Lesson 905: Snakes and Culture in the Amazon

The abundance of reptiles, especially snakes, in the Amazonian jungle is hardly surprising. Native cultures, far from fearing snakes, view them as spiritually significant elements of nature. From the gigantic anaconda to tiny tree vipers, snakes are part of life—and religion–in Brazil’s Amazon.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about venomous snakes in the Amazon near Manaus, Brazil.

Social Studies Standards

Culture: B, C, D

Discussion Prompts

  • Why are aerial maps useful? When might an aerial view be more helpful than a view from boat or ground?
  • Why does the health clinic keep jars of preserved snakes? What is the purpose of this and how does it help victims of snake bites?
  • What is a reptile or animal that is well known or popular in your region that is similar to the snake in the Amazon? Compare and contrast this reptile or animal to the snake in the Amazon.
  • How do indigenous people protect themselves against the venomous snake? What are the pros and cons of this method?

Lesson Activities

  • Research venomous snakes in the Amazon and make a snake book with at least five different types of snakes that are found in this area. Include photos, pictures or drawings and add notes about each type of snake.
  • Create an educational poster that includes information about four venomous Amazon critters including a snake, spider, scorpion and one of your choice. Describe characteristics about each as well as their habitat.
  • Design a board game focused on life in the Amazon, including challenges and highlights a player might encounter during their daily life in the Brazilian rainforest.
  • Create a Venn diagram that compares life in Manaus with that in the indigenous village. List at least five similarities and five differences.


  • accustomed
  • aerial
  • complacent
  • critters
  • lofty
  • mandatory
  • preserved
  • purge
  • remedy
  • venemous


In the Americas Season 9 Lesson Episode 5