Cape Fear Serpentarium &

Ripa Ecologica

Lachesis melanocephala

The blackheaded bushmaster is one of two heavy-bodied Central American forms, reaching lengths about 9 feet and weights of over 20 lbs.  This species is unique for its light ground color and stark blue-black head markings.  These extremely rare animals have been seen by few herpetologists in the wild.

Dean Ripa was the first breeder to reproduce Lachesis melanocephala in captivity.  Experienced keepers can purchase captive born specimens by contacting


From Dean Ripa's book


Few other creatures so inspire within the residuum of our instinctsówithin the inherited associations that cling about all processes that are unpredictable and mysteriousóthe ancestral fixation of what must have been for eons man's greatest fearóbeing murdered by a wild animal.  Even the name "Lachesis" honoring one of the Greek fates ("the slender thread on which life hangs") exudes the romantic aura of the unknown.