I get a lot of comments at my Youtube videos – people asking whether snakes are all over Thailand. They’re worried that they are going to be seeing snakes at every turn.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases, anyway. There are some people that write me on this site for Snake Identification – multiple times in one year. They do see a lot of snakes. But, nobody has ever sent me more than 6 requests in a year. That means an average of seeing one snake every 2 months. That really is the max. I think if you are not actively looking for Thailand snakes – you will not find them, and they will not find you. Sure you’ll see a snake every year, if you are outside much. If not – you probably won’t. You can probably go for 10 years without seeing ANY snake if you’re not out in the forest, at the waterfalls, at the river, ocean, etc.
Snakes in Thailand are common – but, not commonly seen. You probably won’t see more than 1-2 per year. They almost definitely will not bite you if you do see them. Even if one bites you – it probably won’t be deadly. It probably won’t cause anything more than some redness and slight pain.
I think there are under 20 land-based snakes in Thailand that are deadly. No, I didn’t count – so feel free to correct me.
That’s roughly 10% of all snakes – are deadly.
I think it’s regularly under 20 people that die each year (official stats anyway) from snake bite over the past few years. Some don’t go to the hospital – preferring to rely on traditional medicine or blind luck – and death results.
Here is some information (though dated) about deaths by snakebite in Thailand:
Thailand – between 1985 and 1989, the number of reported snake bite cases increased from 3,377 to 6,038 per year, reflecting increased diligence in reporting rather than a true increase in snake bites; the number of deaths ranged from 81 to 183 (average 141) per year. In 1991 there were 1,469 reported bites with five deaths, in 1992, 6,733 bites with 19 deaths and, in 1994, 8,486 bites with eight deaths. Deaths reported in hospital returns were only 11% of the number recorded by the Public Health Authorities. In a national survey of dead snakes brought to hospital by the people they had bitten, 70% of the snakes were venomous species, the most commonly brought species being Malayan pit viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma) 38%, white-lipped green pit viper (Trimeresurus albolabris) 27%, Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii siamensis) 14%, Indo-Chinese spitting cobra (Naja siamensis) 10% and monocellate cobra (N kaouthia) 7%. In an analysis of 46 fatal cases in which the snake had been reliably identified, Malayan kraits (Bungarus candidus) and Malayan pit vipers were each responsible for 13 cases, monocellate cobras for 12 and Russell’s vipers for seven deaths.
So, in summary, Thailand snakes are common – but, you’ll have to really search hard to find them on a regular basis. They will not find you too often either.