The “ULTIMATE” snake. The bushmasters are so unique that they have developed a mystique and aura all of their own. Their local Spanish name ‘Matabuey’ or literally “ox killer” is no less a myth. The bushmaster is so secretive and specific in its habits and habitat requirements that virtually little was known about them until the ground breaking studies of Dr. Harry Greene in the early 1980’s, breeding projects at the Dallas Zoo in the late 1980’s and the subsequent breeding and husbandry successes of Dean Ripa in the 1990’s. Prior to this, the only herpetologist with any substantial experience with Lachesis was Ray Ditmars, curator of the former NY Zoological Park (now WCS/Bronx Zoo). There was a notion that, these animals were unable to be successfully raised in captivity. Even today, they are still considered one of the most difficult snakes to keep in captivity, especially in terms of breeding success. Only a fortunate few have ever observed them in the wild, especially the rare black-headed bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) confined to Southwestern Costa Rica (Osa Peninsula).

Pictures from our collection:


South American bushmasters (Lachesis m. muta)

Female #1

Captive born from a WC imported female, our 5.5 year old 2m female, is also from Sipalawini District, Suriname. She is currently on breeding loan at the Cape Fear Serpentarium, Wilmington, NC.

UPDATE: OUR FEMALE LAID 10 EGGS ON 7/21/2007!!!!!! Eggs hatched on 10/12-10/13

Hatchling Lachesis Muta

UPDATE: A recent pic of one of the 2007 hatchlings taken on August 16th, 2009, now nearly 1.5 meters long.


Female #2

This female was Captive born at the Dallas Zoo in 2001. She was placed in quarantine on August 17, 2007 and was sent on Breeding loan to Cape Fear Serpentarium in late 2007.

UPDATE: FEMALE #2 LAID 8 EGGS ON 5/7/2008!!!!!! 7 Eggs hatched on 7/29/08 with 1 stillborn.

Hatchling Lachesis muta offspring from female #2

Central American (Panamanian) bushmasters (Lachesis stenophrys)


This is our newly acquired hatchling Panamanian bushmaster, produced by Dean Ripa at the Cape Fear Serpentarium in September 2008. This yellowish phase is characteristic of Panamanian bushmasters. The locale of these snakes is the Chagres River in Panama.

Costa Rican

These are our newly acquired hatchling Costa Rican bushmasters, produced in Costa Rica. They are from near Siquirres, Limon Province on the Caribe side of Costa Rica.

Hybrid Bushmasters (Lachesis melanocephala x stenophrys)

A 7 year old, 2m+ male. This snake is now over 7ft. long and weighed 18 1/4lbs on June 14, 2008.

All Pictures Copyright Matabuey.com/Matt Harris. Unauthorized use without expressed written consent is prohibited. Please contact us for reprint permission.


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