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Target Species: Patagonian lancehead, Bothrops ammodytoides
Location: Bahia Blanca & Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, Argentina
Director: Martin Belderson

Location: The Patagonian lancehead occurs as far south as southern Patagonia, where it is very rare.

Mission Statement:

The Patagonian lancehead is the southern-most snake species in the world, occurring practically all the way down to Tierre del Fuego. A small and elusive pitviper with an upturned snout, Mark’s quarry is by no means easy to find in the vast Patagonian wilderness. Nobody is currently studying this interesting little pitviper so Mark is accompanied by Monique Halloy, an expert on its lizard prey, and her student Juan Carlos, since Mark thinks finding the lizards the snake eats will be the clue to finding the snake itself. Marcio Martins, a Brazilian pitviper expert, joins the team because he has always wanted to see a wild Patagonian lancehead to compare with a related species he has studied in Brazil. The quest takes the four herpetologists through the expanse of Patagonia, from inhospitable salt pans to wild-swept coastal beaches, home to Argentina’s penguin and sealion populations.

A close view of the head of a Patagonian lancehead (Bothrops ammodytoides) note the upturned snout.

Species recorded during 'Into Patagonia'

Species Common Name
Homonota borellii Borelli's gecko
Liolaemus gracilis Graceful swift
Liolaemus melanops melanops Black-headed swift
Liolaemus weigmanni Weigmann's swift
Liolaemus xanthoviridis Yellow & green swift
Cnemidophorus lacertoides Bibron's whiptail
Tupinambis merianae Teiu
Clelia rustica Brown mussurana
Liophis poecilogyrus sublineatus Stripe-bellied watersnake
Lystrophis dorbignyi Dorbigny's hognose snake
Bothrops alternatus Urutu
Bothrops ammodytoides Patagonian lancehead


Location: Our search for the Patagonian lancehead centered around Bahia Blanca and Peninsula Valdes in central Patagonia, where it is also rare.


It's not snow, it's not ice, it's not sand … it's salt ! Mark O'Shea on an inhospitable Patagonian salt pan.




Coastal scrub habitat on Peninsular Valdes; where we eventually found Patagonian lanceheads.



O'Shea and the Argentinian lizard expert Monique Halloy hunt lizards of the genus Liolaemus, the prey of the lancehead.




O'Shea and Marcio Martins maneouvre a Patagonian lancehead into an acrylic tube for safer examination (see below).



When the pitviper has entered the clear acrylic tube it can be closely and safely examined without the risk of snakebite.

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