Tag Archives: thailand

Thailand Ticks – Cautions, Tips

Thailand Tick Diseases

Thailand ticks are found throughout the country on dogs, cats, rats, mice, snakes, birds, tortoises, and other animals. Essential Tick information.

Lyme Disease

This tick-borne disease is more common than you might think. My brother back in the states just came down with Lyme disease. He noticed the tick bite early on and was treated for it in just a couple of days, but if left unchecked, serious complications can arise. I worked in a retirement home for a few months in my early twenties. A 32-year-old woman whose mind was wrecked by Lyme disease was there because there was nowhere better to put her to cope with her disability.

We have Lyme disease in Thailand too, don’t miss the case of the young Australian tourist who contracted Lyme disease in Thailand while on vacation in 2012 (scroll down).

Typhus

I came down with Typhus from a tick bite here in Krabi, Thailand a couple of years ago. Typhus is an infectious disease caused by rickettsiae with symptoms of a dark red or purple rash, headache, fever, and usually delirium (confused state). Typhus was a rather frequent cause of death during wars and famines when not treated quickly. There are several forms, transmitted by vectors such as lice, ticks, mites, and rat fleas.

Spotted Fever

The first cases of spotted fever in the country were recorded recently.

First cases of spotted fever group rickettsiosis in Thailand. … The first three cases of spotted fever group rickettsiosis from Thailand are reported. The patients presented with fever, headache, lymphadenopathy, and petechial maculopapular rash. (link)

Tick-borne pathogens include a wide range of viruses, protozoa, bacteria, and rickettsia. Each year, more than 100,000 cases of human symptoms worldwide are caused by tick-borne pathogens (de la Fuente et al., 2008). One tick can often transmit more than one pathogen, including tick-borne diseases (TBDs) which are illnesses transmitted to humans and animals by ticks. Most TBDs are zoonotic and are considered an important public health problem.

Chatanun Eamudomkarn, Chiang Mai Veterinary Journal 2017; 15(3): 127 -136 (PDF here)

Frequency of Ticks in Residential Areas in Thailand

Thailand ticks are not just in the rainforest and grass in your yard. Like many of you, we feed a dog that comes to our house every day and she sleeps on our porch at night. She is very subdued, almost like she’s drugged. She is in good shape to look at – meaning, not fat or thin, muscular. She’s just without an emotion of any sort. She fears men, she was probably beat by one. This poor soi dog must be full of ticks. Update: we got her the tick/flea medicine that goes on the neck. It’s cheap in TH – about 250 THB per month. We’ll continue her on it.

So I go on the hunt and find a tick in our kitchen near the window. I ask the wife, she says they’re all over. Why she didn’t mention that to me, I’ll never know. We go out near where the dog sleeps and she finds 100+ ticks climbing our outside walls of the house. WTH!?

We look more and find them all over the walls outside, the porch, our car. We notice the dog now has a big tick on her eyelid. OK, this is getting crazy. We can’t take the dog in our car to the vet for obvious reasons. We’ll go today to get some sort of tick killer.

Though ticks are usually active in the warmer months, what months in Southern Thailand aren’t warm? So, we have a year-round tick problem, and you probably do too.

Ticks can be very small – 2 millimeters small. We actually brought a headlamp out to see better in the car park area and found many more with the better light.

Mode of Tick Transmission – Walks through Forest and Grass

Though I spend lots of time in Thailand’s forest, I have had few ticks on me. I do tend to cover up when walking on the trails through the forest. I have had Typhus from a tick that I think came from a monkey at the temple. So, do be cautious of picking up a tick there. I had pain under the back of my upper arm for 10 days or so before I finally decided to look. That tick was about a centimeter long and filled with my blood. I had a bruise circle around the bite – and that’s when I knew something was wrong! Typhus.

Not all tick bites are harmful, but there’s a good percentage that will give you some disease you’d rather not have.

Mode of Tick Transmission – Pets

There are tick-repelling shampoos for pets that you should use whenever you bathe your dog, cat, rabbit, whatever you have. Find it at any Thailand pet store or vet.

When I find a snake in the wild with ticks, I always remove them. I have tweezers in the bag and a slow steady squeeze around the head will gradually loosen them and they’ll pop out with some pressure (pulling). You can also soak them in cooking oil and they sometimes come out on their own rather than drown.

Mode of Tick Transmission – Rats, Mice, Snakes, Strays

Even if you don’t have pets, you probably have some animals in your yard that can bring ticks to your home.

One time here in Thailand, a friend and I pulled more than 50 ticks from one small 1.5-meter long keeled rat snake (Ptyas carinata) – see video below.

Spraying Pesticide to Kill Ticks

If you must spray with pesticide, use something that claims to be non-harmful to the environment at least. And, spray away from the house – like where any wall around your yard meets the lawn and all along the groove of your driveway gate. Keep stray cats and dogs out of your yard, and set rat traps just to make sure you don’t have them.

I’m strongly against pesticide of any sort, so we spray isopropyl rubbing alcohol in a fine mist along the base of the exterior walls of the house and yard. It kills ticks, and doesn’t last long. It literally evaporates within minutes, so you will have to repeat often, but it’s one way to do without pesticides which get into your lungs, your eyes, your kids lungs, your pets lungs, etc.

Check your body NOW for ticks, just to make sure. You may have one or two and not even notice them because they don’t always cause a sore spot right away. As I said, I had one that I thought was something like an ant bite for 10 days before my whole arm and shoulder began hurting.

Tourist Contracts Lyme Disease in Thailand

Amy Kennedy from Australia’s East Coast was on vacation in Thailand when she was infected with Lyme disease which caused paralysis in 2012. Article here.

Summary

As you can see there are many places you can pick up a tick in Thailand. Buddhist temples or beaches where monkeys are. Around your resort or home. In the forest on a nature walk. From your pet dog, or any soi dog or cat that comes too close or that inhabits your yard at least temporarily.

Take ticks seriously, the diseases they have are sometimes debilitating and even deadly!

King Cobra Hatchling Found!

Baby king cobra hatchling - juvenile, found in Southern Thailand.
Baby king cobra hatchling – juvenile, found in Southern Thailand.

I was hoping this year was going to be THE YEAR I found a king cobra hatchling – at least one under a meter. Alex Gillard made it happen for me, I didn’t get to find it, but we were at the same place and I’d actually just passed the place he found the little king – about 30 minutes before. Good enough for me, I just wanted to see one in the wild and get some photos and videos.

This has been my target species for about ten years now. I’ve found some adults, and one adult even found me, but I have never seen a king cobra in the wild less than three meters in length.

Juvenile king cobras are very difficult to find. People say they’re ‘smart’ – and yeah, I guess they are. I’ve never even heard of someone finding a hatchling king in the wild. One time a doctor from Malaysia sent me a photo of a tiny hatchling outside his clinic – in the middle of the day. It had probably just hatched.

Certainly, nobody goes looking for and finds king neonates.

Until Alex found one.

So, anyway. My life is complete. Enjoy the photos of this stunning little one-month old king cobra found in Krabi. I don’t know how many times I’ve been herping over the last ten years, certainly well over 1,000 times. And still, I’ve never found one myself!

Anyway, yeah, enjoy…

Hooded king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) hatchling (neonate / juvenile) found in Southern Thailand in July 2017.
Ready for action!

Thailand Snake Note – If Bitten by Snake?

If you are bitten by a snake in Thailand it’s a good idea to immediately wrap an elastic bandage, shirt, whatever you have directly on top of the wound, and if the wrap is long enough – continue to wrap above and below the wound as well.

Get to a hospital. DON’T READ THE REST OF THIS  –  GO NOW.

There are more than 60 species of venomous snake in Thailand. Some are quite deadly. Most, rather harmless. The ones you generally have to look out for are:

  • King Cobra
  • Monocled Cobra
  • Equatorial Spitting Cobras
  • Indochinese Spitting Cobras
  • Malayan Kraits
  • Malayan Pit Vipers
  • All Pit Vipers
  • Russel’s Viper

I may have forgotten some, but I just wanted to list those that you are most likely to be bitten by – and be in serious trouble. These are the deadly snakes. More than likely you’d be bitten by either of two – the Russell’s Viper and the Malayan Pit Viper, both very common and both quite deadly if not treated immediately.

So, DON’T READ ANOTHER WORD  – GET TO THE HOSPITAL NOW.

Steps to treating snake bite in Thailand (click)