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Photo of the Week: The Silent Fate

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This snake is capable of multi-bite strikes, and even the venom of a juvenile can be fatal.

Bushmaster

Posted November 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Doug Hotle/ABQ BioPark.

The bushmaster, also known as the ‘silent fate’ (from its Latin name Lachesis muta), is a South American viper known for its elusive nature and potentially deadly venom. Found in tropical forests and dense jungles, the bushmaster is the largest viper on Earth, capable of growing longer than 12 feet.

Despite its size, the snake’s brown and black mottling helps it hide under fallen logs and leaves. Like most pit vipers, the bushmaster uses two heat-sensing pits under the snout to find prey. Although the bushmaster prefers to avoid predators, it will bite in self-defense and has venom potent enough to kill a human.

The BioPark cares for the bushmaster and other venomous snakes, and collects venom to help research medicinal cures for debilitating diseases like cancer.

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