Bothriechis lateralis

These slender and arboreal, also called palm-pitviper, occur mainly in Central America

Patrick Gijsbers

Bothriechis lateralis


These slender and arboreal, also called palm-pitviper, occur mainly in Central America


These snakes are renowned for their potent hemotoxic venom, which can cause severe tissue damage and even death if left untreated. Found predominantly in Mexico and various parts of Central America, they inhabit diverse habitats ranging from dense rainforests to montane cloud forests.

One of the distinguishing features of Bothriechis lateralis is its arboreal nature, meaning it spends much of its time in the trees. However, unlike some other arboreal species, these vipers can also be encountered on the forest floor, particularly in areas with thick leaf litter. This behavior makes them adept ambush predators, capable of striking swiftly at unsuspecting prey from their concealed positions.

The emerald green coloration of Bothriechis lateralis serves as excellent camouflage against the lush green vegetation of their habitat, allowing them to blend seamlessly into their surroundings and evade detection by potential predators and prey alike. Additionally, some individuals may exhibit variations in coloration, including shades of green, yellow, or brown, further enhancing their camouflage capabilities.

Interestingly, there is variation in the behavior of Bothriechis lateralis populations across different altitudes. Snakes inhabiting higher elevations tend to be more active during the day, or diurnal, while those at lower elevations are predominantly nocturnal. This behavioral adaptation may be influenced by factors such as temperature, prey availability, and competition with other species.


Population est.
Costa Rica

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No