fer-de-lance (fĕrˌ-də-lănsˈ) [key], highly poisonous snake, Bothrops atrox, found in tropical South America and the West Indies. A pit viper, related to the bushmaster and the rattlesnake, it has heat-sensitive organs on the head for detecting its warm-blooded prey. Usually about 5 to 6 ft (150–180 cm) long, the fer-de-lance may reach a maximum length of about 9 ft (3 m). It is gray or brown with light stripes and dark diamond markings and has a yellow throat. Common throughout most of its range, it causes many human fatalities. It is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Crotalidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on fer-de-lance from Fact Monster:

  • viper - viper viper, any of a large number of heavy-bodied, poisonous snakes of the family Viperidae, ...
  • pit viper - pit viper pit viper, poisonous snake of the family Crotalidae, primarily a New World family. Like ...
  • snake, in zoology: Types of Snakes - Types of Snakes The approximately 2,700 snake species, of which about four fifths are nonvenomous, ...
  • venom - venom venom or zootoxin,any of a variety of poisonous substances produced by animals. In poisonous ...
  • Encyclopedia: Vertebrate Zoology - Encyclopeadia articles concerning Vertebrate Zoology.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Vertebrate Zoology

Play Hangman

Play Poptropica

Play Quizzes

Play Tic Tac Toe