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Recent Snake Bites in Thailand – King Cobra and Malayan Pit Viper

Malayan pit viper with eggs

Calloselasma rhodostoma (Malayan Pit Viper) with eggs.

Here’s a bit of news out of Krabi province. Just in the last month I’ve come across two people that were bitten by two of the worst snakes in the country, in all of the world really.

The first case was almost expected. I mean, you work with deadly snakes everyday, multiple times each day, and you’ll eventually slip up and one will get you. That’s what happened to a young 19 year old that works at a cobra show. He was doing the show with the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). He was on his knees and moving his head around to entice the snake to strike. He stopped moving for a brief second, and the snake struck at his shoulder. The bite was more of a scrape, but it definitely scraped the shoulder of the boy pretty deeply. His scar looks serious enough. To be bitten on the shoulder right there, near the heart and near some big blood vessels probably would not have resulted in a good situation had he been envenomated. But, he lucked out tremendously. The big cobra didn’t inject any venom. LUCKY OWEN!

As you probably know, king cobras have a venom that is not all that potent. I mean, it’s comparable with pit viper venom as far as cytotoxic damage it does, but it also has the neurotoxic component that renders muscle useless and stops the heart and breathing. The exceptional power of the king cobras bite is that it can transfer up to 7 ml of venom into the body of a victim. The usual amount is about .5 ml, and that’s enough to kill most people with a good bite.

The second case of snake bite in Krabi happened to a woman that was working in her garden at mid-day. There had been no rain at all for about two months prior to the bite incident. She kept her garden water on a lot during the day so she could water her plants. The snake, a Malayan pit viper, was coiled under some plants enjoying the cool water. She put her hand close to where it was, and ZAP. It tagged her with both fangs on the hand. She quickly wento to the hospital, but never did present any symptoms. Another dry bite! So, two-for-two here in Krabi.

Venomous snake bites result in a dry bite around 50% of the time. That means that you have a 50-50 chance that there will be no other complications other than the damage to your skin where the fangs penetrated.

Be careful in your garden, and walking around. May through December is the time in Thailand and many bordering countries where snakes are at their most abundant and most active. Be especially careful not to tread on or near the Russell’s Viper or Malayan Pit Viper. These are two vipers that are well hidden on the ground and don’t tend to move out of the way when someone is walking toward them. At night – use a flashlight (torch) to see where you’re putting your feet as you walk. You do NOT want to be bitten by a venomous snake in Thailand. Take care!

 

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Thailand Snakes Overview Video

Here is some general information about snakes in Thailand to put your mind at ease about the danger of the venomous snakes in the country. There is little to be afraid of if you are coming to visit Thailand for a few days, even a month. You are not likely to see any snakes at all unless you are out specifically looking for them. Even then, sometimes when I go looking, I don’t find any at all. A friend just north of me in Hua Hin told me that he and another two guys just went out for 6 hours the other night and found nothing. That is the way it goes sometimes.

Anyway, watch this video for information about Thailand snakes in general. If you have any questions, just comment or write me an email. Cheers!

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Thailand Herping Report by David Frohlich (Acrochordus granulatus)

Thailand Herping Report by David Frohlich (Acrochordus granulatus)

I decided to go herping in a mangrove forest near Pranburi, Thailand with a friend of mine, George. We arrived there at about 8:00 p.m. The weather during March was warm and the sky was clear. Surprisingly not many insects were calling. We found 3 Long-nosed Vine Snakes (Ahaetulla nasuta) in the first 30 minutes of the walk and we were very happy with that. But they were nothing compared to the next snake I spotted about 1 hour later at about 9:30 p.m.

I saw a black and white banded snake surfacing in mid-river for air. I immediately ran into the water to grab it! My first thought was that it’s a krait of some sort, but then quickly realized that its not. It turns out it was the rare Marine File Snake also known as the “Wart Snake” (Acrochordus granulatus)! These snakes grow to about 1 meter long and has black and white banding the entire length of the body. They are rather rare marine snakes that are active at night and are predominantly water dwellers. They eat small fish and saltwater eels. What a beautiful snake! I had never seen one of these before. The skin feels rough like sand, but at the same time very soft as well. Unlike any snake I have ever felt, very difficult to describe. The eyes are bright blue and the tail is slightly flattened into a paddle shape. Once I brought it out on land to get a good look at it, I felt 7 huge lumps in the snakes body in the back half of the body. I’m am assuming she is pregnant and those lumps are the juveniles, these snakes don’t lay eggs like most snakes, they give live birth. I am very happy to have found this truly awesome snake in Thailand.

The Marine File Snake is non-venomous and of no danger to humans. Acrochordus granulatus can be quickly identified by small blue eyes located on top it’s head, the lack of enlarged ventral scales, and loose-fitting skin with a gritty, sandy feel to it. On land, it is very sluggish and moves slowly. This snake is in the same Genus as the Javan File Snake (Acrochordus javanicus), which is brown in color, as thick as a human leg, and up to 3 meters in length.

Here is a short video of the snake:

Here are some photos of the Marine File Snake in the location found:

Achrochordus granulatus - Marine File Snake Handheld

Copyright 2014 David Frohlich.

Achrochordus granulatus - Marine File Snake Full Body Photo

Copyright 2014 David Frohlich.

Achrochordus granulatus - Marine File Snake Close up photo

Copyright 2014 David Frohlich.

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Found Another New Snake – Not Yet Classified – Possible New Discovery

New Green Snake - Thailand

I was getting in one of my mountain climbing workouts and on the dead tree next to me was a small (50cm) dark green snake coming out of a hole where it looked like termites were munching wood. He was head down and just gliding slowly down the vertical trunk of the tree.

I ripped off my shirt and softly grabbed it. I’ve caught 3 of these same species of snake before, and none of them bit or struck, but I don’t take any chances when I don’t know what kind of snake it is.

I had my friend give me a plastic bag and I put the snake in there until I could drink all my water from a bottle and transfer the snake into the bottle. It was 10 minutes before I would find something to poke holes in the bottle. I let air in twice during that time. I’m always scared they don’t have enough to breathe.

I got home and tried to shoot some photos and video, but the light is horrible today and the snake was not cooperative at all. It is calm, but it is calm and full of energy. It never stops in one place so I can get a good photo. Hence the photos I’ll upload to this page are not perfect. Will work on getting better images tomorrow.

Also tomorrow I’ll try to get scale counts and some better video. It’s exciting to know that very few (or nobody) has seen this snake before. It isn’t described in the literature for Thailand. Maybe it came up the peninsula from Malaysia. Not sure. Anyway, enjoy the pics. Will post more as I get them.

New Oligodon Snake Discovery

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Two Adult Tokay Geckos Fight Off a Golden Tree Snake

Awesome snake video – so glad these Thai ladies caught this in action. I’d never have guessed the one gecko that was free would go attack the snake. These snakes are notorious for eating these big Tokay geckos. I’d say Tokays are their favorite food.

Posted in thailand snake videos2 Comments

50+ Cobras in a Thailand House (Video)

Here’s a video I did about finding a bunch of juvenile cobras at a friend’s house not far from mine. He lives closer to the beach and cobras like that a lot. He says he say about 3 of them, but I find over 50 in his place. He has found snakes before, but nothing like this.

Cobra Snakes in a House – Video

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King Cobra Washes Over Waterfall – Phattalung, Thailand

Thanks to Robert Abrams for permission to post these photos and story. Amazing Thailand.
Thanks to Robert Abrams for permission to post these photos and story. Amazing Thailand.

Click images to enlarge.

Robert Abrams sent me some photos of a snake he said washed over Menora waterfall he was relaxing at, the location is about 40 km outside of Ampur Muang, Phattalung province, southern Thailand. It was none other than the ultimate venomous snake, the king cobra.

In his words -

“It was raining very heavy that day. Some friends and I went swimming at a waterfall outside the town where we teach. All the sudden it was swept down into the pool where we were sitting. It was pretty stunned, i think it was in shock because the water was abnormally cold. It also had a break in the scales along its side. It was still alive at the time. It almost managed to make it out of the water, a friend and I tried to get a stick but by the time we found one it had been swept further down stream. It may well have survived, but i doubt it. I think enough time in that cold water and the beating it took going over waterfalls would eventually finish it off.”

Amazing! Some people never get to see a king cobra in the wild – and this one almost dropped in Robert’s lap.

I’m glad he didn’t reach it with a stick like he was trying to. Originally he thought it was a rat snake, which is harmless.

It looks to me like the snake was probably run over by a motorbike or other vehicle and went back into the wilderness to try to mend itself. It was likely ready to die though. That looks like a wicked injury.

King Cobra at Waterfall

Both images, Copyright 2013 Robert Abrams.

Posted in front-fanged0 Comments

Are Thailand Snakes Dangerous to Visitors?

A deadly Thailand snake, the red-headed krait (Bungarus flaviceps). These are extremely rare.

A deadly Thailand snake, the red-headed krait (Bungarus flaviceps). These are extremely rare.

I often receive email from people that are deathly afraid of venomous and other snakes in Thailand. Some people refuse to visit the country after finding a website like ThailandSnakes.com. They get the idea that snakes are rampant all over Thailand and that they are unavoidable. The truth is much different. You are not likely to see any snakes in Thailand during your visit. Even if you go looking for them, snakes are difficult to locate. The other night I went out for over three hours in the heart of snake country, and still didn’t find any snake.

Anyway, here is an email I just sent to someone to help allay fears of snakes in Thailand.

* * * * *

Hi Brian,

Snakes are really about the least harmful things you could ever come across for a couple of reasons…

1. They have no legs or arms. They are basically a long tail. They cannot move fast on the ground, I mean fast in comparison to humans. We can easily outrun any snake that exists.
2. Only the very large pythons in Thailand might target a human being as prey. Everything else gets away as fast as possible – even when confronted.
3. There are about 8 deaths per year due to venomous snake bite in Thailand. Probably every one of them are plantation workers that get bitten, apply some “magical salve” made of ground leaves and roots, and then, when they realize their foot or hand is gangrenous – go to the hospital too late. Occasionally a snake handler is bitten and dies – they tease the snakes mercilessly, day after day, and eventually a snake gets in a lucky bite.
4. You have to really piss snakes off before most of them will bite… or, be too close. So, don’t get close and don’t aggravate them.

I have never heard of a tourist, visitor, foreigner, being bitten by and killed by a deadly snake in Thailand. People have cobras in their yard, vipers, whatever else… the snakes do NOT want to see humans and will get away at every opportunity.

Just be cautious walking in grass outside. Don’t walk anywhere you cannot see where your feet are stepping.

If you see a snake in your yard – grab a photo, send it to me, and I’ll let you know if it was venomous. If so, and you see it again and can watch where it goes – call the EMS or police in your area, and they’ll know the snake guys that can come take it away for you.

If you’re bitten by a snake, stay calm and go to the hospital. Venom usually takes hours before you’re debilitated. Wait to see if symptoms even develop. A good portion of bites don’t include envenomation. They are dry bites, so to speak. Little or no venom is released through the fangs during a dry bite. There have been studies done with cobras and vipers that show that 30-50% of bites are dry bites, even when the snake is directly stepped on.

Hope this helps. I’ll repost it at the thailandsnakes.com site. Maybe it will help someone else relax a bit about snakes here.

Cheers,

Vern L.

www.ThailandSnakes.com
www.Facebook.com/ThailandSnakes
www.youtube.com/user/thaipulsedotcom
www.youtube.com/user/ThailandSnakes

Posted in Thailand Snake News9 Comments

Gonglyosoma balliodeira – Orange Bellied Snake

Gonglyosoma balliodeira from the side. Copyright 2013 Vern Lovic.

 

Gonglyosoma balliodeira belly color. Copyright 2013 Vern Lovic.

 

Gonglyosoma balliodeira top-down view.  Copyright 2013 Vern Lovic.

Gonglyosoma / Gonglyosoma balliodeira

Rupert Lewis from the United Kingdom was out herping in Thailand a couple nights ago and came upon this little beauty. It’s Gonglyosoma balliodeira or possibly a subspecies. I say possibly because I can’t find any information about the snake online at all. A Google search on image and text of the name of the snake produces nothing but the name, classification and who first found it (Boie). I did find one report of this snake being found in Borneo at 2,000 feet elevation on Mt. Penrissen.

Rupert had an illustration he found in a book that identified it as Gonglyosoma, but that’s about all we know from information found in books or online.

The snake was caught at night in Krabi Noi rainforest (Krabi province, Thailand) after midnight on a half-moon night. The elevation was roughly 100 meters above sea level.

This snake is about 40 cm in length and under 5 cm in girth at its thickest. It is smooth-scaled and Rupert counted 8 diagonal scales to the vertebral column.

The snake was cooperative and did not attempt to bite.

This is a new range for this snake, as previously they have not been found in Krabi province. They are rare in Thailand at all, and have only been found in some of the southernmost provinces.

The photos are copyright 2013 Vern Lovic, with many thanks to Rupert Lewis for sharing this snake with me.

Video of Gonglyosoma balliodeira:

Posted in Non-venomous0 Comments

Herping Southern Thailand – 5 Snakes + 1 Bonus

Boiga dendrophila. Mangrove cat-eyed snake. Southern Thailand. Boiga dendrophila. Mangrove cat-eyed snake. Bungarus candidus. Malayan krait, Blue krait. Lycodon albofuscus. Lycodon albofuscus

Last night I got out to go herping with Anders from Denmark and Rupert from the UK. We went to the usual spot, I arrived at 6:20pm. As I was pulling into the parking lot I saw a small (30cm) bronzeback snake coming across the dirt road. I slowed, stopped and jumped out with a snake bag in my hand, intending on trapping him with it before grabbing him. I hate being bitten by anything – even a harmless snake. It’s no good for the snake either as they can lose teeth when they bite forcibly.

The snake had other plans and reversed course immediately disappearing into the thick brush as I ran after it helplessly. This one was smart.

Met up with the guys and took some photos of the Lycodon albofuscus Rupert had brought over for a show and tell. He said it was the snake he had the hardest time with for photos – and hoped to get better ones. We did, it was exceptionally calm this night and we both got some great shots.

We grabbed some water and headed out for 3 hour herp that turned up nothing. Well not nothing, we saw numerous lizards and geckos, some cool frogs, bats, spiders, but no snakes. I was out in front of the other 3 guys (Richard came as well), and headed up to the pools of water to see what I could find.

It wasn’t long before – Bang – I saw a common wolf snake (Lycodon) cruising up a rock beside me, then down to hit the walkway… I followed him for a while, just looking at him closely. I’ve caught so many of these snakes I don’t bother with photos. It’s a pain to drag the camera out of the bag and set it up. I’d have had to stop the snake from his journey to get my stuff ready. As it turns out, Rupert wanted to see a good specimen of that snake, and wanted better photos – but I didn’t know at the time. Oops.

Walked some more and Bang – a mangrove cat snake of maybe a meter and some in the palm tree above me about 20 feet high. I yelled SNAKE and tried to get the other guys attention. As I did I was shining my torch (flashlight) on the restaurant where they had gone back to eat. Bang – another big mangrove cat snake swimming in the moonlight. Wow… I love to see that. Wish I had a video of it, but it happened too quickly. He came right over to the bank below me. I crept down and grabbed him with the tongs and by the tail with my hand and picked him up onto the sidewalk.

He was big and lively – 2 meters easy, thick like my wrist and almost my forearm. Beautiful snake. Photos here are of that snake.

We shot some photos and a quick video and kept going. It was about 11pm (2300 hrs) when Rupert yelled “KRAIT” from down in the rocks. We all got down there immediately and were rewarded with a 1 m+ Blue krait (Malayan krait), the Bungarus candidus. Most venomous terrestrial snake in Thailand – as long as there are no Bungarus multicinctus running around in the north, which I suspect there must be.

We shot photos and videos and then shortly after, called it a night.

I get a message this morning on my phone from Rupert…

“Hey vern, I wasn’t tired when you left last night so I went out alone and caught a very rare snake. I put it in the backup box I brought. Even more reason for you to come out today. Could be a new subspecies or even a new species in itself!”

I can’t believe the nerve of that guy! Going out without me! I thought he was going to go sleep…

Anyway, so looks like I’d better get out there today and see what he found.

Come to Thailand to check out the reptiles, amphibians, birds, whatever it is you’re into. This place is paradise for nature lovers.

Tonight we’ll go to another 2 different mountains that I rarely get to herp at. Should be a blast. Will post photos, videos, if we get something.

Cheers,

Vern

Posted in Thailand Snake Journal1 Comment

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Thailand Snakes

 

Cobras in the HOUSE!

Welcome to Thailand Snakes…

Thailand has 200+ snake species with over 60 of them - venomous. I created this site as a way to educate Thais and visitors to Thailand about snakes. Many people kill the snakes they see in Thailand, while in many cases - they are non-venomous and completely harmless. With this site I hope to give people a better idea what is harmful and what isn't.

Browse the many snake photos and videos here so you can identify snakes you see on your porch, in your bed, or underfoot.

If you have been bitten by a snake - go to a hospital FIRST. Don't waste time looking it up on the internet. With some snakes you need to have medical help as fast as possible. With others you have some time. I know a Thai man whose brother died in less than 10 minutes from a snake bite.

There are venomous (some say 'poisonous' erroneously) snakes everywhere in Thailand. Friends have had cobras in their kitchen, and others had kraits in the garage. Vipers love bushes and trees near water and walkways.

Bookmark this site so you can quickly identify snakes you have seen. Notice the variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes in Thailand - and realize that they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns.

Email - info@thailandsnakes.com

Thailand’s Deadly Snakes