Two images of Charles Fletcher Lummis – a
pichu-cuate eyewitness who lived to inform the story, actually, documenting this
sinister serpent in his guide 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 identification. Nevertheless, as I revealed in
my intensive ShukerNature protection (click on right here
to learn it), this dust-dwelling but lethal snakeling might have been
primarily based upon the
saw-scaled viper Echis carinatus.

that isn’t 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 lately by American herpetologist/cryptozoologist Chad Arment.


Indian saw-scaled viper Echis
(public area)

because the pichu-cuate – allegedly an Aztec title, in flip suggesting that information
of this snake dates again many centuries – it’s described as being a tiny
species of viper, no greater 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 another North American snake.
Extraordinarily uncommon but additionally inordinately aggressive, the pichu-cuate supposedly
spends its time hid in sand and dirt, typically with simply its triangular
head seen, however won’t hesitate to chunk something or anybody that touches it,
whether or not intentionally or inadvertently, which just about invariably results in its
sufferer’s exceedingly fast, agonizing demise. There are claims that individuals who
have been bitten on the hand or a finger by a pichu-cuate have swiftly minimize (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 file from New Mexico and Arizona are rattlesnakes and
coral snakes, which actually don’t resemble the pichu-cuate. Furthermore, the
morphological and behavioural description introduced above for the latter
cryptozoological serpent doesn’t match that of any snake species recognized to exist in these two U.S. states.


First version (1897) of Lummis’s guide 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 guide of conventional New Mexican lore The King of the Broncos (1897), wherein 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 capturing 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 wherein it had been hiding, however
rosy-red ventrally, like a conch shell’s aperture. Its tiny fangs have 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 guide Cryptozoology: Science &
(2004), Chad Arment
devoted a chapter to the pichu-cuate, wherein he documented Lummis’s protection
of it. Nevertheless, he identified that the title ‘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 solely to this one explicit, cryptic


Cryptozoology: Science & Hypothesis by Chad Arment (© Chad
Arment/Coachwhip Publications – reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial
Honest Use foundation for academic/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 critical, 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 recognized Latin American snakes possess
them. Furthermore, two of those, the sidewinder Crotalus cerastes and the eyelash viper Bothriechis schlegelii, could 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 recognized 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 in the present day, extending into these two U.S. states,
or a small, undescribed viper species previously inhabited them, and will maybe
nonetheless accomplish that in the present day? The next particulars recommend that this is perhaps true.


On 6
Could 1984, in his common ‘New Mexican Scrapbook’ column revealed by the El Paso Occasions, Marc Simmons recalled
Lummis’s documentation of the pichu-cuate virtually a century earlier, after which
added some very intriguing, modern-day data of his personal. Throughout his
travels round New Mexico, Simmons had talked about the pichu-cuate to varied
old-timers, however the title meant nothing to them. Nevertheless, they did inform him
about an enigmatic snake recognized to them because the nino de la tierra (‘youngster of the
earth’) that sounded suspiciously just 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 isn’t all.

couple of years earlier, Simmons noticed a buddy who had been climbing within the rocky
foothills of central New Mexico’s Ortiz Mountains. The buddy 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 measurement 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 fantasy in any case.


Marc Simmons’s El
Paso Occasions
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 Occasions – reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial Honest
Use foundation for academic/overview functions solely)

there could also be some additional data in regards to the perplexing pichu-cuate hidden
away within the assortment of images and paintings 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 solely from my new guide Secret Snakes and Serpent Surprises
revealed by Chad Arment’s personal firm, Coachwhip Publications. It may be obtained right here
at Amazon UK and right here
at Amazon USA. Extra data regarding it’s accessible by way of its personal
devoted web page right here

on my official web site.


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