Category Archives: rear-fanged

Puff Faced Water Snake – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous

Puff Faced Water Snake - Homalopsis buccata from Nakhon si Thammarat
Juvenile Puff Faced Water Snake – Homalopsis buccata – Not Dangerous. ©2010 ThailandSnakes.com

(Page Updated: 6 September 2016)

Homalopsis buccata (Puff-faced Water Snake)

Thai – (ngu hua galog, ngu leuam ao)

Size – Maximum about 120 centimeters. The young are very thin – like a pencil. The adults are thick – like a forearm or even a human leg.

Range – all over Thailand and almost always beside or in water: Pools, streams, rivers, puddles, lakes. They are not found on hills or mountains.

Food – fish, frogs, tadpoles primarily.

Behavior – The water snake Homalopsis buccata lives in fresh and salty mixed with fresh – brackish water. These snakes live in and near any body of water – natural or man-made. Puff Faced Watersnakes are found almost always in the water or on the bank. Small holes in the bank are often ‘home’.  This snake is primarily active at night, but I have found 2 of them during the day time. eds on fish, frogs and frog spawn.

Young – born alive without eggs. Coloration – orange and black bands. Adults are darker orange and even grey color without any orange.

Danger – I’ve had a couple of these snakes and they don’t seem to bite at all. Not saying they never do, but I think their temperament is nice and calm.

Range – Bangladesh; Myanmar, Cambodia; Thailand; Vietnam; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Singapore; India; Nepal; Pulau Bangka

Homalopsis buccata – Puff-faced Water Snake

Puff-faced Water Snake Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Homalopsis
Species: H. buccata
Binomial name
Homalopsis buccata

Classification by Linnaeus in 1758

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Brown Whip Snake – Dryophiops rubescens – Not Dangerous

Dryophiops rubescens - Brown-Whip-Snake - Krabi, Thailand
Dryophiops rubescens – Brown Whip Snake. Rear fanged. Not dangerous to humans. Relatively rare.

Here is a whip snake that was a bit of a mystery for a while, it was finally identified by an American expat snake researcher in Bangkok – Michael Cota.

This snake was found in Krabi province, and far north of where other instances of this snake have been found in Thailand. There were a couple found in the southernmost provinces – near Narathiwat – near the Malaysian border.

Dryophiops rubescens(Keel-bellied Whip Snake)

Also known as: Red Whip Snake, Brown Whip Snake, Keel bellied whip snake, keel bellied vine snake.

Length: As long as 1 meter (3+ feet)

Description: The head of this snake is more brown than any other part of the body. Keep in mind there are red and brown varieties. The head is elongated and has a ridge between the eye and snout. Pupils are set horizontally. The body of the snake is slender – ideal for climbing through vines and light growth. The snake is measured in grams, not exceeding 300 grams for the largest of them. Scales on top of the body are smooth. The underside scales are keeled and are excellent for climbing. The whip snake I caught yesterday was able to climb up a smooth plastic water jug and grip it tightly. I was quite surprised. The head is brown, the neck and first half of the body is silver / grey and mottled with some black and dark grey. The belly is pale yellow under the head and neck, and toward the tail gets a coloration very similar to the top – heavily mottled and darker brown moving posteriorly. These snakes are more thin than my smallest finger.

Range: Literature has this snake occurring only in Thailand’s deep south, but, this is the second instance of one found in Krabi province – so, obviously the range includes this province as well.

Habitat: Trees and ground. I found both on the ground. They are excellent climbers and love vines and light brush. Recently we found one hanging out in the curve of a guardrail on a mountain in Krabi.

Active Time? Diurnal, but possibly also nocturnal. Both of mine were found during daylight hours.

Food: Small geckos and frogs primarily.

Defensive Behavior: Accurate strikers! One of the ones we’ve had didn’t bite at all. The other tagged my finger striking quickly and very accurately. I bled slightly. No ill effects were noted.

Venom Toxicity: Weak for humans. Effective for geckos, lizards and frogs. These are rear-fanged colubrids and a prolonged bite could cause swelling and pain at the bite site.

Offspring: Nothing known about this area.

Notes: These are really beautiful snakes resembling the Ahaetulla prasina in body morphology and Gunther’s Whip Snake. Studied closely you’d be amazed at the pattern in the body of the snake. Both of ours were brown whip snakes (we are guessing – there are few photos in the lit), there are also red-colored species of this snake.

Scientific classification: Dryophiops rubescens

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Dryophiops
Species: D. rubescens

(Classified by Grey, in the year 1835.)

Video – Brown Whip Snake from Southern Thailand:

Video of Another Keeled Whip Snake from Krabi Province in Thailand:

Page Updated: 6 September 2016

Plumbeous Water Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

The Plumbeous Water Snake (AKA: Rice Paddy Snake) is a venomous snake, though it is not dangerous to humans.

(Page Updated: 6 September 2016)

Enhydris plumbea (Plumbeous Water Snake, and Rice Paddy Snake

Thais say: (ngoo bping)

Length: average length for these snakes is about 50cm (19 inches)

Range: The plumbeous water snake is found all over Thailand as well as nearly all of southeast Asia.

Habitat: Near or in water. Lakes, streams, rivers, puddles, marshes, any where water is.

Active Time? Diurnal – active in daylight mostly.

Food: Food is generally fish and frogs, though other opportunistic eating may take place.

Defensive Behavior: Typical s-shaped striking position. Not very mobile on land.

Venom Toxicity: Venomous. Not toxic enough venom to affect humans severely. No known cases of death due to bite from this species in the herpetological literature.

Offspring:

Notes: As you might have guessed, these snakes are most commonly found in the vast rice fields of Thailand. These are common snakes, we have found two of them recently – one in a small pond with many frogs. One at a resort with a stream and some shallow pools of water.

Enhydris plumbea Classification

“Rice Paddy Snake”

Plumbeous Water Snake Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Enhydris
Species: E. plumbea
Binomial name: Enhydris plumbea

(classified by F. Boie, in year 1827)

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Jagor’s Water Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Thailand water snakes are close to or living in the water. You won’t likely see the Jagor’s water snake anywhere near your house or out in a Thailand park unless there is water there.

Enhydris jagori (Jagor’s Water Snake)

(Page Updated: 6 September 2016)

Thais say: (ngoo sy rung ly kwang)

Length: usually less than .5 meters (50cm, 19 inches)

Range: All over Thailand

Habitat: I have seen these Jagor’s water snakes in small pools of water at a city dump as well as a mountains stream. They are very dark and difficult to see.

Active Time?

Food: Fish and frogs.

Defensive Behavior:

Venom Toxicity: There are no known cases of death from this snake. Probably the venom is not very strong for humans.

Offspring: Nothing known.

Notes: The liklihood of you seeing the Jagori’s Water Snake in Thailand whether you live or visit here, is very small.

Jagor’s Water Snake Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Sauropsida
Subclass: Diapsida
Superorder: Lepidosauria
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Infraorder: Alethinophidia
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Enhydris
Species: Enhydris jagori

Binomial name
Enhydris jagori
Classified by Schneider in year 1801

If you’re looking for Thailand Sea Snake Info Click Here.

Tentacled Water Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Erpeton tentaculum (Tentacle Snake, Fishing Snake)

(Page Updated: 6 September 2016)

Thais say: (ngoo kra deng)

Length: average snakes are up to 50-90 cm as adults.

Range: Central and southern Thailand only

Habitat: Tentacled water snakes are found in lakes, rice fields, streams, and other shallow water that is either moving or stagnant – especially that which is murky. It is found in all three types of water environments including salt, fresh, and brackish (combined) water. This snake waits patiently on the bottom and waits for something to wander by – whereupon it seizes it in it’s mouth. Amazingly the tentacled snake can stay underwater for 30 minutes on a breath.

During the dry season in Thailand – from January to April, the Erepton tentaculatus buries it’s body in mud to stay wet and cool, with it’s head out of the moud – of course. They do need oxygen to survive.

Active Time? When night is falling it is known to be more active.

Food: Fish. To lure the prey closer to provide the opportunity for a strike these tentacled snakes use their tentacles as lures – like tiny worms. When the fish come closer they strike. When striking their eyes are retracted and they aim for where the fish will be, not where it is. This is an amazing feat. In actuality the snake is tricking the fish with a movement of it’s body – into fleeing. But, it knows exactly where it will go when it flees. A very unique snake.

Defensive Behavior: Bites when provoked, but not with normal handling.

Venom Toxicity: Weak venom that is not known to affect humans much. Not deadly. These are not biters, per se, and even when handled they are not known to bite much. The fangs are small, in the rear of the mouth, and the fangs are only partially grooved, not made for injecting large amounts of toxic venom. Their venom works well on fish they eat.

Offspring: Each year this water snake gives birth to a half to a dozen live young which are between 20 and 40 cm in length and about a pencil’s diameter in girth.

Notes: Because it spends it’s life buried in mud, or under the water looking for prey it is a rather difficult snake to catch. Recently on a herping trip in southern Thailand I believe a group of us saw one, but, when we reached in with the tongs to attempt to grab the snake, it had already darted.

These snakes are either lightly striped or have blotches. Their color is either hues of grey or brown.

Tentacled Water Snake Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Erpeton
Species: E. tentaculatum

Classified as: Erpeton tentaculatum

Classified by, Lacepede in year, 1800.

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Dog Toothed Cat Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Really amazing snakes, the Dog-toothed Cat Snake (species Boiga cynodon), which I don't get to see near often enough here in Southern Thailand. These are bird, egg, and lizard eaters primarily - but this one was seen heading for the frog pond.
Really amazing snakes, the Dog-toothed Cat Snake, which I don’t get to see near often enough here in Southern Thailand. These are bird, egg, and lizard eaters primarily – but this one was seen heading for the frog pond.

Boiga cynodon (Dog-toothed Cat Snake)

Thais say: ngoo sy hang ma

Length: As large as 2.75 meters (8+ feet) Recently I caught one that was about 2.5 meters. They are thin snakes and have a pronounced vertebral ridge and color bands of tan, yellow, brown and black.

Range: These Dog toothed cat snakes are found only in southern Thailand from Prachuap Khiri Khan and southward to Malaysia. We found two Boiga cynodon in Krabi and one in Nakhon si Thammarat over the past year. Other countries B. cynodon is present: Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines.

Habitat: Though they shy away from locations humans frequent they can be found on resorts in southern Thailand especially where there are chickens, eggs, and birds in cages. Typical habitat for the Boiga cynodon is the edge of rainforest where they are arboreal, spending most of their time in the trees and bushes waiting on the perfect bird meal to land. They are known to live in palm plantations as well.

Active Time? Nocturnal, active at night usually – but, we found one during the day as well.

Dog-toothed Cat Snake found in Southern Thailand.
Dog-toothed Cat Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous. This one is darker than usual – it has an abundance of melanin, and is ‘melanistic.’ Photo by Tom Charlton.

Food: Birds of all sorts, and their eggs. Birds, chickens, and quail in captivity. When hungry will also eat other animals – lizards are most likely. Recently we caught a large specimen of 2.4 meters in length which was crawling across a road toward a frog pond. There are herping forum postings of a captive animal eating mice.

Defensive Behavior: Rarely bites, this is a big snake that can be hand held until aggravated.

Venom Toxicity: Though they rarely bite – even when physically attacked – they can inject venom. They are rear-fanged colubrids and a prolonged bite could cause swelling and pain at the bite site. The venom can cause problems with circulation. A simple bite from this snake is not usually dangerous because the rear fangs don’t sink in during a typical bite. There are two larger than average front teeth resembling fangs.

Offspring: Six to twelve eggs laid.

I've hand-held the dog-toothed cat snakes before and no problem... but this one struck at me repeatedly.
I’ve hand-held the dog-toothed cat snakes before and no problem… but this one struck at me repeatedly.
Amazing colors and eyes on the Boiga cynodon - yes?
The melanistic snakes can be really stunning. ©2010 ThailandSnakes.com

Notes: These are beautiful snakes here in Thailand – perhaps more so than the rest of Asia where they are known to be found. A couple of specimens were found locally in Krabi in southern Thailand at night and near a chicken farm in one case, in a tree on another herping field trip. These snakes are known to eat local Thais birds in the cage, and then not be able to get back out through the slats in the bird-cage, and so entrap themselves.

Coloring on these snakes varies greatly. You can see the two snakes in these images here, they were both from the same area. They are dramatically different in coloration, the darker one having an excess of melanin.

Dog-toothed cat snakes are sometimes confused with vipers because their head is quite pronounced in size from the size of their necks where it meets the head. There is no viper that gets anywhere near this big – so, you can discount vipers if the snake is 1.5 meters or longer. Only the Chain Viper (Russell’s Viper) reaches 1.5 meters, and it is considerably thicker in size at the neck. If you are in Thailand’s deep south,the Sumatran Pit Viper can reach around 2 meters in length.

A lighter-shade of Dog-toothed cat snake found in a palm tree at night in Krabi province. This one was nearly 3 meters long.

Scientific classification: Boiga cynodon

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Boiga
Species: B. cynodon

Scientific classification: Boiga cynodon
(Classified by Boie, in year 1827)

Page Updated: 7 September 2016

Video of Release of Dog-toothed Cat Snake

Oriental Whip Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Oriental Whip Snake, Ahaetulla prasina, from Thailand
Oriental Whip Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

The oriental whip snake is a very common rear-fanged venomous snake found here in Thailand’s rain forests. You can find these snakes in the trees during the day, I have even seen them crossing my path twice on trips up a small local mountain in southern Thailand.

The beauty of these snakes is legend. There are green, yellow, or grey phases of this snake, all of which are spellbindingly beautiful. The juvenile whip snakes are often brown or yellow.

Ahaetulla prasina (Oriental Whip snakes)

Thai Language: ngoo kee-ow hoo-uh jing joke pa

Length: Up to 190 cm. Girth: Body is finger thin, tapering to a very thin pencil-width neck. The head is spear shaped and bright green.

Range: All over Thailand. The species ranges from India to China and throughout Southeast Asia.

Habitat: During the day you can find these snakes in trees and bushes usually. Occasionally they will be at ground level hunting frogs and small lizards. I have seen these snakes in all kinds of habitat, but usually in trees and leafy bushes. At night these snakes sleep in the same environment.

Active Time? Diurnal – active during the daylight hours.

Food: Frogs, small birds, small lizards.

Defensive Behavior: The oriental whip snake can spread it’s neck area to increase by double in size as a defensive technique designed to scare attackers. It is quite beautiful when either solid green, or with the green, white and black checkered pattern displayed in full defensive posture. Sort of comical is what the snake does with it’s tongue when molested. It sticks the tongue out and holds it there for some seconds, or minutes.

Venom Toxicity: Weak. Although this is considered to be a rear-fanged and venomous snake it is not very dangerous to humans due to it’s non-aggressive nature and weak venom characteristics. The venom would need to be injected into the wound with time – with a chewing motion. Not many people bitten are going to let a snake hang off them for any amount of time. Some do, and they may have severe complications and require hospitalization.

Offspring: In Thailand the Ahaetulla prasina can mate during either of two times. Usually between April and July, and then also between December and January. Gestation period: ~ 6 months. Number of births: 4-10. Lengths at birth of offspring: 400 – 500 mm.

Notes: These are wonderful little snakes to catch and let go. These snakes do not do well in captivity and many die within days of being kept in an enclosure. They are as beautiful as snakes get, but please resist the urge to capture one to keep as they are very sensitive and die easily.

We have not been bitten by these snakes, but in the wild when catching them they will attempt to strike at times. They are fast and have a short striking range. What is really amazing about these snakes is the way they effortlessly glide down a hill or through trees like on ice. They can climb extremely fast and disappear before you have a chance to grab them. See video below!

These snakes are not often confused with other snakes here in Thailand because they are quite distinctive. Their head is long and to a fine point. They are very thin at the neck before the head unless they have flared up in defense.

Ahaetulla prasina

Oriental Whipsnake (Ahaetulla prasina)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Ahaetulla
Species: Ahaetulla prasina

Binomial name: Ahaetulla prasina
(Classified by Shaw, in the year 1802)

Photo of a brown hued Ahaetulla prasina shot by Tom Charlton – shown here with permission:

Brown Oriental Whip Snake - Ahaetulla prasina from Thailand
Sometimes they are brown. Juveniles are usually brown.

Photo of an Ahaetulla prasina Ahaetula mycterizans, very similar to A. prasina I found on a hike:

Oriental Whip Snake, Ahaetulla prasina, venomous, rear-fanged snake from Thailand
Ahaetulla mycterizans – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Oriental Whip Snake Videos:

Another of the same type of snake – just further up the trail, different day:

Snakebite – Red-Necked Keelback – Rhabdophis subminiatus

Red Necked Keelbacks are now considered quite dangerous and potentially deadly.
Red Necked Keelbacks are now considered quite dangerous and potentially deadly.

(Page Updated: 6 September 2016)

Red-necked Keelback Snakebite and Envenomation

A couple months back I received an email from a concerned father whose son was bitten by a red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) he had found in their neighbor’s garden.

“My son is suffering from non clotting, severe swelling, and paralysis and is now in ICU, where his vital and neuro signs are ok, but blood not good.”

These snakes have, in the past, not been identified as a dangerous snake. Many people have them as pets, and free-handle them with bare hands. Sometimes these snakes bite, but once they are handled a bit they usually calm down and rarely bite. There have been some cases in the literature where bites have resulted in hospitalization, and there has been a push to identify these snakes as what they are – venomous, and dangerous.

Colubrids, rear-fanged snakes, are nearly all venomous. Venom is modified saliva that helps the snake kill and break down the body of their chosen food.

I was excited to have a response from the father of this boy that spent 2 weeks in a Thailand hospital after suffering 2 bites from this snake.

Here’s what I learned after some questions by email…

1. Can you tell anything about how the bite occurred? Was the keelback snake typically calm – and then, out of the ordinary behavior – it bit your son?

Calm, he was showing off to his friend’s that he can handle snakes, this red-necked keelback was a wild one not a pet. He has a constrictor, a corn snake and a python as pets, all fairly placid, but the keelback he had no understanding of.

2. Approximately how long did the snake bite down on your son’s hand? Was it less than 1 second? 1-3 seconds? 3-5? 10? 60 or more? This is the most important question because in the past we haven’t seen enough venom transferred from quick bites, or even repetitive quick bites…

Between 30-40 seconds I believe. It wouldn’t let go.

3. Did the snake bite more than once that day?

Bit him twice within a few minutes.

4. Did the snake routinely bite your son – often?

First time.

5. Can you tell me approximately how long was the snake? Do you have any photos of it? Can you please send if you do?

No photo’s I’m afraid, he didn’t mention how long it was, but he will be back from school at the weekend, and I’ll fish more info out of him.

6. Did you get the snake in Thailand? There in Phuket, or where?

Wild snake in his friend’s garden (Phuket).

*******

So, here again – the red-necked keelback snake bit down for an extended period of time – 30+ seconds, and had time to squeeze a lot of venom into the boy’s hand. Then bit again.

There is no manufactured antivenin for the Rhabdophis subminiatus as it is here in Thailand. In Japan there is a small amount of antivenin produced to handle bites from their local species. To my knowledge there has been nobody treated with this antivenin outside of Japan, and I’m sure they would not be all that interested to give up some of their small supply to export to another country.

More information on venom toxicity and treatment after bite by this snake: R. subminiatus.

Venom Characteristics

(from http://www.afpmb.org/content/venomous-animals-r#Rhabdophissubminiatus)

Venom consists of mainly procoagulants, which can cause renal failure; plus mild neurotoxic factors. Envenomation does not always occur. Bite may be almost painless, with minimal local swelling. Symptoms of envenomation may include local numbness, headache, nausea, & vomiting; in severe cases renal failure has caused human deaths. No known antivenom currently produced.

LD50 for intravenous injection – .125 to .129 mg/kg. That is extremely venomous, in the same category as Bungarus candidus (Malayan Krait), Naja kaouthia (Monocled Cobra), and O. hannah (King Cobra).

One WHO (World Health Organization) publication about the management of venomous snake bites in Southeast Asia mentions the antivenin for Rhabdophis tigrinus in Japan as having some effect on the venom of R. subminiatus. I am not sure if this is strictly for R. subminiatus found in Japan, or not. Worth a try though if you can get them to send you some antivenin. Otherwise, there is no other option – there is no monovalent antivenin specifically for R. subminiatus.

Japan Snake Institute
Nihon Hebizoku Gakujutsu Kenkyujo
3318 Yunoiri Yabuzuka
Yabuzukahonmachi Nittagun Gunmaken 379-2301
Tel 0277 785193 Fax 0277 785520
[email protected]
www.sunfield.ne.jp/~snake-c/
Yamakagashi (Rhabdophis tigrinus) antivenom. Also effective against rednecked keelback (R. subminiatus venom)

I have some time today, and I’m curious what their response will be. I’ll write them to see whether they could, in an emergency, be able to send some antivenin here to Thailand to treat a bite by R. subminiatus or R. tigrinus.

OK, I’ve written them, lets see if they respond…


 

Update 2/11/2016 – No, they did not respond at all. Nothing. Today I was thinking about the topic and decided to write more people to see if I could get some vials of Rhabdophis tigrinus antivenom from Japan to try in treating patients with complications from bites of R. subminiatus. The following is the letter I’m sending to a number of researchers, scientists, and again, to “The Japan Snake Institute.”

Dear Toru Hifumi,

Greetings from Thailand! I am a snake enthusiast from the USA, living in Thailand for the past 11 years.

I read your paper, “Effect of antivenom therapy of Rhabdophis tigrinus (Yamakagashi snake) bites.”

I have been researching the subject of Rhabdophis envenomation because I have had a few experiences here, helping young boys who were bitten.

In both cases, the victim was a young male child. One was 12 years old, and the other was only 9 years old. Both the boys had kept the snakes as pets and thought them to be harmless.

Both were admitted to hospital intensive care for 10-14 days with bleeding from various orifices and ultimately renal failure.

I have read that your antivenom may help particularly in cases of renal failure.

On two occasions I emailed staff at “The Japan Snake Institute” about possibly purchasing some antivenom to help these boys recover. Unfortunately, I never received any reply from them at all.

I am hoping you will reply favorably after reading this note!

As you know, Thailand has not made antivenom for any snake in the Rhabdophis genus. R. chrysargos and R. nigrocinctus are also found in Thailand, and they may have similarly toxic venom.

I anticipate more emergency situations involving children in the coming year(s) and I must try to help in any way I can.

I am asking you if I can purchase some of the R. tigrinus antivenom for experimental use by hospital staff when patients in Thailand are envenomated by this snake.

We are not seeking to make any profit from this venture, the antivenom will be provided to Thailand hospitals on a case-by-case basis, and at cost (no markup).

As I understand your article to read, each vial of freeze-dried R. tigrinus antivenom, Equine (lot #0001) is able to neutralize the coagulant activity of about 4 mg of R. tigrinus venom.

If we were able to purchase just 10 vials, or even 5, that could be a significant help to patients here in Thailand who need it – especially children.

Would you please respond favorably to this request?

Thank you for your time and concern about what will most certainly be in the near future – a life and death matter.

With highest regards,

Vern J. Lovic
ThailandSnakes.com

Red Necked Keelback Caught on a Night Herping Trip

Just a pic – wanted to share this Thailand snake before I forgot….

Rhabdophis subminiatus, Red-necked keelback. Venomous and dangerous.

A boy, 12 yrs old, in Phuket, Thailand was in the Bangkok hospital for 2 weeks after a bite from this snake. The venom specifically attacks the kidneys.

Once thought to be harmless – these snakes are now considered dangerous. Don’t have one as a pet…

Rhabdophis subminiatus, Red-necked keelback snake from southern Thailand
Beautiful and dangerous…

One WHO (World Health Organization) publication about the management of venomous snake bites in Southeast Asia mentions the antivenin for Rhabdophis tigrinus in Japan as having some effect on the venom of R. subminiatus. I am not sure if this is strictly for R. subminiatus found in Japan, or not. Worth a try though if you can get them to send you some antivenin. Otherwise, there is no other option – there is no monovalent antivenin specifically for R. subminiatus.

Japan Snake Institute
Nihon Hebizoku Gakujutsu Kenkyujo
3318 Yunoiri Yabuzuka
Yabuzukahonmachi Nittagun Gunmaken 379-2301
Tel 0277 785193 Fax 0277 785520
[email protected]
www.sunfield.ne.jp/~snake-c/
Yamakagashi (Rhabdophis tigrinus) antivenom. Also effective against rednecked keelback (R. subminiatus venom)

Green Keelback – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Rhabdophis nigrocinctus, Thailand. This is a venomous and poisonous snake with nuchal glands.
This Rhabdophis nigrocinctus was in Phuket, Thailand. ©2015 Elliot Pelling.

Rhabdophis nigrocinctus (Green Keelback)

Thai: (noo ly sab keow kwan dam)

Length: Up to 90 cm

Habitat / Range: Thailand and Southeast Asia. Found in a range of areas, usually fairly close to water. This snake is terrestrial – ground based, and is very common in Phuket, Thailand and Phang Nga, and across much of Thailand. Here in Krabi, I have never seen one.

Notes: These snakes are commonly found near water, lakes, ponds, and in gardens.

Active Time? Daylight hours, especially dawn and dusk near water.

Food: Frogs, poisonous Bufo toads, and fish.

Defensive Behavior: Rarely strike.

Venom Toxicity: Though this snake is not known to have caused medically significant bites with envenomation, it is closely related to the Rhabdophis subminiatus which has proven capable of deadly bites. Do be very careful and treat these snakes as venomous and potentially deadly.

Offspring: Nothing known.

Green Keelback Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Rhabdophis
Species: Rhabdophis nigrocinctus