The fer-de-lance's name means 'spearhead' in French.  It is the most dangerous snake of Central and South America, and causes more human deaths than any other American reptile.


Fer De Lance Habits


This is mainly done at night, though it will move around at any time and small mammals are the usual prey. When it is about to strike, it rears up, with its head and upper body forming an 'S' shape. It is able to strike so fast that it is nearly impossible to see it move from the 'S' position. It swiftly injects a lethal dose of poison, then retreats to wait for the venom to work. When the prey is dead, the snake locates it by following its scent trail. It can then eat the prey at leisure.

After mating, the female retains the young inside her body, moving in and out of the sun to keep the embryos at a constant temperature. The 50-80 live young each measure about 30cm at birth, and are brighter in colour than their parents, with yellow or beige tails. They feed themselves on frogs and lizards, and actively climb trees, but lose this habit in adulthood.

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