Tag Archives: new Thailand snake

Found Another New Snake – Not Yet Classified – Possible New Discovery

New Green Snake - Thailand

I was getting in one of my mountain climbing workouts and on the dead tree next to me was a small (50cm) dark green snake coming out of a hole where it looked like termites were munching wood. He was head down and just gliding slowly down the vertical trunk of the tree.

I ripped off my shirt and softly grabbed it. I’ve caught 3 of these same species of snake before, and none of them bit or struck, but I don’t take any chances when I don’t know what kind of snake it is.

I had my friend give me a plastic bag and I put the snake in there until I could drink all my water from a bottle and transfer the snake into the bottle. It was 10 minutes before I would find something to poke holes in the bottle. I let air in twice during that time. I’m always scared they don’t have enough to breathe.

I got home and tried to shoot some photos and video, but the light is horrible today and the snake was not cooperative at all. It is calm, but it is calm and full of energy. It never stops in one place so I can get a good photo. Hence the photos I’ll upload to this page are not perfect. Will work on getting better images tomorrow.

Also tomorrow I’ll try to get scale counts and some better video. It’s exciting to know that very few (or nobody) has seen this snake before. It isn’t described in the literature for Thailand. Maybe it came up the peninsula from Malaysia. Not sure. Anyway, enjoy the pics. Will post more as I get them.

New Oligodon Snake Discovery

 

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New Snake for Thailand, or New Species Found!

I found a snake that appears to have never been found in Thailand before today on my hike at a nearby mountain in Thailand.

Time: 12:10 PM, 4/20/2013

Elevation: ~ 400 meters.

Weather: 34C. Bright sunshine, though the area the snake was in was shaded by the canopy.

Habitat: Leaf litter right off the main trail. This is a limestone mountain with sand / dirt topsoil. This snake was in an area with no water for 150 meters or so. It was dry in the leaves, but it had rained within the last 2 days there.

Time observing: About one minute before it successfully evaded capture through the bed of leaves.

Morphology: Approximately 70 cm in length. Width of body at the thickest part was about 5.5 cm (diameter). There was little difference in the thickness of the body from the neck down through the body. The tail tapered very gradually, and so was long. The head was about 4.5 cm in diameter. Body of snake was uniform in color, a light yellow – almost mustard color. The neck was slightly red for a length of about 5 cm. Head of the snake was the same mustard color, without dark markings typical of some keelbacks. It had the shape of a keelback head, the eye size was consistent. The head was the same yellow color as the body, and then had a white ring that went from under the jaw, around to the back of the head where it meets the top of the neck. It was a closed loop on the top, though I didn’t see under the jaw. The scales were bright and very clear. The eyes were very clear. I was approximately 60 cm from the snake. It was not in shed. There were 2 small dark dots, no bigger than about 1 mm each on opposite sides of the vertebral column, and these continued the length of the body, stopping at the tail. I could not see the belly of the snake.

Details: I was walking back from the top of a mountain peak and was well under the canopy. On my right I heard a little twitch of an animal in the leaves, just a split-second, and it stopped. I looked down, and very close to my right foot was this beautiful little snake. At first, just looking at the tail, I figured it was a light-colored Rhabdophis subminiatus. When I bent down and took a good look, the body morphology, color, pattern, and head were completely different from any other snake I’ve seen in Thailand. I had a snake bag with me, to carry my water in. I quickly ditched my water and wrapped the bag around my hand and watched the snake for a while, waiting to get a better opportunity to make an attempt to grab it. The snake started moving again, head under the leaves, and then popping it up again where I could see it. I made a grab for the neck, thinking I’d just pin it down in the thick leaf litter and better be able to grab it to put it in the snake bag from there. After my hand came down, it was able to slip out forward, then launch itself over the back of my hand and back down into the leaf litter where it was lost in seconds. I spent 10 minutes looking, and then headed back down the trail, remembering precisely where I saw the snake.

I’ve seen many keelbacks and many other snakes here in Thailand – hundreds. I’ve not seen one of this color or morphology before. When I returned home I promptly checked Google image search for keelbacks, Sibynophis, and other snakes that I thought it could possibly be. I found no images anything like this snake. I checked the “A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Thailand and South-East Asia” by Cox et al, and did not find this snake listed.

I think there must be dozens of new, never before classified snakes to be found in Thailand. Thais are not what I’d consider outdoor types, and there are few people in the country that study snakes to any degree. One researcher mentioned a handful that were actively practicing in the country.

If you are interested in finding new snakes, I do suggest you book your flight to Thailand at your most convenient opportunity, and plan on spending a month or more looking. Give me an email if you are going to be close to Krabi province. Oh, and don’t forget your camera, like I just did!

Cheers,

Vern L.

New Thailand Snake Species – Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis

New Thailand snake species - Trimeresurus Popeia phuketensis
Similar to the beautiful viper in coloring, but the Pope’s viper in size. This is the holotype snake for the new species.

I was at the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute in Bangkok (the Red Cross Snake Farm) on Sunday and was talking to the snake guy that does the presentation in English on various Thailand snakes. He mentioned that a new snake species was described from Phuket called the Trimeresurus phuketensis. Wow, how cool is that?

He said it is in general appearance like the Trimeresurus venustus, but larger and with brownish scales that make up a pattern of stripes – not well defined, but defined enough to call them stripes. The venom wasn’t supposed to be very strong, but in size the snake is supposed to be similiar to Pope’s Pit Viper – a rather large green viper that often also has stripes.

I’ve yet to see one of these newly described snakes – but will be on the lookout. Their range is only known to be a small section of Phuket Island.

The snake has been described in the Russian Journal of Herpetology by Montri Sumontha, Kirati Kunya, Olivier S. G. Pauwels, Awat Nitikul, Suwit Punnadee.

Here is the MCOT news about it:

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Dec 23 – Thai researchers have discovered a previously unknown species of pitviper on the southern resort island of Phuket and will unveil it next week at Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, also known as the Korat Zoo, in this northeastern Thai province.

Commonly known as ‘Phuket pitviper,’ the new species, Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis sp. nov., was discovered in a rain forest on the southern resort island on Oct 5, 2009, according to Kirati Kunya, a member of the research team.

The researchers studied and examined the species for two years after its discovery to ensure that the serpent was indeed a new species. The discovery and research later was printed in an international journal, Mr Kirati added.

The new species was described and named for its habitat.

The Phuket pitviper differs from other pitvipers as its body has distinct and clearly-seen pattern with more and more dense scales. The toxicity of its venom was not strong but is the same as other pitvipers.

The zoo is scheduled to show this world’s new species of serpent to the public during the New Year celebrations. (MCOT online news)

Ok, my buddy Rob Valentic already got photos of it, and wow, did he get photos. Here’s one:

A new to science Thailand snake just recently described, Trimeresurus phuketensis.
New Thailand snake, Trimeresurus phuketensis. ©2012 Rob Valentic.

Gondwana Reptile Productions by Rob Valentic

Found a New Snake – Is It Oligodon inornatus?

Here it looks just like one from the Oligodon genus. One biologist thinks that is the correct genus.

This one is interesting… I found it at the top of a small limestone mountain. It’s like a keelback, and a kukri snake. A juvenile. Green – dark green on top – solid pattern, no fluctuation. Bottom is dark grey. It’s about 1 foot long. Will get some photos and video and put them up as soon as I get the camera back from my wife!

Ok, below are pics – and I’ll get a video up on Youtube in a few…

 

Have a look at the video at Youtube (embedded below in a few minutes) and see if you can figure it out…

Gerwot from Germany said it was in the genus Oligodon. That seems right on. He showed me how to do a scale count and I got 15’s. If this is the Oligodon inornatus it might be a new snake for this area, greatly extending its range. Some lit has the range as northern Thailand and southeastern Thailand (Isaan area). Here’s a grab from the PDF referencing the snakes range, and addressing some mistakes in a printed book about snakes…