Meeting Peru's most venomous residents


RP Team

May 21, 2024

Peru is the third largest country in South America, with a population of over 32 million people. What most non-residents don't know, is that Peru is also home to more than 40 species of venomous snakes. Present in nearly all regions, encounters with these potentially deadly reptiles is actually quite common.

Pablo Venegas, Rainforest Partnership's chief herpetologist, has conducted multiple expeditions to the remote Andean regions of Peru, but unlike others, he actually goes searching for these snakes. Getting to know the animals that make their home in the rainforest is one of the primary goals for Pablo and his team (no matter how poisonous their venom might be!).

Handling these snakes to obtain DNA samples for research isa risky task that is only enhanced given their remote research locations and distance to the nearest medical assistance. Sometimes, reaching a medical center required a 10-hour hike, or even a three-day walk.

Therefore, to prevent accidents, Pablo needs to handle these animals with the right tools, like snake tubes.

During a field herpetology course conducted in September 2023, Pablo encountered a venomous snake, which he safely contained in a tube and was able to examine it in detail with the students.

These transparent plastic tubes allow researchers to gently guide the snake halfway in, and manipulate it safely for both human and reptile. Once inside the tube, research can perform actions like counting scales, taking morphological data, and even collecting blood samples without overly stressing the snakes.

Continued study of reptiles in Peru.

We are grateful for these incredible scientists who continue to pursue new ways to study, understand, and sometimes even discover, species that are new to us.