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Eyelash Viper

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Is the Eyelash Viper right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Eyelash Mountain Viper; Eyelash Pit Viper; Schlegel's Viper; Schlegel's Palm Viper; Eyelash Snake; Horned Palm Viper

Scientific name: Bothriechis schlegelii

The basics:
Beautiful coloration, small size, unique “eyelashes”, and a mistaken belief that the Eyelash Viper is not dangerously-venomous have rendered this arboreal beauty very popular in some private snake-keeping circles. However, as is true for all venomous snakes, it is not suitable for other than zoo collections.

The Eyelash Viper ranges from southern Mexico, through Central America to western Venezuela, Columbia and Peru.

Nocturnal and highly arboreal, it is found in trees and vine tangles within rainforests, plantations, and river-side thickets.

Appearance / health:
Distinctive, spiny scales over the eyes give rise to the common name. The ground color varies greatly, and may be gold, reddish-gold, yellow or various shades of gray, brown or green, and is sometimes spotted with red and/or black. Young of several colors may be born to the same female. Adults reach18-24 inches in length.

Zoo specimens have reached age 20+. They do not thrive in arid environments, but if kept overly-damp are subject to skin and respiratory ailments.

Behavior / temperament:
Eyelash Vipers have the typical long strike range of arboreal snakes, and remain high-strung and resentful of disturbances in captivity.

Housing:
Venomous snake species are not suitable as pets in private collections. It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.

Diet:
The wild diet includes mouse opossums, bats, birds, lizards and frogs. Zoo animals are fed small mice.

Breeding:
Eyelash Vipers breed at irregular intervals throughout the year, with some females giving birth twice within 7-8 months. The young, 6-22 in number, are born alive after a gestation period of 120-150 days.

Written by Frank Indiviglio