Snakes are one of the most under-studied vertebrates in the world.
snakes play a critical part in our tropical ecosystem.
Some serve as predators that regulate mammal and insect populations ... while others fuel the energetic needs of their predators as prey themselves. To put it simply, the “food web” of nature is not functional without snakes.
Over 40 unique species of snakes have been observed on the Osa Peninsula, representing an amazing diversity of species of many colors and sizes. From the mountains down to the sea, these creatures occupy all vertical strata from subterranean to the arboreal habitats in the highest canopies. Many snakes are covert, difficult to detect, and considered increasingly rare to actually observe in the wild.
With their natural habitat size decreasing due to human encroachment and sustained persecution of snakes, herpetologists have become increasingly concerned about the state of snakes in the world. So much is still to be learned about this misunderstood creatures — our goal for Osa Snakes is to conduct a general inventory of species’ distributions in the area. Beyond this, we'd like to better understand elements and clues about their natural history, in an effort to base recommendations for their conservation and management of remaining refuge habitats.
Currently, our group is involved with understanding the status and ecology of
the Black-headed Bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) on the Pacific side of the Osa
Peninsula. We also conduct focused research on species of local interest and in need of immediate conservation efforts.
Photo: Black-headed Bushmaster [Credit to Marcello Carvajal]