Every few days when I either have some free time, or just reach a point in my snake herping addiction where I MUST GO, I romp around the forest in southern Thailand and try to find cool stuff.
This was a perfect Thailand night. The air was cool and there was even a breeze. The air was not thick and wet, and I wore a long-sleeved shirt and military issue cammies, socks, and running shoes – all things I NEVER wear in southern Thailand unless herping and trying not to be eaten by mosquitoes.
It was very dark on this night – and I think that was a reason for my success. It started out with a small snake slithering off the bank and into the water – very fast, and very small – maybe 8 inches long. In another 10 minutes i saw a 2 meter mangrove snake swimming across one of the small pools of water.
It was ALMOST within reach with my 40 inch tongs – but I just missed him twice. I grabbed slowly and didn’t want him to know I was grabbing at him. He didn’t pick up speed or alter his course – so I think he had no clue something was grabbing for him behind…
He went to the bank – covered with greenery, and just inched up in there and sat. I ran around the lake on the sidewalk and then very slowly crept down to spot he was. I just watched and waited for movement. Nothing. I waited 10 minutes. Nothing. I started pulling apart the vines and water plants that were hiding him. Very slowly. Nothing. I stayed for 10 minutes and pulled up everything around. Nothing. Apparently he slipped under the water and safely away. They are great underwater swimmers, and he must have known I was after him. Bummer. Still, it’s a great feeling to see a 2 meter long snake swimming in the pitch black night air.
I walked further… in 5 more minutes I saw another 2 meter mangrove snake climbing a wall and ready to ease itself into the water. I waited until his head went forward, just over the water, and grabbed with the tongs – GOT HIM.
Unfortunately I couldn’t film the snatch, and now I’m desperate for a GoPro video camera I can strap to my head. This DSLR stuff is for the birds while herping by myself. I asked two guys to come, and neither were interested. WTF! Irrational fears…
Anyway – you see a bit of the snake on video.
Later that night I saw about 4 nice leopard gecko looking geckos – catching 2 to show friends. They freeze when the flashlight is right on them – probably totally blind – and they are easy to grab.
I saw a couple of small owls.
I heard a heavy movement on the hill next to the water. I stopped and listened… it was HEAVY, breaking big twigs loudly. WTF? It had to see me – and yet, it was moving to me, not away.
Initially I thought – big monitor. But I heard no footsteps.
Then I guessed – big reticulated python or Burmese python. Maybe it was looking at me as a meal, or maybe didn’t see me – just saw the flashlight.
There are bears in Thailand – but probably not right there where I was. There are some wild cats – but I don’t think it would be stalking me.
Ok then – enjoy the video.