April 2005

Thanks for your mail-and the magnificent idea (of sending photo cards with pictures of the animals) to donors. If you really want to do this, I am very happy about it — maybe we could send people a picture of their favorite animal.

Right now I’m sending snake pictures taken this morning. The snake, a lance head specie, was on a tree I always hold on to, when I go to feed the parrots.

Last week Roxie and her friend Sonia (the “Jaguar Ladies”) came to visit us, and they brought a tool to catch snakes. It was easier to catch this way. ,I just took some pictures and then we released it a bit further away from the animals.


MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERALance head reptiles, including the fer-de-lance, are the most dangerous snakes of Central and South America. On average, a fer-de-lance injects 105mg of venom in one bite. The fatal dose for a human is 50mg.

The fer-de-lance is a ground-living snake, though it is able to climb and swim. Its natural habitat is forest, but it is often found on plantations and in run-down houses, as it can find a ready supply of rats and mice there. This unfortunately brings it into contact with humans. It will usually flee if disturbed, but can also defend itself vigorously, striking as soon as an enemy is within reach.

It is a member of the group of snakes known as pit vipers. Like other pit vipers it has two indentations or ‘pits’ behind and above the nostrils which can detect a rise or drop in temperature of just 0.001 degrees C, allowing it to detect warm-blooded mammals. These ‘pits’, coupled with its tongue to ‘taste’ the air, allow the fer-de-lance to strike with great accuracy even in total darkness.

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