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Dusky Lancehead

Bothrops Pulchra


Formerly Bothriopsis pulchra, this snake is also called the Andean Forest Pitviper, Loros mashaco in Spanish and Nashipkit in Achuar. It is a small slender tree viper. It has remarkable colors mixing green, black, cinnamon brown and yellow in mixed bands the length of the body. The venter is white with some black markings. They can measure up to 70-75 cm. This one was only 48 cm long.


This is a tree viper and is rarely seen on the ground. Although not listed as rare or endangered (not evaluated by IUCN Red List), it is seldom seen, partly because of its arboreal habitat and partly because of the camouflage provided with the mix of colors. It is found in the Amazon rainforest of Southeastern Columbia, Eastern Ecuador and Northern Peru. As with all the vipers in the New World except the Bushmaster (Lachesis muta), the B. pulchra gives live birth.


The species name "pulchra" is from the Latin "pulcher" which means "beautiful," which it truly is. Deadly, but beautiful. It is one of the "lancehead" vipers, which automatically identifies it with an aggressive nature if threatened. I believe this is a first on PN. Cool.

No species ID suggestions


Tukup a day ago

Yes, the family of Lancehead snakes here all have "the look." As they say, "If looks could kill." Thanks Neil.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 days ago

What a handsome yet sinister-looking snake. I wish I could muster that look. Beautiful spotting, Tukup.

Tukup 2 days ago

Hi again Bobbit. I have been working with The Vivarium in Quito for over 25 years and have a 15,000 fotos of the 80+ species we have found here in Morona Santiago and Pastaza. There are only 8 species of viper and 6 of corals, so if they don't have the pit between the eye and nose, and they don't have bands, they aren't venomous. I have a copy of The Venemous Reptiles of Latin America by Jonathan Campell & William Lamar. It is the best printed source for identification of the venomous snakes in Ecuador. Looking on the internet here are a couple sites that may help:

Bobbit 2 days ago

I live between Yantzaza and Zamora. I would love to know of a resource that would show me which of the snakes here are venomous, or if you would happen to know. Thanks

Tukup a month ago

Thanks Mel. One of the rarer snakes I've found.

Mel11 a month ago

What a lovely snake. The markings give its skin a very unusual textured look. Thank you for showing us.

Tukup a month ago

I have over 70 more species to share but think I probably dumped an awfully lot of pictures here all at once when I started, so am trying to not overwhelm anyone who is interested. Thanks. They are, obviously, my favorites.

I love all your snakes... : ) Thank you for sharing.

Tukup a month ago

Thanks António. They are pretty cool.

Awesome spotting Tukup,very rare one,congrats and thanks for sharing

Brian38 a month ago

Thank you very much Tukup!

Tukup a month ago

Hi Brian. Yes, they are amazing. Out of over 5,000 snakes I've catalogued in our area, I've only come across 7 of these. One of the least encountered. The tail is not flat but comes to a point as with all lanceheads (foto #2). I see where you could think that from the first foto. As a treesnake they feed on frogs, lizards, birds and mice or tree opossums, some of which are really small. I can't say that they are nocturnal, but "most" of the Bothrops Genus are.

Brian38 a month ago

Wow Tukup! An amazing viper! First time spotting on Project Noah I believe. It appears the end of the tail is flattened? I'm curious are these nocturnal hunters and what is on there menu? I noticed Wikipedia only had limited info.on this species.

Morona Santiago, Ecuador

Lat: -2.15, Long: -77.69

Spotted on Oct 26, 2009
Submitted on Feb 24, 2019

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