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.
Snakes come in all different colors. Even snakes of the same species can have quite different coloration depending on region, or sometimes just living next to each other in Thailand’s wild.
This is a Burmese Python sent to me by a friend. Quite dark compared to most I’ve seen here in Southern Thailand.
Recently a reader sent me some photos of a snake that very nearly bit him on one of the islands of Koh Phi Phi. When I looked at it – it was unmistakable what it was – a mangrove pit viper. However, it was brown tinted – quite brown. The guy verified it was brown, and not just a camera quirk. I’ve only seen them in a purple shade and with some yellow. Never brown.
Goes to show you that it is very difficult to identify the 200 some snakes native to Thailand. It’s downright impossible many times from the photos I get. Even snakes I catch, some biologists cannot figure out what snake it is.
PLEASE… do not touch snakes if you are not 100% sure what it is – and only if it is non-venomous. There are many snakes that have venom in Thailand – but that are classified as non-venomous, because typically they are not dangerous to man. If you happen to be allergic to the venom though – guess what? You could be in anaphylactic shock before you know it.
Recently a “non-venomous” snake put a teenager in the Bangkok hospital in Phuket for 2 weeks with failing kidneys.
Be careful with snakes – all snakes – there are some that are quite obvious what they are, and there are others that I cannot figure out… and there are some that the biologists cannot figure out.
Length: Up to about 1.5 meters. The males are a bit more red on top, and slightly thinner.
Range: The Striped Bronzeback is found in southern Thailand through the Malaysian Peninsula, and to Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Philippines. The snake shown here was caught in Tub Kaak, Krabi Province in southern Thailand.
Habitat: Forests and lowlands up to about 1,500 meters. They are found on trees primarily, and often on the ground too in search of prey.
Active Time? Diurnal – daylight.
Food: Frogs, lizards, some say small birds in the nest.
Defensive Behavior: A quick bite – coiled beforehand, or not. I was bitten when I grabbed his tail when I first saw him. I expected it. He caused a little blood on the top of my pointer finger by the big knuckle. There are a couple small bumps there now. I experienced no serious symptoms.
Venom Toxicity: No venom. No danger.
Notes: Striped bronzeback snakes are somewhat larger than the other bronzebacks, and can get up to about 1.5 meters. The one in the photo and video below was caught at about 300 meters elevation (900+ feet) on a fallen tree. I stepped over the tree and the snake fell to the ground and attempted to hide under another rotting tree stump. I had to decide in about 1 second whether the snake was venomous and whether I could step lightly on his tail to stop him from disappearing. I saw the tell-tale head shape and stripe down the side and knew it was a bronzeback, but there are about 6 species of bronzeback in Thailand. I hadn’t caught one of these until today.
These snakes are diurnal – active during daylight hours and are excellent climbers, as all bronzebacks are. They are twitchy snakes, and this one bit me when I first grabbed him. I had to pull him off my index finger slowly to prevent injuring him. He bit down hard for his tiny size (about 10 inches). These snakes love frogs and other small animals – geckos included.
This species of bronzeback has a black stripe on a light background running from it’s neck to it’s tail. The belly is white or yellowish. This snake does not have the stripe across the eye like some of the other bronzebacks. The top of the head is brown – bronze color as is the top of this snake’s back.
The eye is large, like a rat snake, and the head is long almost like a whip snake, but wider in comparison to the body. Unlike other bronzebacks, the vertebral scales are not enlarged but are narrow in shape. Its lower cheeks and lips are pale yellow with small black marks or stripes running vertically near the snout.
Species: D. caudolineatus
(Discovered by Gray in the year 1834)
Range: All over Thailand and most of Asia including: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Western Malaysia, and Singapore.
Habitat: Anywhere rats exist in abundance. They aren’t found on hills or in mountains, usually just the low-lying areas and where people and garbage are.
Active Time? Diurnal – active during daylight hours.
Food: Rats and other rodents, frogs and lizards. Much prefer rats. These are primarily rodent eaters and they vary little from their diet because there are usually plenty of rats available.
Defensive Behavior: Will flee very quickly if given the chance. If agitated, rat snakes bite quickly.
Venom Toxicity: No venom that is harmful to humans.
Notes: These are very common snakes, and are seen a lot because they prefer to be active during the daylight hours. They have very large eyes, which would make one think they can see well at night as well. These snakes can be held without striking (see video below).
Ptyas korros can be silver, grey, or brown – orange looking in color. Scales on the posterior part of the body and on the tail often yellow and edged with black. Underbelly is light yellow. Juvenile Indochinese rat snakes have a transverse series of round whitish spots or narrow yellow transverse bars.
Ptyas korros Scientific classification
Binomial name: Ptyas korros
(Classified by Schlegel in year 1837.)
My Indochinese Rat Snake Photos:
Another photo, showing same snake but darker exposure. It looks more brown toward the tail:
Length: Average length is less than 2.5 meters max. Usually smaller than 2 meters. the one pictured here is 1.7 meters. Adult Blood Pythons typically are 137-182 cm (4.5-6 feet) long. Females are slightly longer than males. These snakes weigh 5-9 kilograms (12-20 lb).
Range: In Thailand only on the island of Phuket and in the far south from Krabi province and southward. The pictured Blood python came from a rubber plantation near Tub Kaak, Thailand in province of Krabi. Found on the Malay Peninsula.
Habitat: Flat land & marshy forests. Blood pythons prefer to live near water. They are often found on rubber plantations, as this one was. They typically hide under leaves and brush, or you can find them in the water. These snakes don’t go far when hunting, instead they lay still waiting for rodents or other mammals to walk by.
Active Time? Nocturnal – active at night.
Food: Rats, mice, chickens.
Defensive Behavior: A short powerful strike from the s-position. As mentioned, they can easily twist out of a snake handler’s grip.
Venom Toxicity: No venom. Little danger. These pythons bite with provocation, but they have a very short strike. Though their strike is short – they pack a powerful bite.
Offspring: Oviparous, with up to 30 eggs being laid at a time. After the eggs are laid the female mother coils around the eggs and vibrates, or shivers, to produce heat (88 to 90 degrees F) which the eggs need to develop. She lays 12-30 large eggs 60-70 days after mating in the first couple months of the calendar year. The eggs are 14-16 cm long and weigh about one-hundred grams each. Young Blood Pythons have same coloring as adults and are 30-40cm at birth. First shed is 2-3 months. Blood pythons can reproduce at between 1.5 and 4 years. Breeding can be started by cutting down the daytime light to 8 – 10 hours and setting night temperature to the mid-70’s. Bring the female to the male’s cage. Misting the snakes with water can facilitate breeding. Female Blood Pythons typically shed 14-20+ days after ovulation; eggs are typically laid within 30 days of post-ovulation shed.
Blood Pythons may live 25 years in captivity.
Notes: We caught another wild blood python on a rubber plantation just like this one. When catching this species one must be sure about the grip from the time grabbed because as short as it is, it is full of muscle. Though this snake appears fat, it is muscle. It is exceptionally strong when pulling out of a hold.
This snake can change the color of it’s head from dark to light gray.
These snakes can have a temper if caught in the wild. They can settle down with daily handling and stroking. Babies born in captivity are usually more calm than adults. Eventually holding them is a possibility. The Thai-Malaysian Blood Pythons bite more quickly than do the Indonesian variety.
The skin of these snakes is highly prized and they are hunted because of it. Their numbers are shrinking because they are killed for their meat and skins. Over 60,000 blood pythons and short-tailed python skins are taken each year.
Substrate: Best? Newspaper. Cover the bottom of the cage with a thick pile of newspaper and crumple up some loose balls so the snake can hide under it.
Python curtus brongersmai
Species: P. curtus
Subspecies: P. c. brongersmai
Length: average just under 1 meter (about 37 inches)
Range: All over Thailand. Brown Kukri snakes were once thought to be native to only the southernmost Thailand provinces, however J. Bulian has found one in Pattaya and there have been others discovered farther in the northeast. Assume the Brown Kukri’s habitat is all over Thailand.
Habitat: These snakes prefer life in the forest and can be found at great elevations – about 1 mile high (1,600 meters). I have received numerous requests to identify this snake from readers who found them close to or inside their homes as well. The habitat is wide and varied for this species. Regardless where they are found, they enjoy living under brush, wood, rocks, and thick flora.
Active Time? Nocturnal, active at night and in the early morning as the sun rises.
Food: Frogs, lizards.
Defensive Behavior: If the brown kukris are bothered enough they will roll their body to the side and lift up their tail – perhaps to present it as a place to attack – leaving the mouth free to strike when the aggressor does go for the tail.
Venom Toxicity: No venom.
Offspring: Lay 6-12 eggs. A reader reported his snake had 8 eggs the first time and 10 the next. Eggs hatched after 60 days, incubated at 29 degrees C.
Notes: Though this snake is not venomous, it is keen to bite and can inflict deep wounds due to it’s large, curved teeth and strong bite. Michael Cota, researcher, says, “Appears that it might be an evolutionary link on the way to being venomous, since it is the only snake that I can think of that has “fangs” (enlarged pair of teeth), but no venom delivery system or ducts to the teeth. They are not dangerous, but will give you quite a bloody bite that takes a long time to heal. What makes them so difficult is that their head is not distinct; therefore, it is extremely difficult to grab behind the head and keep proper control of it. It maneuvers it head around on your grip and then uses teeth to bite – slash.”
You’ll need a tetatus shot if you are bitten, as with all snakes as a precaution.
Kukris are common and you might see one in Thailand if you live here.