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Category Archives: Snakes

Vipers outside of Bangkok

Several other Viper species can be found in Thailand outside of Bangkok. They include:

Vogel’s Pit Viper (Viridovipera vogeli)
Bamboo Pit Viper Trimeresurus vogeli

Mangrove Pit Viper (Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus)
Shore Pit Viper Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus

Malayan Pit Viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma)
Malayan Pit Viper Calloselasma rhodostoma Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Snakes, Vipers

 

Cobras and Kraits outside of Bangkok

Several other Cobra and Krait species can be found in Thailand outside of Bangkok. They include:

Malayan Krait
Malayan Krait Bungarus candidus

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Cobras and Kraits, Snakes

 

Colubrids outside of Bangkok

Several other members of the Colubrinae family can be found in Thailand outside of Bangkok. Some of the ones that I’ve seen include:

Collared Reed Snake (Calamaria pavimentata)
Collared Reed Snake Calamaria pavimentata juvenile

Assam Mountain Snake (Plagiopholis nuchalis)
Assamese Mountain Snake Plagiopholis nuchalis head shot

Collared Black-headed Snake (Sibynophis collaris)
Collared Black-headed Snake Sibynophis collaris

Green Cat Snake (Boiga cyanea)
Green Cat Snake Boiga cyanea

Thai Cat Snake (Boiga siamensis)
Thai Cat Snake (Boiga siamensis)

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Rat, Snakes

 

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Keelbacks outside of Bangkok

Several other Keelback species can be found in Thailand outside of Bangkok. They include:

Buff-striped Keelback (Amphiesma stolata)
Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata

Khasi Hills Keelback (Amphiesma khasiense)
Khasi Hills Keelback amphiesma khasiense

Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus)
Red-necked Keelback Rhabdophis subminiatus

Green Keelback (Rhabdophis nigrocinctus)
Green Keelback Rhabdophis nigrocinctus

Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)
Checkered Keelback Xenochrophis piscator

Mock Viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus)
Mock Viper Psammodynastes pulverulentus

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Keelbacks, Snakes

 

Large-eyed Pit Viper

Cryptelytrops macrops

Venomous and Dangerous!

Large-eyed Pit Viper Trimeresurus macrops

Large-eyed Pit Viper found in Laos (photo courtesy of Gernot Vogel)

Large-eyed Tree Viper Cryptelytrops macrops

Another view of Large-eyed Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Gernot Vogel)

Large-eyed Pit Viper Trimeresurus macrops  Khao Yai Randy Ciuros

Large-eyed Pit Viper found in Khao Yai (photo courtesy of Randy Ciuros)

large-eyed green pit viper Cryptelytrops macrops

Large-eyed Pit Viper at Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

Trimeresurus macrops (Big-eyed viper)   Kevin Messenger Nakhon Ratchasima

Large-eyed Pit Viper found in Nakhon Ratchasima Province (photo courtesy of Kevin Messenger)

Large-eyed Pit Viper Cryptelytrops macrops (Big-eyed viper)   Kevin Messenger Nakhon Ratchasima

Another shot of Large-eyed Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Kevin Messenger)

Big-eyed Pit Viper Cryptelytrops macrops

Front view of Large-eyed Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Kevin Messenger)

Large-eyed Pit Viper Trimeresurus macrops

Large-eyed Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Tom Charlton, http://www.venomlogic.com)

Big-eyed Pit Viper Trimeresurus macrops

Large-eyed Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Tom Charlton, http://www.venomlogic.com)

Large-eyed Green Pit Viper Cryptelytrops macrops

Large-eyed Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Tom Charlton, http://www.venomlogic.com)

English name: Large-eyed Pit Viper (aka “Large-eyed Tree Viper”, “Large-eyed Green Pit Viper”, “Big-eyed Pit Viper”)
Scientific name:Cryptelytrops macrops (formerly Trimeresurus macrops)
Thai name: Ngu Kieo Hang-mi Ta To

Description: To 71cm long. A slender snake with a broad, somewhat short triangular head. Heat-sensing pits are located on the head between the nose and each eye. Body is dark green to bluish-green above and paler bluish-green to pale blue below. Head is green above and the lips and throat are bluish-green. Eyes are large and yellow to orange. Tail is reddish-brown.

Similar Species: White-lipped Pit Viper is white, yellowish, or pale green on the lips and throat and has a longer head and smaller eyes.
Mangrove Pit Viper is brown, gray, olive, or greenish-yellow and has dark blotches.
Golden Tree Snake has a narrower, non-triangular head and black markings.
Long-nosed Whip Snake is more slender and has a longer, narrower head that ends in a point.

Habitat: Can be found in forest, shrubland, plains, agricultural areas, and gardens. Usually found off the ground in trees or bushes but will also hunt on the ground at night.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps to control frog and lizard populations. Will occasionally eat small rodents and small birds as well. Provides food for birds of prey and larger snakes.

Danger to humans: The Large-eyed Pit Viper has a dangerous bite and should be taken seriously. Bites can result in intense pain, swelling, necrosis of flesh, and in some cases severe systemic bleeding. Fatalities are very rare but local damage can be lasting. Anyone who is bitten by a pit viper should be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible. See “Interesting facts” for more information.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: Southeast Asian Pit Vipers are not as deadly as the local cobras, kraits, and true vipers, but still can do some damage. The Large-eyed Pit Viper and White-lipped Pit Viper are together responsible for 40% of all snakebite hospitalizations in Thailand.

Thailand’s pit vipers have a “hemorrhagic” venom that causes pain, swelling, coagulopathy, and some tissue damage. In serious cases severe coagulopathy, internal bleeding, and necrosis of the flesh can develop. Pit Viper-specific antivenom is available and should be administered as soon as possible to relieve symptoms and decrease long-term effects.

If you or someone you are with is bitten by a Large-eyed Pit Viper, the most important steps are to:

1) Keep the victim calm, having them lie down with the bite mark below the heart if possible.
2) Take a picture of the snake to confirm identification for the hospital.
3) Get the victim to a hospital immediately where professional treatment can take place and antivenom can be given.

References:
Siam-Info: Crotalinae
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute: Snake Farm
A national hospital-based survey of snakes responsible for bites in Thailand
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
Snake Bites and their Treatment
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry

 

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White-lipped Pit Viper

Cryptelytrops albolabris

Venomous and Dangerous!

White-lipped Pit Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris

White-lipped Pit Viper in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Thomas Brown)

White-lipped Pit Viper Trimeresurus albolabris head shot

Head shot of White-lipped Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Thomas Brown)

Bamboo Pit Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris

White-lipped Pit Viper in grass in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Thomas Brown)

Yellow-lipped Green Pit Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris

White-lipped Tree Viper from southern Thailand (photo courtesy of Maik Dobiey)

White-lipped Tree Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris

White-lipped Pit Viper in Krabi Province (photo courtesy of Tom Charlton, http://www.venomlogic.com)

Bamboo Viper Trimeresurus albolabris

White-lipped Tree Viper from Krabi Province (photo courtesy of Tom Charlton, http://www.venomlogic.com)

Yellow-lipped Green Pit Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris head

Head shot of White-lipped Tree Viper (photo courtesy of Maik Dobiey)

White-lipped Pit Viper (Cryptelytrops albolabris, formerly Trimeresurus albolabris)

White-lipped Pit Viper in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Kevin K. Caldwell)

White-lipped Pit Viper (Cryptelytrops albolabris, formerly Trimeresurus albolabris)

Another White-lipped Pit Viper in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Kevin K. Caldwell)

White-lipped Pit Viper (Cryptelytrops albolabris, formerly Trimeresurus albolabris) head shot

Head shot of White-lipped Pit Viper (photo courtesy of Kevin K. Caldwell)

English name: White-lipped Pit Viper (aka “White-lipped Tree Viper”, “Yellow-lipped Green Pit Viper”, “Bamboo Viper”)
Scientific name:Cryptelytrops albolabris (formerly Trimeresurus albolabris)
Thai name: Ngu Kieo Hang-mi Tong Loeng

Description: To 104cm long. A slender snake with a broad triangular head. Heat-sensing pits are located on the head between the nose and each eye. Body is green above and much paler green or yellowish below. Head is green above and the lips and throat are white, yellow, or pale green. Eyes are orangish-yellow. Tail is brown.

Similar Species: Large-eyed Pit Viper is blueish-green on the lips and throat and has a stouter head and larger eyes.
Mangrove Pit Viper is brown, gray, olive, or greenish-yellow and has dark blotches.
Golden Tree Snake has a narrower, non-triangular head and black markings.
Long-nosed Whip Snake is more slender and has a longer, narrower head that ends in a point.

Habitat: Can be found in forest, shrubland, plains, agricultural areas, and gardens. Usually found off the ground in trees or bushes.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps to control frog and lizard populations. Will occasionally eat small rodents and small birds as well. Provides food for birds of prey and larger snakes.

Danger to humans: The White-lipped Pit Viper has a dangerous bite and should be taken seriously. Bites can result in intense pain, swelling, necrosis of flesh, and in some cases severe systemic bleeding. Fatalities are very rare but local damage can be lasting. Anyone who is bitten by a pit viper should be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats. Is widespread and can tolerate a range of habitats.

Interesting facts: Southeast Asian Pit Vipers are not as deadly as the local cobras, kraits, and true vipers, but still can do some damage. The White-lipped Pit Viper is the leading cause of snakebite-related hospitalization in Thailand, and along with the Large-eyed Pit Viper is responsible for 40% of all snakebite hospitalizations in the country.

Thailand’s pit vipers have a “hemorrhagic” venom that causes pain, swelling, coagulopathy, and some tissue damage. In serious cases severe coagulopathy, internal bleeding, and necrosis of the flesh can develop. Pit Viper-specific antivenom is available and should be administered as soon as possible to relieve symptoms and decrease long-term effects.

If you or someone you are with is bitten by a White-lipped Pit Viper, the most important steps are to:

1) Keep the victim calm, having them lie down with the bite mark below the heart if possible.
2) Take a picture of the snake to confirm identification for the hospital.
3) Get the victim to a hospital immediately where professional treatment can take place and antivenom can be given.

References:
IUCN Redlist: Cryptelytrops albolabris
Severe coagulopathy associated with white-lipped green pit viper bite
A national hospital-based survey of snakes responsible for bites in Thailand
Siam-Info: Crotalinae
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute: Snake Farm
Wikipedia: Trimeresurus albolabris
University of Hong Kong: Cryptelytrops albolabris
Ecology Asia: White-lipped Pit Viper
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
Snake Bites and their Treatment
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry

 

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Russell’s Viper

Daboia russelii siamensis

Venomous and Deadly!

Russell's Viper Daboia russelii in Taiwan

Russell's Viper in Taiwan (photo courtesy of Hans Brueur)

Chain Viper Daboia russelii head shot

Russell's Viper head shot (photo courtesy of Hans Breuer)

Juvenile Russell's Viper Daboia russelii Taiwan

Juvenile Russell's Viper in Taiwan (photo courtesy of Hans Breuer)

russell's viper Daboia russelii siamensis

Russell's Viper found in field in Rangsit (photo courtesy of Michael Cota)

Russell's Viper Daboia russelii India

Russell’s Viper (different subspecies) found under brush in field in India

Russell's Viper Daboia russelii India

Russell’s Viper after it had moved near wall

Russell's Viper Daboia russelii India head

Head shot of Russell’s Viper

russel's viper daboia russelii kolkata

Russell’s Viper that had fled into water from edge of fish pond in India

russell's viper Daboia russelii siamensis lifting head up

Russell's Viper at Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

russell's viper Daboia russelii siamensis head shot

Russell's Viper head shot

English name: Russell’s Viper (aka “Chain Viper”)
Scientific name: Daboia russelii siamensis
Thai name: Ngu Maeo-zao

Description: To 166 cm long. Has a somewhat thick body and a broad triangular head. Body is yellow to brown with a row of large black-bordered blotches down the back and rows of smaller blotches down each side. Each blotch has a narrow white ring around the black border. Head is the same color as the body with several dark botches and marks that vary by region. Underbelly is white to yellowish.

Similar Species: Many-spotted Cat Snake has a slender, vertically compressed body, a smaller head, and is usually found in trees.
Mangrove Pit Viper has less distinct blotches and is only found in mangrove forests.
Burmese Python is much larger, has a larger, flatter head, and has rows of large scales along each lip.

Habitat: Most often found in open dry grassy areas. Also frequents brushy fields, scrub forest and agriculture. Can be found near human habitations, but is not commonly seen within Bangkok itself. During the day is usually found hiding in bushes, grass clumps, between rocks, or in depressions in the ground.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Russell’s Viper helps to control rodent populations and is often found near human habitations hunting mice and rats. On occasion it will also eat lizards, frogs, birds, or arthropods.

Danger to humans: Russell’s Viper is one of the deadliest snakes in Thailand. Though it may often appear sluggish, when threatened it is aggressive and can strike with surprising speed. Absolutely avoid harassing this snake as it may strike without prior warning. See “Interesting Facts” for more specifics.

Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: Worldwide, Russell’s Viper is one of the leading contributors to snakebite deaths. In Thailand it is one of the thee snakes most responsible for hospitalization due to snakebite and the most deadly of those three.

Russell’s Viper has a “hemorrhagic” venom which can cause difficulties in blood coagulation, intense internal bleeding, and acute tubular necrosis of the kidneys. Intense abdominal pain and vomiting may occur due to gastrointestinal bleeding. Death may come from collapse of the cardiovascular or renal systems or as a result of hemorrhaging in the brain or other organs. On average an untreated person takes approximately 48 hours to succumb to the venom, and the fatality rate without treatment may be 50%. However, Russell’s Viper-specific antivenom is widely available in Thailand and will usually save the victim’s life if administered within a few hours after the bite.

If you or someone you are with is bitten by a Russell’s Viper, the most important steps are to:

1) Keep the victim calm, having them lie down with the bite mark below the heart if possible.
2) Take a picture of the snake to confirm identification for the hospital.
3) Get the victim to a hospital immediately where professional treatment can take place and antivenom can be given.

References:
Russell’s Viper envenoming in Hong Kong
A national hospital-based survey of snakes responsible for bites in Thailand
Siam-Info: Viperinae
Wikipedia: Daboia
Wildlife of Pakistan account on Russell’s Viper
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
Snake Bites and their Treatment
Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World
Michael Cota, personal communication

 

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Monocled Cobra

Naja kaouthia

Venomous and Deadly!

monocled cobra Naja kaouthia sunderbans bangladesh

Monocled Cobra found in Sunderbans in Bangladesh

monocled cobra Naja kaouthia sunderbans bangladesh monocle

Rear shot of Monocled Cobra showing monocle mark

Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia banded variant

Banded variant of Monocled Cobra from behind (photo courtesy of Michael Cota)

Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia

Monocled Cobra missing monacle marking (photo courtesy of Wolfgang Wuster)

Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia head

Head shot of Monocled Cobra (photo courtesy of Wolfgang Wuster)

Naja kaouthia (Monocled Cobras) Randy Ciuros

Monocled Cobras in captivity (photo courtesy of Randy Ciuros)

Jakob Lehner monocled cobra Naja kaouthia

Head shot of Monocled Cobra (photo courtesy of Jakob Lehner)

monocled cobra Naja kaouthia Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

Monocled Cobra in captivity at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

monocled cobra Naja kaouthia milking closeup

Monocled Cobra being milked at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia fangs

Monocled Cobra showing fangs (photo courtesy of Wolfgang Wuster)

English name: Monocled Cobra (aka “Monocellate Cobra”)
Scientific name: Naja kaouthia
Thai name: Ngu Hao Mo

Description: To 150 cm long. Reasonably thick-bodied snake with smooth scales and the typical cobra “hood” that is only spread with the snake is agitated. Head is large. Body is brown, reddish-brown, greyish-brown, or pale yellow above. In Eastern Bangkok some individuals have indistinct light bands on the body. The namesake “monocle” mark on the back of the neck is widely variable, but usually is circular. In some populations the marking may be absent. Throat is pale and the rest of the underbelly is variable, from a clouded pale coloration to the same color as the top. Underside of neck has a pair of widely separated dark dots that are visible when the snake lifts up its head and spreads its neck, as well as one or two black rings at the bottom of the throat.

Similar Species: Asian Rat Snakes (Ptyas korros and Ptyas mucosus) have larger eyes, longer tails, and lack the markings on the throat and the back of the neck.
Copperhead Racer has a larger eye, lacks the marking on the back of the neck, and has a dark line going down the front of the body and lines radiating from the eye.

Habitat: Found in a wide range of habitats, including grassland, scrubland, forest, rice paddies, swamps, and agricultural land. Can be found near human habitations, even within Bangkok. Prefers habitat associated with water. Usually stays in termite mounds, under houses, or beneath other types of cover during the day.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control rodent populations in Bangkok, as well as frogs, birds, and smaller snakes. Provides food for monitors, larger snakes, and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: The Monocled Cobra is one of the deadliest snakes in Bangkok. Under no circumstances should you handle or harass this snake, as even a young cobra can pack a deadly bite. See “Interesting Facts” for more specifics.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats, as it has a wide distribution and can live close to human habitations. A small number are harvested for their skins, for snake shows, or killed out of fear. Is listed in CITES Appendix II.

Interesting facts: The Monocled Cobra is the most commonly-encountered deadly snake in Bangkok. Most bites occur when people accidentally step on or purposely try to grab a cobra. When the cobra is threatened, it will enter the typical cobra defensive reaction of lifting the front half of its body straight up, spreading out its neck, and hissing. Never approach a cobra in the defensive position. If it is not approached further, it will usually make a hasty retreat.

Cobras have a “neurotoxic” venom that is fast-acting and primarily affects the central nervous system. Initial symptoms are headache, nausea, sleepiness, and disorientation, progressing to difficulty in speech, swallowing, and walking, and eventually complete paralysis. Breathing becomes more difficult as the venom takes effect and death usually results from respiratory failure. Heart failure is also possible from the cardiotoxicity of the venom. Death can occur within 5 to 20 hours without treatment (faster if a vein is bitten), but injection of the correct antivenom will reverse the symptoms if done speedily enough. A quick trip to the nearest hospital will usually save the victim’s life. Artificial respiration may be necessary if the victim’s breathing stops before the antivenom has the chance to be administered or take full effect. Necrosis of the flesh can develop in the days following the bite if the victim survives the initial symptoms.

If you or someone you are with is bitten by a Monocled Cobra, the most important steps are to:

1) Keep the victim calm, having them lie down with the bite mark below the heart if possible.
2) Take a picture of the snake to confirm identification for the hospital.
3) Get the victim to a hospital immediately where professional treatment can take place and antivenom can be given.
4) Start rescue breathing if the victim’s breathing stops and continue until they are in the care of medical professionals.

References:
IUCN Redlist: Naja kaouthia
Wikpedia: Moncled Cobra
The Asiatic Cobra Systematics Page
Siam-Info: Naja
Nature Malaysia: Cobras
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
Snake Bites and their Treatment
Michael Cota, personal communication

 

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Banded Krait

Bungarus fasciatus

Venomous and Deadly!

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus Bangladesh

Banded Krait found in fallow field at night in Bangladesh

Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Banded Krait found in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Kevin K. Caldwell)

Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Another Banded Krait found in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Kevin K. Caldwell)

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait in Thailand (photo courtesy of Michael Cota)

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait found in forest stream in Cambodia (photo courtesy of Jodi Rowley)

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait in Indonesia (photo courtesy of Wolfgang Wuster)

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait in Malaysia (photo courtesy of Max Dehling)

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus crossing road in Khao Yai

Banded Krait crossing road at night in Khao Yai (photo courtesy of Curtis Hart)

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus Bangladesh eating wolf snake

Banded Krait eating Indian Wolf Snake in Bangladesh

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus eating frog legs

Banded Krait feeding on frog legs at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

English name: Banded Krait
Scientific name: Bungarus fasciatus
Thai name: Ngu Samlaem

Description: To 212 cm long. Triangular body with a high vertebral ridge and a short, blunt tail. Head is broad and flattened and eyes are small. Body is marked with distinct dark and light bands of equal width. Bands are usually black and yellow, but can be black and white in some individuals. Underbelly is the same color as the top of the snake. Head is black with a yellow chin/throat and a narrow yellow inverted-V on the top.

Similar Species: Common Bridle Snake has a more slender, vertically compressed body, longer tail, less distinct bands near the tail, and never has yellow bands.
Common Wolf snake does not have the triangular body shape and has much less distinct bands.
Red-tailed Pipe Snake has a round rather than triangular body, much narrower light bands, and a broader tail.
Little Wart Snake is thicker, has loose skin with granular scales, and is found in or near marine habitats.
Sea Snakes (family Hydrophiinae) and Sea Kraits (family Laticauda) have a paddle-shaped tail and are found in marine habitats.

Habitat: Found in lightly forested areas, shrubland, open plains, marshes, and agricultural land, often near human habitations. Can be found on the coast and will enter salt water. Hides under rocks and logs or in termite mounds, rodent burrows, drains, or houses during the day, waiting until dark to become active and hunt.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control other snake populations, as well as lizards, frogs, and fish. Is eaten by larger snakes and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: When disturbed, the Banded Krait will often thrash about and try to hide its head rather than biting. That doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the deadliest snakes in Thailand. Under no circumstances should you handle or harass this snake, or any other banded snake unless you have made a 100% positive identification. See “Interesting Facts” for more specifics.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats in Thailand. Is listed in CITES Appendix II and is considered “Endangered” in China and Singapore.

Interesting facts: Though not quite as deadly as its notorious relative, the Many-banded Krait, the Banded Krait is still one of the deadliest snakes in Thailand. Most bites happen to people who step on a krait or try to pick one up. Always be careful to watch your step when in potential snake country, and never pick up any snake unless you are 100% confident what species it is and know that species to be harmless.

Kraits have a “neurotoxic” venom that is fast-acting and primarily affects the nervous system. Initial symptoms are abdominal cramps (due to gastrointestinal hemorrhaging), nausea and disorientation, progressing to difficulty in speech, tremors, and seizures, and eventually complete paralysis. Breathing becomes more difficult as the venom takes effect and death usually results from respiratory failure. Heart failure is also possible due to the cardiotoxicity of the venom. Death can occur within 5 to 20 hours without treatment (faster if a vein is bitten), but injection of the correct antivenom will reverse the symptoms if done speedily enough. A quick trip to the nearest hospital will usually save the victim’s life. Artificial respiration may be necessary if the victim’s breathing stops before the antivenom has the chance to be administered or take full effect. Necrosis of the flesh can develop in the days following the bite if the victim survives the initial symptoms.

If you or someone you are with is bitten by a Banded Krait, the most important steps are to:

1) Keep the victim calm, having them lie down with the bite mark below the heart if possible.
2) Take a picture of the snake to confirm identification for the hospital.
3) Get the victim to a hospital immediately where professional treatment can take place and antivenom can be given.
4) Start rescue breathing if the victim’s breathing stops and continue until they are in the care of medical professionals.

References:
Wikipedia: Bungarus fasciatus
Wikipedia: Bungarus
Hong Kong University: Banded Krait
Ecology Asia: Banded Krait
Wild Singapore: Banded Krait
Siam-Info: Bungarus
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
Snake Bites and their Treatment
Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World

 

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Oriental Rat Snake

Ptyas mucosus

Kevin Messenger hong kong Ptyas mucosus

Oriental Rat Snake in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Kevin Messenger)

Oriental Rat Snake ptyas mucosus taiwan

Oriental Rat Snake on road in Taiwan (photo courtesy of Hans Breuer)

Oriental Rat Snake ptyas mucosus Taiwan defensive display

Oriental Rat Snake expanding neck (photo courtesy of Hans Breuer)

Common Rat Snake Ptyas muscosa

Oriental Rat Snake in tree in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Thomas Brown)

Ptyas mucosa Thomas Brown China

Oriental Rat Snake found at night in China (photo courtesy of Thomas Brown)

Oriental Rat Snake  Ptyas mucosus

Oriental Rat Snake as found in forest in India

Indian Rat Snake Ptyas muscosa Kolkata water

Oriental Rat Snake cruising through a pond in India

Oriental Rat Snake  Ptyas mucosus

Juvenile Oriental Rat Snake caught in lake in India

oriental rat snake Ptyas mucosus head shot

Head Shot of Oriental Rat Snake at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

oriental rat snake Ptyas mucosus eating frog

Oriental Rat Snake eating frog at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

English name: Oriental Rat Snake
Scientific name: Ptyas mucosus (formerly Ptyas mucosa)
Thai name: Ngu Sing Hang Lai, Ngu Sing Dong

Description: To 370cm long. The largest snake in Bangkok other than the pythons. Eyes are notably large. Tail is especially long. Body is light brown to black above with narrow black crossbands on the last third of the body that become more indistinct with age. Juveniles are olive and usually have light crossbands on the front two-thirds of the body. Underbelly is grayish white to yellow with thin black banding.

Similar Species: Indo-Chinese Rat Snake lacks the black crossbands on the last third of its body.
Monacled Cobra has smaller eyes, a blunter head, and a characteristic marking on the back of the neck/head that expands when displaying.
Yellow-spotted Keelback has black markings on the entire body.

Habitat: Can be found in almost any habitat from thick jungle to agricultural fields and parks. Appears to prefer open woodland, scrubland, lightly treed grassland, and parks, possibly tending towards drier landscapes than the Indo-Chinese Rat Snake. Spends most of its time on the ground but climbs well and will often sleep in trees. Will enter human dwellings while hunting rats.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Primarily preys on rats and helps control rodent populations in Bangkok. Will also feed on squirrels, bats, frogs, lizards, smaller snakes, birds, and even turtles. Its juveniles provide food for larger snakes, monitors and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: This large snake becomes aggressive and strikes repeatedly when cornered, potentially drawing quite a bit of blood. However, it is completely non-venomous and cannot cause any serious injury.

Conservation status and threats: The Oriental Rat Snake has no known conservation issues in Thailand, but is hunted for its meat. Is listed as Endangered in China. In Indonesia, TRAFFIC has raised official concerns due to the large numbers of Oriental Rat Snakes that are exported out of the country outside of official government regulation.

Interesting facts: When threatened this snake will sometimes inflate its neck and make a growling noise. Some herpetologists believe this is mimicry of the King Cobra, a similarly large southeast Asian snake with an extremely venomous bite. Unfortunately, the attempted mimicry may be counterproductive when done towards humans, as anything thought to be a cobra is likely to be killed.

After capturing a potential prey item, the Oriental Rat Snake will use its body to press the animal against the ground or another hard surface until it suffocates, rather than using its coils to wrap around the food like many other snakes.

References:
Snakes of Taiwan: Ptyas mucosa
University of Hong Kong: Ptyas mucosus
Siam-Info: Rat Snakes
Wikipedia: Ptyas mucosus
Wildlife Watch: Future of Asian snakes at state
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia

 

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