Ohh, I’m Scared!
Boy o boy, so many people are terrified by snakes. Really it is quite awful that we have been bred or brainwashed to hate those reptiles. Some have an unfounded reputation for bites which have translated to all snakes becoming scary. The United States usually reports, on average, only five deaths per year. That is a surprisingly low number. This is mainly due to emergent medical care coupled with anti-venom being readily available or transportable. The same goes for Costa Rica which also has a ready supply of anti-venom and clinics and hospitals all over the country. Really, we should all be afraid of coconuts because they are savagely killing nearly 100 (Yes! 100) people a year worldwide. How come the coconut doesn’t have such a terrifying reputation?
Costa Rica has just over 130 species of snakes. They live in each of the climate zones throughout the entire country. However, there are only seventeen venomous species. There are the bushmasters (a type of pit viper), a host of pit vipers, the Fer-de-Lance, rattlesnakes, coral’s, and a sea snake. Yes, they have all been known to bite humans at one time or another, mostly the victims are farm workers not casual tourists on beaten trails. If someone steps on me I just might bite. No, the millions of annual visitors rarely ever have a snake encounter. Personally, I am a nature nerd and roughly 200 days a year I am out in the woods shooting photos of birds, bugs, reptiles, mammals, and everything else and I usually only see one or two snakes a year. All of the other non-venemous species here in Costa Rica are quite benign. Some do have venom but it is a venom that is akin to ants, wasps, and bees. The worse that can happen from a bite of a non-venemous snake is an infection at the wound site.
An Important Role
Snakes have a very important role to play in the ecosystem. They have venom to immobilise and digest their prey items. They have an important job of keeping rodent populations at bay. Those animals are the ones that carry many diseases that are very harmful to humans. So if you happen to see a venomous snake in the wild take a moment and enjoy it’s beauty than slowly and calmly take a few steps back.
Remember, reptiles here in Avellanas, Playa Negra, and Junquillal are active all the time because there is no cold weather.
All photos subject to copyright by Larry Graziano. They may not be reproduced without expressed consent.
Pictured here are the Common Road Guarder Snake, immature Brown Vine Snake, adult Brown Vine Snake, and an immature Fer-de-Lance.