How did the fer-de-lance get its name and Where does the term fer-de-lance come from?

The name of this extremely poisonous snake, whose bite is most likely to be fatal, actually indicates the shape of the headier, “head” or “iron,” de lance, “of the lance”; i.e., lance head.

But it might also indicate the speed with which the serpent strikes or the fact that it springs at its victim like a charge with a lance.

This lance-headed or yellow viper is found chiefly in tropical America, infesting especially the sugar plantations of the West Indies.