Two pictures 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 id. Nonetheless, as I revealed in
my intensive 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 isn’t all. For it’s nothing if not intriguing {that a} cryptozoological
snake bearing a outstanding resemblance each morphologically and behaviourally
to Kipling’s Karait has been reported from New Mexico and Arizona within the
southwestern USA, as dropped at 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 data
of this snake dates again many centuries – it’s described as being a tiny
species of viper, no greater or thicker than a standard 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 additionally inordinately aggressive, the pichu-cuate supposedly
spends its time hid in sand and mud, generally 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 speedy, 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 document from New Mexico and Arizona are rattlesnakes and
coral snakes, which definitely 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 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 dropped at
widespread consideration by newspaper author Charles Fletcher Lummis in his
compilation guide of conventional New Mexican lore The King of the Broncos (1897), through which he associated how a younger
Mexican shepherd named Claudio was apparently bitten on the thumb by a
pichu-cuate and was in a position to save his personal life solely by taking pictures off his thumb to
stop 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, nevertheless, he did not retain
it afterwards for scientific scrutiny. Lummis described its colouration as
leaden gray dorsally, matching the sand through 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 guide Cryptozoology: Science &
(2004), Chad Arment
devoted a chapter to the pichu-cuate, through which he documented Lummis’s protection
of it. Nonetheless, 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 really
are). Therefore it’s not utilized completely 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 instructional/evaluate functions solely)

nevertheless, 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, 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 offers the nearer
match morphologically, however geographically it’s not 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 immediately, extending into these two U.S. states,
or a small, undescribed viper species previously inhabited them, and should maybe
nonetheless accomplish that immediately? The next particulars counsel that this may be true.


On 6
Might 1984, in his common ‘New Mexican Scrapbook’ column printed by the El Paso Occasions, Marc Simmons recalled
Lummis’s documentation of the pichu-cuate nearly 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 numerous
old-timers, however the title meant nothing to them. Nonetheless, 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 mountaineering 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 despite 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 fable in any case.


Marc Simmons’s El
Paso Occasions
column of 6 Might 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 instructional/evaluate functions solely)

there could also be some additional data in regards to the perplexing pichu-cuate hidden
away within the assortment of pictures 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 chance to look at them

ShukerNature weblog article is excerpted completely from my new guide 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 data regarding it’s accessible by way of its personal
devoted web page right here

on my official web site.


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