kids encyclopedia robot

Lachesis (genus) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Lachesis muta muta.jpg
A South American bushmaster, Lachesis muta
Scientific classification

Lachesis, also known as the "bushmasters", is a genus of venomous Pit vipers found in forests of Central and South America. The name "Lachesis" is also the name of one of the Three Fates in Greek mythology. There are currently three species found.


Adult bushmasters can grow up to the length of 2 meters (6.5 ft) to 2.5 meters (8.25 ft), but there have been some which have grown up to the length of 3 meters (10 ft). The largest one ever found was 3.65 meters (12 ft) long, making the bushmasters the longest venomous snakes in the Western Hemisphere and the longest vipers in the world. They are not the heaviest vipers in the world, but adults usually weigh up to 3 to 5 kg (6.6 to 11 Ib).

Where they live

Bushmasters are found in forest areas of Central and South America. They are also found on the island Trinidad


Bushmasters are oviparous: they lay eggs. This makes bushmasters different to other pit vipers found in the New World, because other pit vipers are viviparous, they give live birth instead of laying eggs. A female can lay around a dozen eggs at a time. The female stays with her eggs until they have hatched and may attack any predator that comes near the nest.


The bushmasters are one of the largest and dangerous snakes in South America, and can inject a large amount of venom into their enemies. Even young bushmaster's bites are harmful, but bushmasters are nocturnal (they are active at night), so not a lot of people have been bitten by them.


  • Black-headed bushmaster, L. melanocephala
  • South American bushmaster, L. muta
  • Central American bushmaster, L. stenophrys
kids search engine
Lachesis (genus) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.