Snake Variety at Ngorn Nak Mountain, Nong Talay Subdistrict, Tub Kaak, Krabi

Common red-tailed racer snake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum) from Krabi province, Thailand.
Found on the trail at Ngorn Nak mountain. Gonyosoma oxycephalum – Red-tailed racer.

I nearly leapt over a 1.5 meter long Gonyosoma oxycephalum on my run back down a mountain trail I’d just climbed. Lovely snakes, and one I haven’t seen there before. It got me thinking about all the different snakes I’ve found there over the years. When I go to this mountain trail I’m not herping, I’m just exercising. So, these snakes were found just because they happened to be on the trail when I was. Here’s a list.

Snakes Found at Ngorn Nak Mountain

  1. Ahaetulla mycterizans – Malayan whip snake. These are striking snakes, blue-ish and white, they are incredibly beautiful whether flared up, or in a non-defensive state. I have found at least twenty of these snakes on the trail during daylight, usually around three-hundred meters elevation.
  2. Calloselasma rhodostoma – Malayan pit viper. This is the only strongly venomous and deadly snake I’ve found on the mountain. I’ve found just one of these, a juvenile, near 500 meters elevation on a dry morning.
  3. Chrysopela ornata – Golden tree snake. Very common arboreal snakes, I have found only four of these on the trail and all close to four-hundred meters elevation during daylight.
  4. Dendrelophis caudolineatus – Striped bronzeback. Found this juvenile during afternoon around four-hundred meters up the hill on a fallen tree trunk.
  5. Dryocalamus subannulatus – Malayan bridle snake. Found at night on a tree, this was a striped morph – rather rare, and a great find.
  6. Gongylosoma baleideirus – Orange-bellied snake. Rare and terrestrial. I found this snake at the mountain peak near a spot that is usually wet. It was in the leaf litter about noon on a sunny day.
  7. Gonyosoma oxycephalum – Red-tailed racer. A fairly common arboreal rat snake sometimes also found on the ground. Found at four-hundred fifty meters elevation on the ground which hadnt’s seen rain for six days, during a sunny morning.
  8. Naja kaouthia – monocled cobra. Deadly and common. This was a juvenile snake found within one-hundred meters of the park entrance on the road. I have seen another half-dozen N kaouthia on the road leading up to the park all during daylight hours.
  9. Ptyas carinata – Keeled rat snake. Common, I have found more than ten of these snakes on the trail usually before noon, typically found around eighty meters elevation, but as high as 400 asl.
  10. Rhabdophis subminiatus – Red-necked keelback. Common and now known to be capable of potentially fatal bites.  I found a juvenile at the top of the mountain – five-hundred meters elevation during a sunny afternoon.
  11. Tropidolaemus wagleri – Wagler’s pit viper. I found this amazing specimen during the middle of a very cloudy day during a hard rain. These are venomous and dangerous, and typically nocturnal arboreal snakes which sometimes hunt prey on the ground.
  12. Unidentified Snake #1 – While running near five-hundred meters elevation I leapt over two adjacent rocks and as I looked down I noticed a thick snake about a meter long, moving quickly between the rocks. It was too quick a glance to identify it, but I don’t believe it looked anything like a Malayan pit viper. There is a mountain keelback common in the north of Thailand that I am inclined to think this one resembled more. It would be quite a stretch to find the species in southern Thailand, but ranges are always changing as snakes are discovered in previously unknown locations. Hard to say!
  13. Unidentified Snake #2 – Possibly a new species. Found at around four-hundred meters elevation during a sunny day. I wrote about this very thin, yellow snake here. I’ve been through all my books and looked many times online in google images and other reptile databases for this snake and cannot find anything similar. Of course, I’d like to think it’s a new species!

There were a number of snakes over the years that I couldn’t see well enough to identify. In most cases they were probably C. ornata or something from the Genus Dendrelophis – quickly moving through the trees and making noise, but my eyes couldn’t focus on them before they were already gone. There was an interesting snake about forty meters away climbing up a fallen tree that I would have loved to identify, possibly a green keelback (Rhabdophis nigrocinctus) which would have been a first for me in the province.

So, don’t get the wrong idea. The mountain has some different snakes, but I probably only saw a snake once out of every 5-7 runs on average. This year I’ll be exploring the area more at night.

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