Lachesis muta

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Range and habitat:
The bushmaster is native to the Amazon basin of South America, where it is found in tropical lowland rainforest and moist montane forest.

Natural diet:
This species eats small mammals and birds.

Size / weight range:
The maximum known size for the bushmaster is over 12 feet, making this the largest viper in the world.

Interesting Facts:
The bushmaster is a pitviper that has two heat sensing pits on its face. The heat sensing pits are used to detect warm blooded prey and direct predatory strikes. The bushmaster has an unusual tail that ends with distinctive spine-like scales that are lighter colored than the rest of the body. This adaptation may be used for producing sound in defense or as a lure that attracts prey.

The venom of the bushmaster is less toxic than many other snakes, but it produces large quantities and has very long fangs making it a very dangerous animal. Fatal bites are not uncommon.

The bushmaster is one of the few pitvipers that lays eggs. Females have been observed coiled around their eggs during incubation. This provides substantial protection from potential egg eating predators.

Location at The Toledo Zoo:
The Reptile House

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