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Jun 1 / Michael

Live-blogging “Nature’s Deadliest: Brazil”


The jararaca . . . But I do not want to bleed out my eyes!

Once again, the Discovery Channel is the gift that keeps on giving. First up, the anaconda.

Anaconda
The Sir Mix-a-Lot line “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun” is not true of all anacondas. Most anacondas will eat bunless prey, constricting it and then swallowing it in one, long bite.

Killer bees
Brazil is where it all got started. African bees were cross-bred with domestic honey bees, got lose, and got their sting on.

Jararaca
Averaging only three feet, this brown snake is not particularly aggressive BUT it likes to live in human habitats. Its venom is a powerful anti-coagulant. “Once someone is bitten by a jararaca, they can bleed out their eyes, their mouth . . . anywhere.”

The Bushmaster
Up to eight feet long, it is the largest venomous snake in the Americas. Attracted to body heat, it makes a bee-line for flashlight bulbs. “Flexible muscles at the base of its fangs let it move them like fingers.”

Assassin caterpillar
“It’s the deadliest caterpillar in the world,” which sounds funny but “without antivenom, victims almost always die . . . by having their blood-chemistry destroyed after 15 agonizing hours.”

Wandering spider
The most poisonous spider in the world, it grows to up to five inches across. And, you know, it gets around.

Black cayman
Growing up to 20-feet long, it is the largest of the crocodilians. (Have you noticed that there are a lot of superlatives in the Amazon?) “Black cayman in black water . . . It’s impossible to see them”—until it’s too late! Death by traumatic shock and drowning.

Cone snail
Kills in as little as two hours; there is no antivenom. And they’re pretty, oh so pretty, so people pick them up. Some victims die from suffocation, others “are killed by the pain alone.”

Brazilian yellow scorpion
1) Yellow scorpions like beaches 2) People like beaches. 3) Scorpions sting people. Also, victims die of pulmonary edima, which sounds profoundly sucky.

Poison dart frong! Sorry, poison dart frog!
“These tiny frogs are incredible poison factories.”

And there you have it, Brazil’s deadliest! These are some bad-ass creatures, but I can’t help thinking that Africa and Australia have them soundly beaten. Then again, Africa and Australia are continents. Also, “incredible poison factories” . . . good band name?

7 Comments

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  1. Kurtis Scaletta / Jun 1 2009

    Having lived in both Africa and Brazil, one wonders how I survived.

  2. Michael / Jun 1 2009

    You are living on the edge, sir. The toothy, venomous edge.

  3. Linda / Jun 2 2009

    Watched the program last evening. My brother and niece are leaving June 7th for the jungles of Brazil for a two week mission trip. The program grossed me out!! I sent him your blog. Be very very careful!!!

  4. Michael / Jun 2 2009

    Hi Linda,
    Yeah, there were some really gross scenes! The animals seemed cool to me, thousands of miles away in NYC, but I seriously hope the only time your family encounters any of these toothy beasts is on my blog or the TV!

  5. Kelly Brown / Jun 12 2009

    Great post! I’ll subscribe right now wth my feedreader software!

  6. erinnnn13 / Feb 18 2010

    Did anyone see this documentary online? I am trying to find a clip of it for my project on the wandering spider. I am looking for the part where the spider jumps up on the broom. Can anyone help? email me at eac5202@psu.edu

  7. Michael / Feb 18 2010

    Hey Erin,
    Sorry to say that I haven’t seen this online, just on Discovery. The wandering spider is pretty amazing, though. Good luck with the project!

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