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5 Things to Know About Being Bitten By A Viper

Central American Bushmaster


February 5, 2016

Sean O’Donnell is a member of the white fang club — which is to say that he’s one of a group of biologists whose been bitten by a venomous snake and lived to tell the tale.

In 2009, O’Donnell, PhD, now an associate department head of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) in Drexel’s College of Arts and Science, was involved in a program teaching tropical field courses for undergraduates in a lowland rain forest in Costa Rica. It was there, two years before he came to Drexel, that he was initiated to the club via a Central American bushmaster.

Bushmasters are the longest venomous snakes found in the western hemisphere, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Their venom is deadly, killing more than half of the people who suffer bites, and their genus, Lachesis, is actually derived from the name of one of the mythological Greek Fates — specifically the one who determined how long a person’s life lasted.

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