I just went back and counted up how many times people in Thailand submitted a Snake ID request through the form on the right side column link.
478 times in 10 months. That’s a lot of people seeing snakes, but really is just a tiny fraction of everyone that sees snakes in Thailand. Some don’t need me to identify them, others don’t think to go find out what it was. Still others don’t see the snake clearly enough to give a good description on the form.
Out of those 478, I probably ID’ed the snake correctly in about 20% of the cases. Not because I instantly know the right one, but because I list multiple snakes – that I hope are researched by the one that submitted the Thailand snake ID request.
It’s very difficult to identify a snake based on color and size alone. Time of day helps. Where it was found – in a tree, in rafters in a house, in the fresh or salt water – all help.
You know what REALLY helps? Photos.
With a photo – we can at least nail it down to 2-3 snakes it must be, or probably is… almost always we can say whether it is dangerous or deadly or not.
So, about 50 times per month we get a form submitted. Almost 2 per day. Can you imagine how many hundreds of people in Thailand will see a snake today? Maybe even 1,000 people across this country of nearly 60 million residents and another million or so visitors here at any one time.
That’s a lot of snakes.
Still, with all of those sightings – not very many people die from snake bites. From the Malayan Pit Viper or one of the kraits – usually less than or around 10 deaths per year each. That’s not too bad. It’d be nice if it was “0″ – but, the world isn’t perfect, right?
If you come to Thailand on vacation – would you see likely see a snake?
No. I think maybe 1-2% of all tourists see a snake in Thailand, staying here for a week. Just a guess, but I don’t think it’s more. Heck, it takes me a serious effort usually before I can see a snake.
Yesterday I was lucky and had a red-necked keelback go across my motorbike path. I was able to stop and grab her and transport her to a local heavy forest area where she had less chance of being struck by a speeding vehicle.
You must go looking for snakes to find them – as a rule in Thailand and all over southeast Asia. They are not as common as birds, bugs, or bees.
Don’t fear Thailand because of snakes – you’ll probably never see one unless you go herping and looking for them specifically!