Two images of Charles Fletcher Lummis – a
pichu-cuate eyewitness who lived to inform the story, actually, documenting this
sinister serpent in his ebook The King of
the Broncos
(public area)

time in the past, I investigated a mysterious, highly-venomous mini-snake named Karait
– a memorable albeit short-lived, mongoose-slain character briefly included by
Rudyard Kipling in his story ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’, which was contained within the
first of his two Jungle E-book novels.
Kipling by no means specified Karait’s taxonomic id. Nevertheless, as I revealed in
my in depth ShukerNature protection (click on right here
to learn it), this dust-dwelling but lethal snakeling could have been
based mostly upon the
saw-scaled viper Echis carinatus.

that’s not all. For it’s nothing if not intriguing {that a} cryptozoological
snake bearing a exceptional resemblance each morphologically and behaviourally
to Kipling’s Karait has been reported from New Mexico and Arizona within the
southwestern USA, as delivered to my consideration not too long ago by American herpetologist/cryptozoologist Chad Arment.


Indian saw-scaled viper Echis
(public area)

because the pichu-cuate – allegedly an Aztec identify, in flip suggesting that data
of this snake dates again many centuries – it’s described as being a tiny
species of viper, no larger or thicker than a traditional lead pencil, bearing a
pair of small horns above its eyes (supra-ocular), and is a nondescript gray dorsally,
rose-pink ventrally, however extra venomous than some other North American snake.
Extraordinarily uncommon but in addition inordinately aggressive, the pichu-cuate supposedly
spends its time hid in sand and mud, typically with simply its triangular
head seen, however is not going to hesitate to chunk something or anybody that touches it,
whether or not intentionally or inadvertently, which nearly invariably results in its
sufferer’s exceedingly fast, agonizing loss of life. There are claims that individuals who
have been bitten on the hand or a finger by a pichu-cuate have swiftly reduce (or
shot) off the wounded appendage within the determined hope of saving their life by
stopping this snake’s extremely virulent venom from travelling additional into
their physique.

solely venomous snakes on report from New Mexico and Arizona are rattlesnakes and
coral snakes, which actually don’t resemble the pichu-cuate. Furthermore, the
morphological and behavioural description offered above for the latter
cryptozoological serpent doesn’t match that of any snake species identified to exist in these two U.S. states.


First version (1897) of Lummis’s ebook The King of the Broncos (public area)

diminutive however extremely harmful Karait-like snakeling was first delivered to
widespread consideration by newspaper author Charles Fletcher Lummis in his
compilation ebook of conventional New Mexican lore The King of the Broncos (1897), during which he associated how a younger
Mexican shepherd named Claudio was apparently bitten on the thumb by a
pichu-cuate and was capable of save his personal life solely by taking pictures off his thumb to
forestall the snake’s virulent, swift-acting venom from spreading into his physique. Furthermore,
Lummis subsequently claimed to have personally encountered a pichu-cuate on
three separate events, and on the primary of those to have even killed it,
whose physique he then examined intimately. Regrettably, nonetheless, he did not retain
it afterwards for scientific scrutiny. Lummis described its colouration as
leaden gray dorsally, matching the sand during which it had been hiding, however
rosy-red ventrally, like a conch shell’s aperture. Its tiny fangs had been no extra
than one eighth of an inch lengthy, however moveable, slotting into grooves within the
roof of its mouth when not about to strike.

In his
personal ebook Cryptozoology: Science &
(2004), Chad Arment
devoted a chapter to the pichu-cuate, during which he documented Lummis’s protection
of it. Nevertheless, he identified that the identify ‘pichu-cuate’ and variations of it
are additionally used within the southwestern USA and Mexico non-specifically, for any
snakes deemed by locals to be venomous (no matter whether or not they truly
are). Therefore it isn’t utilized completely to this one specific, cryptic


Cryptozoology: Science & Hypothesis by Chad Arment (© Chad
Arment/Coachwhip Publications – reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial
Honest Use foundation for instructional/overview functions solely)

nonetheless, Lummis’s point out of the latter’s fangs slotting into grooves within the
roof of its mouth when not placing is important, as a result of in North America
the one front-fanged venomous snakes with fangs that may transfer are viperids,
thereby eliminating elapids from consideration, in addition to rear-fanged
colubrids. Additionally informative is his point out of the pichu-cuate’s supra-ocular
horns, as a result of as famous by Chad, solely 4 identified Latin American snakes possess
them. Furthermore, two of those, the sidewinder Crotalus cerastes and the eyelash viper Bothriechis schlegelii, might be immediately eradicated, as a result of the
former was well-known to Lummis, and the latter is arboreal and too vibrant.
This leaves solely the Mexican horned pit viper Ophyracus undulatus and the montane pit viper Porthidium melanurum. Of those two, the previous supplies the nearer
match morphologically, however geographically it isn’t identified to exist wherever
close to New Mexico or Arizona.

Chad concluded his protection of the pichu-cuate by pondering whether or not both O. undulatus beforehand exhibited a
broader distribution vary than it does right this moment, extending into these two U.S. states,
or a small, undescribed viper species previously inhabited them, and should maybe
nonetheless achieve this right this moment? The next particulars recommend that this is likely to be true.


On 6
Could 1984, in his common ‘New Mexican Scrapbook’ column printed by the El Paso Instances, Marc Simmons recalled
Lummis’s documentation of the pichu-cuate virtually a century earlier, after which
added some very intriguing, modern-day info of his personal. Throughout his
travels round New Mexico, Simmons had talked about the pichu-cuate to numerous
old-timers, however the identify meant nothing to them. Nevertheless, they did inform him
about an enigmatic snake identified to them because the nino de la tierra (‘little one of the
earth’) that sounded suspiciously much like the pichu-cuate. For it’s mentioned to
be a small however very lethal, vicious snake that buries itself within the sand, and
fatally strikes anybody who sits or lies in that place. However that’s not all.

couple of years earlier, Simmons noticed a pal who had been mountain climbing within the rocky
foothills of central New Mexico’s Ortiz Mountains. The pal talked about that in
a dry arroyo (steep-sided gulley) he had encountered a small gray snake with a
triangular head, which regardless of its diminutive dimension had given him such a
chill that he’d instinctively backed away right away. So maybe the
pichu-cuate (aka nino de la tierra?) is greater than only a fable in spite of everything.


Marc Simmons’s El
Paso Instances
column of 6 Could 1984 documenting the nino de la tierra, which
could also be one and the identical because the pichu-cuate – please click on this image to
enlarge it for studying functions (© Marc Simmons/El Paso Instances – reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial Honest
Use foundation for instructional/overview functions solely)

there could also be some additional info regarding the perplexing pichu-cuate hidden
away within the assortment of images and art work by Lummis that’s preserved
on the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California. Time, due to this fact, for some
enterprising Californian cryptozoologist to hunt a possibility to look at them

ShukerNature weblog article is excerpted completely from my new ebook Secret Snakes and Serpent Surprises
printed by Chad Arment’s personal firm, Coachwhip Publications. It may be obtained right here
at Amazon UK and right here
at Amazon USA. Extra info regarding it’s out there by way of its personal
devoted web page right here

on my official web site.



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