Night Herping Field Trip – Krabi, Thailand

Trimeresurus venustus, called the beautiful pit viper, or the brown-spotted pit viper from Southern Thailand, Krabi province.
The Brown-spotted Pit Viper – Trimeresurus venustus. Always a good find!

We had a rather successful night herping trip about ten days ago or so. I’ll cover what we found. It’s always a blast no matter what snake is found because there is always other wildlife that is found.

First up was a spot on the ground in the leaf litter by Marc I think it was. He saw an adult Lycodon laoensis that had recently shed and was bright and lively. That made us all feel better as we were only about an hour into the herp. It’s always good to get the first one out of the way. The Laotian wolf snakes, as L. laoensis is called, are usually quite calm but occasionally you get a bitey one that cannot be held and just rapid fire strikes at the air in a haphazard fashion. This one didn’t get bitey.

On a technical note, my damn camera was set at rear shutter flash sync and to top it off I had a shutter sync of 1/60th the entire night. I’m not sure where my head was, but it wasn’t into photographing snakes. Maybe I was just so excited because we found one after another?

Next up I think was me finding a Lycodon capucinus climbing a tree. Yes, you heard that correctly. It was going up the tree. The tree was 70 cm in diameter and the snake was about 2 meters off the ground. After stepping in a hole that could have been 2 meters deep, and catching myself, I was able to grab the snake gently and take him over for the rest of the crew to see. We took some shots on a moss covered concrete road and let it go. Another great specimen, but to tell you the truth I’ve seen so many of the two Lycodon’s we’d found that I didn’t really care if I ever found another. It’s not that bad, but come on already. Dozens and dozens over the years.

So, we had two snakes and were about 90 minutes into the herp.

I think the next snake was the Trimeresurus venustus, found by Ronny as we hit the peak of the hill. It was cruising the ground and probably in need of a shed. Still, we took a bunch of photos and videos and let it go in a bush just to watch it climb around. A friend earlier had found a few of these snakes in one night, so this was my target species for the night. Check! (top image) Three snakes and we were only half done.

The next snake I found was the green cat snake (Boiga cyanea). It was cruising the leaf litter and was very calm when we found it. Three guys with bright torches picking it up and shooting photos should have irked it a bit, but no biting attempts were made.

Close-up shot of Boiga cyanea, a green cat-eyed snake held by herper in Southern Thailand province of Krabi.
Boiga cyanea – the Green Cat Snake.

Ronny had to bail, it was getting late, so he took off on his motorbike, maybe running over the tail of a snake we found later with a kink in her tail.

The next snake we found was a deadly Malayan pit viper. They’re common, and I was sure we’d see one. This was a sub-adult and it had a hard kink in the tail. I’m guessing Ronny ran it over when he left on his motorbike. There was a bunch of stuff littering the road, and if he did hit it I don’t think anybody would fault him. The break was below the anal scale, so, probably will be OK. It crawled away OK, as you can see in the video I’ll post before too long at the Thailand Living YouTube channel. I’ve seen so many of this snake too that I didn’t take photos. I was pissed at my camera and my ineptitude with the camera at this point.

Marc and I kept on slowly down the hill and found a little Lycodon butleri (Butler’s Wolf Snake). See image below.  This snake had 58 white bands – just like other juvenile’s of this species I’ve seen photos of.

I shot photos and video with my little Nikon AW100 which worked better than the Nikon D610 I had goofed the settings on.

A small snake found herping Southern Thailand in Krabi called, Lycdon butleri - Butler's wolf snake..
Butler’s Wolf Snake – Lycodon butleri. Only one I’ve ever found.

It was getting late and neither Marc or myself thought we’d be out later than midnight. It was already past 12:30 am. and we headed down the hill to make it home by 1 am.

Oh, I forgot to tell about some of the other animals we saw. A couple of frogs, didn’t get good photos of either. A scorpion eating a cricket on a tree. Some sort of mammal ran across in front of us, and it wasn’t a cat. The only thing I could come up with was mongoose. Not sure what it was. It moved so smoothly as it ran. Very odd.

So that was it. I think six snakes in total, but I could be missing one, I thought it was seven.

Herping in Thailand is usually a blast – if the timing is right. Tonight the timing was good – it was a half-moon, fairly clear night with rain blowing through a little bit in quick and light showers.

About Vern Lovic

Snake posts by Vern Lovic. Amateur herpetologist roaming about Thailand on field herping tours and events to find king cobras, kraits, vipers, corals, keelbacks, and other snakes native to Thailand. FYI - Thailand has over 200 snake species. Here's our latest book with detailed information on Thailand's 35 Deadly Snakes. "Is That Snake In Your House Dangerous? Identify Deadly Thailand Snakes In Under 5 Minutes!" INFO HERE.

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