There are certain levels of fame that tell a metal musician they’ve made it. Playing stadiums definitely counts, and winning a Grammy is pretty cool. But the peak, the top tier, is having a deadly animal named after you. Now, James Hetfield can tell people he’s finally somebody, as a species of venomous snake has apparently been named after him.
A species of African Bush Viper has officially been dubbed ‘Atheris hetfieldi‘ by one Dr Luis Ceriaco and his team of headbanging researchers. The snake can grow up to 20 inches in length, and has “a triangular-shaped head and strongly-keeled scales, which gives them a dragon-like appearance, which certainly is consonant with the image of a singer of an Heavy Metal band.” If all of that weren’t metal enough, the reptile also lives at the base of a volcano on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea.
“Both me and Mariana Marques, the second author of the paper, are big fans of Metallica and James Hetfield since a very young age, ” said Ceriaco, speaking to Louder. “We wanted to honor him, as a thank you for all the good vibes his music has transmitted to us during all of our personal lives and careers. Also, we think that a mysterious venomous and cool looking snake, who lives in the base of a volcano lost in the middle of the tropical forest is very relatable to heavy metal! On another hand, naming a new species after someone as James brings more attention to the much needed biodiversity studies and field surveys. We are in race against the extinction of a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity, and many species may go extinct before we even know they exist!”
There you have it — with this, Metallica can say that they’re truly a metal band worth knowing. Apparently, they also have some songs, too, which certainly helps.