RSS

Category Archives: Cobras and Kraits

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

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

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

 

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

 

Tags: , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , ,