This lovely 1 meter long Malayan Pit Viper was submitted by a reader of Thailand Snakes (.com), John Helm in Jomtien Beach, near Pattaya, Thailand. The photo was taken on 3/7/11.
John moved the snake from his patio over a wall separating his house from some heavy bush.
These snakes appear to be lazy, or not aggressive – and John said this as well. However, they are violent strikers and can hit you from further than you think. In addition to that, Malayan Pit Vipers can strike backwards VERY fast and VERY accurately. They need not strike out forward… In fact, I have a video of one striking a mouse I put in the cage on Youtube here. It struck backward.
The other day I was observing one and dangling some paper behind it – it struck VERY fast and nailed it.
These snakes are reported to cause more deaths in Thailand than any other snake. The reason I presume, is because they bite village people who either rely on natural medicines – leaves rubbed on the wound, for instance – instead of getting to a hospital they can’t afford.
These and the Russell’s Vipers are the most dangerous vipers in Thailand for bites. Of course, monocled cobras (Naja kaouthia), other cobras, and kraits are worse as far as their venom being deadlier.
This photo comes from a reader that was writing postcards in her bungalow on the island of Koh Phi Phi, in Thailand’s Krabi province when she noticed a Mangrove Pit Viper (Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus) near her foot!
This is not the snake you want near your foot, as they are heat-sensing, and some are known to be strike-happy.
Luckily she was able to move away in time. This snake is so beautiful. They come in yellow, brown, purple, and black colorations. Awesome to get a photo of this one. Thanks Céline Borel!
Here is a lovely shot of a Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) taken in Khao Lak, Thailand in a coconut grove by a reader, Brett Ramsay. Brett was kind enough to let us publish it here.
The paradise tree snake is virtually the same as the Golden Tree Snake, but there are distinct red or orange scales in a nice pattern on the top of the back and some color on the head. Sometimes the snakes are more green than this one, this snake looks quite black. He also appears to have eaten something, maybe a frog since he is here on the ground.
These are some really awesome looking snakes. Usually they come in brown (tan) and green (งูเขียว) color variations, but Rob Green, who has copyright to the images below – took these photos of a yellow one and a grey one. Quite cool. Rob was on Koh Kood (kut) near Koh Chang in the northeastern Gulf of Thailand when he found these snakes. The yellow images were taken with a Canon 7D. The grey whip snake – with his iphone. Thanks Rob!
After you see these photos – you can see more at the Ahaetulla prasina Fact Sheet (click). There are photos and videos of me catching them in the Thailand forest.
Grey Ahaetulla prasina:
Green Ahaetulla prasina (copyright Apornpradab Buasi):
Blood pythons (Python curtus brongersmai) are not often seen in Thailand, but I have had some tourists write me with descriptions of 2 different snakes that most likely was this snake.
Blood pythons are found on rubber tree plantations, near waterfalls, and near rats, chicks, or other small mammals in Thailand.
They have a colorful pattern and are pretty short snakes for how thick they are. They can climb, which you’d have to see to believe. They are so thick and short, you’d think they cannot. They can and do.
Usually blood pythons in the wild are found on the ground under leaves or other cover. They blend right in with fallen leaves.
They are VERY strong, and the couple that I have seen don’t appear to become tame quickly. I mean, not even over the course of months. They still strike me if I get too close – nothing like the ball pythons you see in the pet store, right?
Anyway – just wanted to share this blood python photo.
I really love the look of these red tailed green racers – Gonyosoma oxycephalum.
Previous specimens have had bright blue eyes. This one had green eyes and it was really beautiful because it looked as if the eyeball and the green of the eye – continued the dark stripe on the side of the head.
These are rat snakes, and yet their primary food is birds. Recently I saw two of these large snakes mating in a palm tree. The female can get quite large – over 2 meters. The male, a bit smaller – but still – 2 meters. These snakes were oblivious to people… and is not the same snake in the photograph here. This other one was caught in a tree near some homes by a beach in southern Thailand… it is 1+ meters and was quite calm, this being only the second day it was being handled by people.
The girl holding the snake is from Norway and she’s really not afraid of snakes at all – the non-venomous snakes Thailand has anyway.
I got a different camera, so was trying it out today a bit. More photos to come – if it ever stops raining.
This Malayan Racer (Coloegnathus flavolineatus) photo was sent in by Camille Lemmens from the IDCThailand.net dive shop in Koh Samui, in Suratthani Province.
Correction – I haven’t looked at this for ages… it looks more like a melanistic Coelognathus radiata than it does the C flavolineatus. I’ll have to find a good photo of that one and put it up here!
Malayan racers are similar to the Copperheaded Racer snakes in Thailand, but they are darker and they don’t have the nasty attitude. They don’t often strike, and they can be hand-held usually without any problems. If one knows how to handhold a snake.
Best way to hand hold a snake? Put your hand or arm under it’s mid body and lift up. It thinks you are a tree.
The wrong way to hand-hold a snake is to grab it’s tail or mid body clenched between your fingers – it will take that as aggression and may strike.
Please don’t generalize this to all snakes… some snakes should never be held – vipers, Naja kaouthia and others… but, some can be safely held.
Malayan racers exhibit a flaring of their neck and first 1/3rd of their body – even half their bodies, in a vertical flare. If we think of a cobra flare as horizontal, you can then picture the flaring of the Malayan Racer. Other snakes known to flare like this?
Copperheaded racers, Red-Tailed Racers, Oriental Whip Snake… are all that I can remember at the moment. I am sure there are more.
If you see a Malayan racer in the wild – just leave it alone. They can get big – 2+ meters – and give a wicked bite if they want to. They eat large numbers of rats – so, they’re a good snake to have around.
A reader, Jeremy Gatten, sent this photo (used with permission) of a green pit viper he found one night while looking for owls near Wat Tham Pha Plong near Chiang Dao in Thailand’s north. I was thinking it was. He had squatted down to rest and heard a little rustle in the brush – and found this amazing specimen of… well, pit viper. I don’t know which one it is – but, I’m guessing it’s the White Lipped Pit Viper.
Jeremy himself narrowed it down to one of two – either Trimeresurus macrops or Trimeresurus albolabris (White Lipped Pit Viper).
What do you think?
Note – do be very careful not to be bitten by any of the green pit vipers, their venom – while not usually deadly – is quite strong and can cause havoc in the human body. Vipers are typically identified (in general) by their small size (< 1 meter) and the triangle shaped head.
Sent by Paul Donatus, this is an Indochinese Sand Snake that are common in the Chiang Mai – northern region of Thailand.
Personally, I’ve never seen one in southern Thailand, alive, or dead on the side of the road – so I think we don’t have them down here. They attain lengths of about 1 meter. They They eat frogs, smooth scaled lizards / geckos and even other snakes on occasion so reports one keeper.
Thailand has such diversity among snakes. There are over 200 species of snake living in the country. It’s always exciting to find one I don’t know – and have never seen. Always a bit strange handling them – not knowing, is it venomous and toxic to people, or not?
Keep in mind, I don’t pick up a snake I don’t know with my hands – but when I say “handling” I usually mean on the end of a snake hook, or with snake tongs.
A very cool snake, and apparently Paul has more photos to send. Will get them up as time permits.
Thanks Paul for introducing me to the Indochinese Sand Snake!