Our Thai guide took us to a place that looked snakey from the start. I’d never been in this particular part of the forest, but he said he goes there to find cobras.
Our first find was after an hour of looking – one of the guys paying for the trip, Barry, found a really nice specimen of Red-Necked Keelback. These snakes are common in Thailand, but every time I see one I just love the things. This one was defensive and flared up like a cobra and showed us all the amazing colors… red, green, yellow – these are rainbow colored snakes. They are harmful only if it bites and hangs on. This one was a biter, and our Thai guide got tagged quickly. We didn’t see any break in the skin, and the snake let go as fast as it struck. We guess no envenomation – he didn’t experience any symptoms as the day wore on.
Our second found snake of the day was a small monocled cobra – Naja kaouthia, and it was a lovely black color. These snakes – at least in this locale – are at their most beautiful when they’re completely black. As they get older they turn a brownish color that isn’t all that cool.
We took it further up the path where the herpers from Australia could get good photos. It was a really stunning snake. I didn’t bring my camera because I like to focus more on the people and what they’re doing. There’s a lot of ways someone could do something stupid while herping. I can get photos anytime. Now, if we found a king cobra – that would be different… as you don’t see those in the wild on a daily or maybe even yearly basis.
After almost three hours we called it quits. There were numerous frogs and small lizards we saw on the trip. Those are always a bonus. Nobody was much interested in them – everyone had snake on the brain.
I was putting all my snake videos, lizards, spiders, scorpions, and other wildlife at my Thaipulsedotcom video channel but it’s getting a bit cloudy what that channel is about. Basically, it’s about Thailand – anything I can think of. That doesn’t hold everyone’s interest all that well though.
So, this new Thailand Snakes channel will be focused entirely on venomous and non-venomous snakes of Thailand. I have about 20 videos up there now, and many more to come as I convert them for uploading to YouTube.
If there are any snakes from Thailand you especially want to see – zap me an email at: info [ at ] thailandsnakes.com and I’ll see what I can do.
Probably some of you have read the story of famous herpetologist, Joe Slowinski. I say “the story” because he died from the bite of a juvenile many banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus) in northern Burma (Myanmar) in 2001.
Just a couple of comments here, I’m not a great book reviewer!
I expected the book to be much better than it was. I paid $9.99 at Kindle books for it and was disappointed in the end, but glad I read it – if that makes any sense.
There were some readable parts in the book, but overall it delved too far into stuff that had little interest to me. Readers want to know – what crazy stuff did Joe do when he was little, and when he was an adult?
In what ways was Joe reckless? In what ways was he brilliant?
The book hit on those areas a little bit, but not as much as I would have liked. It was like a biography about Joe but then talked a lot about the politics of Burma. There were lame introductions to snakes before some of the chapters. Maybe all of them. I tried not to pay attention.
Why not tell a story about Joe dealing with whatever snake you’re going to talk about – not just give it to us without any context. These were like factoids thrown up to make up some pages in the book. More stories about either Joe or others with that snake would have been a much better approach.
The manner in which Joe’s death occurred – as detailed by the book didn’t make much sense to me at all if that’s the way it happened. He was either still under the influence of alcohol, or a complete idiot.
1. Joe is said to have reached into a snake bag to pull out a snake. Who in their right mind does this unless they are absolutely sure what the snake inside it is – because the person put it in there himself? I couldn’t imagine a skilled herpetologist doing this based on anything his assistant said about which snake was in the bag. That said, apparently he did. I’ve yet to do this. I don’t foresee ever doing it. I’ve never seen anyone do this.
2. Joe was bitten, pulled the snake out of the bag and said, “That’s a fucking krait.” As the snake hung from the base of his finger – still latched on – and still squirting venom into his finger. He didn’t pull the snake off his finger immediately, and it took ten seconds for Joe to get the snake off his finger.
WHAT? That makes no sense at all. I think everyone in their right mind would rip that snake right off the finger – breaking all the krait’s teeth – and not feel too badly about it, and, stay alive. Joe was well aware that this was the snake with the most toxic terrestrial snake venom outside of Australia. Is that really what happened?
There was no blood and Joe could not find puncture holes on his finger from the krait. Yeah? I don’t know. If the snake could inject enough venom to kill him, there must have been a sizable puncture hole. I didn’t like how this was gone over so quickly. Maybe when Joe rubbed his finger before looking for the puncture, he removed any minute trace of dry or wet blood, and hid the hole(s) completely?
So, I wasn’t too impressed with the book. I’m glad I read it, but I wish it was free. I’ve read it three times now to see what all I could get out of it. Pretty good for a book that I thought could be much better!
I have been wanting to put a forum on Thailand Snakes for a couple of weeks now but just no time to do it. Today I found what I think is a good solution called Simple-Press for WordPress sites. It is a plugin that just took a little bit of coding to get right. The developer’s home page has a faq and installation guide that covered everythign I needed to know. There are skins and icons you can use or customize your own.
The Thailand snakes forum is primarily a place to come and ask questions about snakes and have snakes Identified if you are in doubt. There is a section for sharing snake photos, snake videos, and other snake articles which you should feel free to use as your own showcase for what you have recorded electronically.
If there are any herpetologists that would like to come on board – that’d be great, as there is a limit to what I know and can find with research. I repeat – I am NOT a herpetologist! Just a guy with a healthy obsession about learning as much as possible about Thailand’s snakes and other reptiles, amphibeans, and even sometimes – insects.
The baby cobras, kraits, Malayan pit vipers, and coral snakes can all kill you just like the adults of their species. Though they don’t have as much venom, or fangs with tubes wide enough to transfer as much venom as an adult, they need not to. Usually a snake like this can inject more than enough to kill a person.
Some adult Malayan pit vipers are only 60 centimeters or so. That’s not a big snake. Big enough to kill you though.
Take all snake bites seriously and get to the hospital as fast as possible after being bitten. Don’t wait for pain or other symptoms, some snake venom doesn’t give many symptoms at all at first.
Hope for a “dry-bite” and that no or very little venom was injected!
Thailand Snakes covers venomous and non-venomous snakes in Thailand and surrounding countries. Cobras, Kraits, Vipers, Corals, Rat Snakes, Tree Snakes, Whip Snakes, Pipe Snakes, Kukris, Pythons, and more.