a case reported in the Brazilian Amazon, symptoms such as pain and ecchymoses, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypertension and blood incoagulability were reported, the patient died of stroke, even after administration of the antivenom. and SebastiÃ¡n Di DomÃ©nico. In general, however, the body pattern consists of a series of dorsolateral blotches, rectangular or trapezoidal in shape, which extend from the first scale row to the middle of the back.  As a result, clotting assays such as prothrombin time and aPTT will be highly disturbed. , The common lancehead was one of the many reptile and amphibian species described by Carl Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name Coluber atrox. The crew stayed calm, organized, and disciplined. We made our way slowly as early morning temps hit the low 80s. It’s also located in the northern regions of South America. The Indians insist that the nauhyaca does not confine itself to biting when assaulted, but that it boldly attacks pedestrians, and even precipitates itself into boats coasting along the banks of a river. “A fer-de-lance,” he said. The median lethal dose (LD50) is a measure of venom strength. More than 90 percent of those struck receive a significant dose of venom. Spontaneous recovery from coagulopathy is seen 14 to 30 hours after bite according to a study performed in French Guiana. All told, it took two hours to get from the bite site to the hospital. At the medical facility, personnel can initiate treatment with the appropriate antivenom, monitor vital signs, and perform laboratory tests. Maybe it was just a warning shot. , The scalation includes 23-29 (usually 23-25) rows of dorsal scales at midbody, 169-214 and 177-214 ventral scales in males and females, respectively, 52-86 (usually 75 or fewer) subcaudal scales in males, which are usually divided, and 47-72 subcaudals in females. Is the Fer-de-Lance the most venomous snake? After about twenty minutes of hiking with two guys holding onto my shoulders to support me, we hit a trail.  The type locality is listed as "Asia", which is obviously a mistake. In Ecuador, the Central American Lancehead (Bothrops asper) may be identified by having a triangular-shaped head with a snout that is not upturned, heat-sensing pits between the eyes and nostrils, and a dorsal pattern of 14â28 pale X-shaped markings on a brownish dorsum.1,2 Newborn lanceheads have brightly-colored tail tips (yellowish in males and pink/whitish in females).3 In Ecuador, the most similar species that may be found living alongside B. asper are B. punctatus and B. osbornei, which are identified by their dark brown trapezoidal blotches or spots arranged in such a way that they form squares.4 The Ecuadorian Toadhead (Bothrocophias campbelli) has an upturned snout and comparatively much smaller eyes.5 The hognosed-pitvipers (genus Porthidium) have an upturned snout and a stout body.  In Peru, it is called aroani (Yagua), cascabel (juveniles), ihdóni (Bora), jergón, jergona, jergón de la selva, macánchi (Alto Marañón), machacú, marashar and nashipkit (Aguaruna names). On the morning of March 23 at 8:00 A.M., I hiked into the tropical forest in the Heredia province of Costa Rica with three other members of our production crew, a local guide named Gerhard, and a local wildlife expert named Pomipilio. The guys built a makeshift stretcher out of branches, backpacks, and ponchos. The fer-de-lance, a pit viper that can reach lengths of up to six feet, is responsible for more than half of all venomous bites in the lowlands of Central America. “Try not to let the venom spread too quickly.”, Someone took off my boot. When he stepped into the snake's strike range, the snake felt threatened and instinctively struck him. to extremely commonLikely to be seen every day, usually in large numbers., especially in areas where prey is abundant, such as swamps,6 streams, and near mammal burrows,7 but uncommon in cold, pristine cloudforests.5 Bothrops asper inhabits old-growth to heavily disturbed evergreen to deciduous lowland and foothill forests, savannas, plantations (cacao, coffee, banana, and African palm), pastures, rural gardens, and even human dwellings.8â10 It also occurs, but is less abundant, in drier areas such as dry shrublands.7,10 During dry periods, individuals actively seek wetter spots near creeks and streams.2, Throughout the day, Central American Lanceheads typically remain coiled in the forest floor11 (usually close to logs, large trees, or clusters of dense vegetation)2 or sheltered in holes, below logs, or among roots,2,9 but others remain out in the open, basking in direct sunlight12,13 or moving at ground level.9,14 Within about an hour of sunset, most individuals emerge from their hideouts and move (usually less than 10 m) to their nocturnal ambush sites;12 others may remain hidden for 3â6 days, especially after a meal.6 During nights when the ambient temperature is ideal (21â31 Â°C),15 the vipers spend an average of 37 minutes moving, but they move less during cold nights.12 Although mostly sedentary, individuals can occasionally move up to 1.2 km in two nights.2 Individuals of Bothrops asper usually dwell on soil or leaf litter, but also sit-and-wait on the surface of slow-moving bodies of water,9 swim across rivers,12 or forage on arboreal vegetation up to 7 m above the ground.16,17 Overall, there is a tendency for juveniles to be more arboreal than adults.18,19 The home range size of the Fer-de-Lance is 0.59â13.81 ha (about the size of 1â19 soccer fields).12, Central American Lanceheads are ambush predators.12 They wait for prey to pass by. How to cite? The fer-de-lance, Bothrops atrox, is cryptically colored so that it blends almost invisibly against the rainforest floor. It is common for a large fer-de-lance bite to lead to this sort of reaction.