Tag Archives: thailand venomous snakes

Thailand Snake Journal – Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute

Small boy learning about Burmese Python in Bangkok Snake Show - Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute.
Brave boys with a Burmese Python at Queen Saovabha Memorial Center, Bangkok, Thailand.

Yesterday I went to the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute created by the Thai Red Cross Society in Bangkok, Thailand. Doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with snakes – does it?

It’s all about snakes in Thailand actually. This institute is located on the or next to the Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital – a very prestigious hospital in Thailand.

Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute
The Thai Red Cross Society

1871 Rama IV Road, Phathumwan
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
Tel: 022.520.1614 or 1617
www.saovabha.or.th
Email: qsmi@webmail.redcross.or.th

The cost was 200 Thai baht to get in and see the snakes. There is an outdoor display area where there were a couple of non-native snake species like a python from South America. The king cobra exhibit was under renovations. There were some green anacondas, also native to South America. I’ll use some of the photos of the Javan File Snake and striped keelbacks on the appropriate snake pages inside the site here. In total, outside were about 12 types of snakes.

Inside the snake institute were snakes in glass tubes that were dead and illuminated with light. The colors of the snakes were all washed away due to the chemicals used to preserve them. That wasn’t so cool. The red-necked keelback, a very common Thailand snake, was in one of these bottles and was white. These are one of the most colorful snakes Thailand has in the country. It was sad to see them as white and void of color. Misleading quite a bit too if you don’t know all the white snakes have a lot of color.

On the 2nd floor of the institute building were some educational displays designed to teach people the basics about Thailand snakes.

The best part of the visit to the “snake farm” as it’s called on signs there, was the snake handling for a small crowd of 30 of us. There were many children in the audience and they had a good time touching the snakes and holding a Burmese Python that was tame – captive bred, and didn’t bite at all.

The snake handlers showed us banded yellow kraits, a spunky king cobra, the Burmese Python, a green white-lipped pit viper, and a monocled cobra – a large specimen.

The presenter spoke constantly in Thai and good English to give as much information as possible in the 30 minute show. It was a good experience and I learned something… pythons are bigger than anacondas. See, everyone can learn something…

I recommend you visit this snake farm if you have a chance in Bangkok. It is not really as nice as I expected, and there is a limited number of live snakes in the displays – maybe 30 types? They say there are more than 200 species of snake in Thailand and over 60 of them are venomous. Why do they only show about 30 of them? That’s a little hard to wrap my head around since it’s sponsored by the Red Cross and is supported by Queen Saovabha.

Thailand has a lot of amazing snake species which you can find out a lot about by visiting this center, and other snake places across the country. And, don’t forget this site, of course…

Schedule for Demonstrations:

Open Monday – Friday 0830 – 1630
Snake House Visitation 0930 – 1530
Venom Extraction 1100
Snake Handling 1430
Sat / Sun / Holidays open 0930 – 1300
Snake Handling 1100

Map to Queen Saovabha Snake Farm:
(click to enlarge)

Queen Saovabha Snake Farm Map - Bangkok, Thailand
Click Snake Farm map to enlarge.

Video of King Cobra Handling Exhibition at Queen Saovabha Snake Farm:

Smallest Deadly Snake in Thailand?

Thailand monocled cobra baby on the road.

The baby cobras, kraits, Malayan pit vipers, and coral snakes can all kill you just like the adults of their species. Though they don’t have as much venom, or fangs with tubes wide enough to transfer as much venom as an adult, they need not to. Usually a snake like this can inject more than enough to kill a person.

Some adult Malayan pit vipers are only 60 centimeters or so. That’s not a big snake. Big enough to kill you though.

Take all snake bites seriously and get to the hospital as fast as possible after being bitten. Don’t wait for pain or other symptoms, some snake venom doesn’t give many symptoms at all at first.

Hope for a “dry-bite” and that no or very little venom was injected!

Mock Viper – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Mock Viper – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Mock Viper - Non Venomous - Not Dangerous, native to Thailand
Mock Viper - Non Venomous - Not Dangerous

Psammodynastes pulverulentus (Mock Viper, Dusky Mock Viper, Common Mock Viper)

Thais say: (ngoo mok)

Length: average about 75 cm (28 inches)

Range: All over Thailand and southeast Asia including Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam – even getting over to Nepal and the other way, Taiwan.

Habitat: Typically the mock vipers enjoy hilly regions. I found one at a local Buddhist temple (the mock viper you see in the images on this page) at the bottom of a limestone mountain, with a skink it had just killed in southern Thailand. Mock vipers can also be found under leaves and brush. Apparently they like a variety of habitat.

Active Time? Nocturnal primarily, but as I mentioned I found mine during the morning about 10:30am. These Thailand snakes are terrestrial – preferring the ground to trees.

Food: Skinks and other lizards, and of course, frogs – like nearly every other snake in Thailand! This mock viper also, occasionally eats other small snakes.

Defensive Behavior: Slow to bite, they coil up as most snakes and strike. I handled mine repeatedly and didn’t get struck at but a couple of times.

Venom Toxicity: Not strong enough to hurt humans. Don’t let it bite down on you for more than a couple of seconds though.

Offspring: This species is ovoviparous, embryos develop inside eggs which remain inside the mother where they hatch. Mating has been observed occurring for over one hour in a tank for m/f mocks in captivity.

Notes: These are really beautiful snakes. Mock vipers have a thick, strong body. They are not really vipers, but they do possess a weak venom that doesn’t affect humans much. They are rear fanged. Female mock vipers are larger than the males on average at adulthood.

READ THIS: There is a chance you will confuse it with the highly toxic venomous snake, the Malayan Pit Viper. I did. It has markings that are very similar, though it doesn’t have the giant triangular head of the Malayan pit viper – it is pretty close. I thought I had a mutant mock!

Mock Viper top and head, Thailand venomous snake
Very distinct markings, not similar to a Malayan Pit Viper when looked at closely
Mock Viper with Dead Skink Meal
He regurgitated that skink as some tourists poked him with a stick before I arrived.

Mock Viper Video – One I caught in southern Thailand:

Common Mock Viper Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Psammodynastes
Species: P. pulverulentus
Binomial name: Psammodynastes pulverulentus
(classified by H. Boie, in year 1827)