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Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
Sea snakes
Terrestrial snakes
Miscellaneous animals
North America
Mexico and Central America
South America and the West Indies
North Africa, Near and Middle East
Central and Southern Africa
The Far East
Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Australia and the Pacific Islands



Atropoides spp., Jumping pitvipers

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below

formerly genus Bothrops or Porthidium


  • 1. Atropoides indomitus
  • 2. Atropoides mexicanus
  • 3. Atropoides nummifer
  • 4. Atropoides occiduus
  • 5. Atropoides olmec
  • 6. Atropoides picadoi


A. mexicanus and A. occiduus have been considered subspecies of A. nummifer.


Serpentes; Viperidae; Crotalinae

Common names

Jumping pitvipers

  • 2. Central American jumping pitviper
  • 3. Mexican jumping pitviper
  • 4. Guatemalan jumping pitviper
  • 5. Tuxtlan jumping pitviper
  • 6. Picado's jumping pitviper


From Mexico, southward through Central America to Panama. See link "Distribution" at the top of the page for detailed informations.


Usually live in mesic habitats ranging from rainforest to cloud forest. A. occiduus found seasonally in dry pine and dry pine/oak forests. Found from sea level up to 1,800 or 2,000 m.  A. occiduus and A. olmec are restricted to upland habitats, whereas A. nummifer, A. picadoi and A. mexicanus are mostly found above 1,000 m but may also be seen almost at sea level.
All members are extremely stout-bodied and ground-dwelling, A. picadoi being the most slender species of the group. Large head with broadly rounded snout and small eyes. A. picadoi is the biggest species and may reach a length of over 1 m.
Basic colouring most often grey-brown or reddish-brown, sometimes also black. Dark post-ocular stripe, zigzag pattern along the dorsal part of the body, smaller lateral blotches. Lowland populations may be active during the day and the night, whereas upland populations tend to be active during the day only.
Juveniles of all species have a yellow tail tip (lure).


These snakes usually retain their grip after striking and sometimes inject more venom by a chewing action.

The larger species such as A. picadoi and A. nummifer are potentially more dangerous, but it seems that bites occur only rarely. A. nummifer bites are believed to have claimed several lives (Jutzy et al. 1953, Sass 1979).

Literature (biological)

Campbell and Lamar 2004, Smith and Ferrari-Castro 2008