My friend took me to Viborana Serpentarium which made me very happy. The gentleman there has been working with reptiles for 45 years and is researching the effect of climate change on snakes in the area. He gave a nice presentation beforehand where he talked about how the lack of rainfall is affecting the lives and reproduction of certain snakes. Also how burning of the sugar cane fields ruins the livelihoods of boa constrictors because they live in armadillo tunnels. When they burn the fields, they either kill the ‘dillos or they move out so now the snakes have no food because the mice and rats are also gone. He is trying to educate people about the benefits that snakes can bring.
For example, this sweet little slug eating snake was being killed in a field where people were growing lettuce. The slugs were destroying the crops but little did the people know that this is a slug eating snake! So instead of using pesticides, they needed to stop killing the snakes. I had the opportunity to hang on to this little one most of the time. What’s interesting about it was its head looked as if it were a viper because of the typical diamond shape to it, but it wasn’t. It was so sweet…he said it never bites or is aggressive. Then he brought out an adorable cat eye snake. Check out those peepers!
They’re nocturnal and hunt sleeping lizards and insects. They’re very long and thin, often resembling a small branch so they sneak up on their prey (albeit easy to do when they’re asleep!). This one also had a bit of a triangle shape to its head but not as prominent as the slug eater. They are slightly venomous but have rear fangs and probably not do any harm to a person. These two got along just fine and as is the norm with me, calmed down on my shoulders after a while. I wanted to cuddle with them ALL DAY!! Ha!
I also got to take a closeup picture of a fairly large bushmaster in its enclosure although the pictures didn’t come out well due to the light. I did take a video of it though!
He brought out quite a few venomous snakes including this little jumping viper which is almost extinct due to habitat loss and climate change. He said this one was super skinny and he’s nursed it back to health. The good thing about this place is that he will release most of these back into the wild. He’s also hoping to breed some of the rare ones and put them out there too. That was good to know. You can watch a quick video of it here.
He also brought out the cute eyelash viper, named that because of the little scales above the eyes which resemble eyelashes. The mottled design on its skin was unbelievable. You’d never see this one in the wild!
We also got to see a baby Fer de lance which is one of the most deadly snakes around. It was sitting on top of a dead cecropia leaf and I didn’t even SEE it! He said they like high humidity so when these leaves die and fall to the ground, they curl up inside of them. So be very careful when in the jungle or wherever these trees may be as you could have a surprise if you kicked or stepped on one (if you didn’t kill it by doing that).
He showed me a fang of a bushmaster which can get up to 2 inches long. Yikes.
Oh, I also did a video on the two cuties around my neck for anyone interested located here. I mistakenly called it a cat eye viper…not sure where I was on that one…it is not a viper. Also, the slugs were in a patch of lettuce, not on the macadamia farm. The last creature to make an appearance was the cute red eyed tree frog! These guys seem to be the symbol of Costa Rica. I can’t say I’ve ever seen one in the wild so it was really cool to be able to take pictures and watch it for a while. They need high humidity and he said they would turn dark green when they were lacking that. So since we didn’t have much time with it, I took as many pictures as I could. You can see a video of it here walking on the leaf.