Posted on 22 April 2013.
Not a new ebook, sorry to say, but just going back and forth with a guy that worked in Thailand a long time ago and wanted to share a couple stories with me. I shared one back. Thought I’d share it with you all. Thanks to Ray for letting me post his emails.
His 1st email to me:
I am not sure this is the place I should be posting this past experience but I wanted to share the past in Thailand with someone. I was in the military from 1971 to 1972 in Thailand and stayed until 1975 as a civilian contractor. I worked on top of Green Hill national park from 1973 to 1974. We would travel 1 hour up to work and 1 hour down every day after a 12 hour shift. We saw many things during our trips to work. Elephants, tigers, wild chickens (fun to catch) and many many snakes. Previously I was at Thakli for over a year and the road kill of snakes at the beginning of the rainy season was common place. Cobras and rock pythons were the largest and flatest. BUT… in the national park, Khao Yai, Khao Keo the books and the statistics did not apply.
One morning on the way to work up the hill the driver slammed on the breaks. What we saw was a Banded Krait crossing the road. My boss said “yell when its tail is at the center line” I did and immediately looked to the left and its head was about a foot past the asphalt. Now this snake was moving really slow with very little bend in its body. Small head and tail with a body that is more of a triangle in the mid portion. And it was FAT. O.K. we were impressed….off to work.
On the way home that evening John, my boss had Lek stop the car at the same point we saw the snake that morning. (understand, I am young and stupid then) I get out of the car and lay down on the road where the snake crossed. I put my toes on the center line of the road..stretched out my arms…and my fingers just touched the edge of the asphaslt. I was and am 5’4″ tall. Do the math and this Banded Krait was over 6 foot long. From what I have read… they only get a little over a meter long.
I know what I saw in a jungle that was basically indisturbed for decades, if not century’s.
My point is that somewhere in this world there are sitll very dangerous animals and creatures that we may never see. And the books are only a guideline.
Thanks for letting me share.
Thanks for the story. Enjoyed it!
Banded kraits do, occasionally reach 2 meters. I have seen one almost that big, but not quite. Here is my Banded krait page with what I know about them.
You are right, and I’m with you on the fact that what the books say, what the websites say, and what the self-appointed experts say, is just what people have experienced in the past. Two days ago on a hike up a mountain, I found a new species of snake. It’s probably in the keelback family, but there is no such snake classified up to this point in time. I found another new snake near the top of a mountain about 2 years ago too. Nobody had EVER recorded it. So, I’m just one person that found 2 new snakes in the course of looking in Thailand sporadically. There must be dozens more out there that we don’t know about. That’s a cool thought.
Besides that, the general facts in most books are off. What snakes eat… whether diurnal or nocturnal, whether they mate during these months, or others… there is QUITE a bit that is off in the literature. I use books and scientific studies as a guideline, but I don’t believe much of it to be undisputed fact.
Now, here’s a story for you…
It was almost 2 years ago. I took my motorbike up a mountain that few people ever travel up. It was middle of day, about 11:30 AM. I was looking for snakes on the road, crossing the road, and knew I had half a chance to find one, but didn’t really expect to. I just had some time and decided to give it a shot.
I stopped the bike and parked it. I walked up the road, then back… then turned around where I’d just walked from. About 3-4 meters from me was the tail of a snake disappearing into the dense brush on the side of the road. The tail covered the entire lane of the street – same side as me. My brain told me over and over that my eyes were lying to me, and it refused to process the information. What I was looking at was the largest King Cobra tail I’d ever seen… and I’d seen over 100 adult king cobras at the snake farm where I’m a regular, going every couple days in Krabi.
The reason my brain wouldn’t work, is that the tail DWARFED the largest 5.5 meter king cobra tail I’d ever seen. It was double the size of it. It was almost like a dinosaur was disappearing into the brush. My breathing stopped – i literally couldn’t breath because it all was just too much to grasp. There was no way in hell I could have gone into the rubber tree plantation to look for the snake, I was in shock. I did, after a couple minutes of standing there stunned, walk over to the bushes and give a cursory glance in to see if it was visible. That was the extent of it. I was dumbfounded how a king cobra could be that large. Oh, the biggest king cobra ever was 19 feet and some inches, found in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, also in the south of Thailand.
The reason it was so big, is I think, because that mountain is where the guys that catch snakes for the city of krabi- let their snakes go. Rat snakes, cobras, king cobras, kraits, all of them. All of them are food for big king cobras. This king had been feasting for years on easy meals there, and nobody had caught it yet.
When I told king cobra expert, Luke Yeoman’s in the UK, he was as excited as I was. He trusted my judgement. This was a world record king that would have SMASHED the record. He made plans to come over and we were going to track it down using motion-activated cameras and traps. Luke never made the trip because 2 months before he was due to come to Thailand he was bitten on the arm by one of his big king cobras at home in the UK and died within minutes. He’d had a heart attack after the bite, killing him near instantly.
So, yeah, you made a good point… we don’t know what is in the jungles. We haven’t found all of what is there yet. And another thing I learned was to definitely have a camera with me ready to shoot at a moment’s notice – ALWAYS!
You OK with me turning your email and mine into a post for ThailandSnakes.com?
His 2nd email to me:
No problem posting anything I share. You have my mind in a rewind mode talking about Cobras.
Same place, Khao yai Thailand , national park, 1973-74. Stopped on the way to work to let the Elephants wake up and proceed up the mountain. Elephant grass to my left. Sitting in the front seat of a Toyota HiAce. Looked left and I was eye level with a Cobra. I have no knowledge what type but I know really BIG when I see it. As stated before, I was young and stupid so I started to move my head back an forth and my new friend followed my every move. I never thought about it for years until I read your email. One more thing about snake size. When I was at Thakli from 1971 to early 1972 we had an incident with one of the drivers that nearly got him fired…until WE appologized for not believing him.
On two occassions just after the New Year Holidays he was late picking up the day shift and claimed he could not pass the road down the hill from the Tropo site because there was a big snake laying accross the road and he did every thing to get it to move (as long as he didn’t have to get out of the truck). We really thought he just over slept in the truck and was full of BS. Now keep in mind there was a tall tail about a giant snake at the Tropo Hill in Thakli Thailand.
Well, just before he pulled another “big Snake and I am late” he got smart and drove back up to the Tropo site, got really indignant (sp) with me and told me to get in the van. …….Bottome line..the Rock Python was stretched completely accross the asphalt road. We could not see his head or tail….and I was not going to get close enough to push him with even a really LONG stick. We threw rocks at it for nearly 5 minutes before it finally moved…very slowly off the road.
I did note that the middle of the snake was at least 10 to 12 inches with a big bulge of about 15 inches past the half way point. I also remember the driver saying the big snakes like the warm asphalt after sunset.
Needless to say, the day shift didn’t want to believe me either until I threatened to get physical. Of course we all got our little Browning cameras ready for the next time….that never came.
Good chatting with you.