My Favourite Snake Finds

I’ve always been interested in snakes but I never really made a point to go out searching for them. You see, living in Thailand means that a snake or two will inevitably show up in your house or garden at some point which was initially very exciting. After some time though, I began to realise it was always the same few species showing up and I longed to see something a little different. I decided that it if I wanted to see a greater variety of snakes I was going to have to be more proactive and go looking for them.

This year we started seaching the wild spots in our local area and so far it’s been a really fun and productive activity which has turned up many species of snake that we’d never seen before.

Here are some of my favourite finds so far (in no particular order):

Spotted Slug Snake (Pareas margaritophorus)

Slug snakes are a species that I really wanted to find this year and so far we’ve been lucky enough to have spotted two species. This one was my favourite though, just because of its beautiful colouration.

Interesting Fact: These snakes feed almost exclusively on slugs and snails, and their jaws are specially adapted for this. Snakes from this family have more teeth on their right jaw than their left to allow them to extract snails from their shells.

Mock Viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentes)

This snake was another one of the species I’d always wanted to see but what made finding it even better was how lucky we were to see it. This juvenile was tiny (only about 13cm in length) and was perched on a small brown twig just above the brown leafy forest floor. I have no idea how Carly spotted this snake, but it made seeing it even sweeter.

Interesting Fact: One of the cool things about these snakes is that they can change their pupil shape from round to vertical slits when they feel threatened, making them look more like a real viper to scare away predators.

Malayan Krait

There’s nothing cooler than seeing the black and white stripes of this beautiful, but deadly, snake cruising along in stark contrast to the predominantly brown forest floor.

Interesting Fact:  These snakes have an extremely potent neurotoxic venom and their black and white bands serve as a highly visible warning to would be predators. Some non-venomous snake species, such as the white-banded wolf snake, (Lycodon subcinctus) mimic the krait’s colouration to ward off predators. You can read more about the Malayan Krait here.

Rainbow Water Snake (Enhydris enhydris)

Like their name suggests, these snakes are aquatic and live in bodies of freshwater and are usually not seen out in the open. Luckily for us, for a short period at the beginning of the rainy season, when they are breeding and giving birth they leave their watery homes. We’ve sometimes seen five or six in a night, on the roads between the ponds and rice paddies in our area, and then in no time at all we stopped seeing them completely.

Interesting Fact:  These guys are perfectly adapted to their aquatic habitats. Their nostrils can be closed underwater and their eyes are on the top of their head so they can see prey and potential threats when they are submerged. Their young are born live, which means that unlike other snake species, they don’t need to find a dry place to lay eggs.

Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus)

We’ve seen a few of these snakes now, and we have yet to see two with the same colouration. They have a very variable colouration but the one we spotted at night, asleep on a branch was by far the prettiest one I’d ever seen…. I might be biased though.

Interesting Fact: These snakes are named after the sharp fangs in the back of their jaws which resemble the Kukri knife used by Gurkha soldiers. These fangs are used to cut open the eggs of turtles, lizards or even other snakes which are a part of their diet.

Asian Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

Recently we’ve found quite a few of these vine snakes and they are such a pleasure to handle. They are one of the calmest wild snake species I have ever interacted with.

Interesting Fact: Their arrow shaped head with its forward facing eyes and groove infront of their eyes gives these snakes excellent stereoscopic vision which allows them to accurately judge distances when they are hunting.

Red-Necked Keelback (Rhabdophis sumbminiatus)

Although these snakes are common in Thailand and we see them quite regularly, I couldn’t resist adding them to the list. Their unique warning colouration is too bright to simply walk past without taking a quick photo or two.

Interesting Fact: These snakes are one of a few snake species worldwide that are capable of producing both venom and poison which they sequester from the poisonous toads that they eat. You can read more about these amazing snakes here

Below is a list of the snake species we’ve spotted so far this year my goal is to get to 25 species by Christmas.

Rainbow Water Snake (Enhydris enhydris)

Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus)                                                                            Green Keelback (Rhabdophis nigrocinctus)                                                                                  Yellow-spotted Keelback (Xenochropis flavipuntus)

Oriental Rat Snake (Pytas Mucosa)                                                                                              Javanese Rat Snake (Pytas Korros)                                                                                          Radiated Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus)

Laotian Wolf Snake (Lycodon laoensis)                                                                                    White Banded Wolf Snake (lycodon subcinctus)

Mock Viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus)

Green Cat Snake (Boiga cyanea)

Painted Bronzeback (Dendralaphis pictus)

Bridle Snake (Dryocalamus davisonii)

White Spotted Slug Snake (Pareas margaritophorus)                                                          Keeled Slug Snake (Pareas carinatus)

Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus)

Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus)

 

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5 thoughts on “My Favourite Snake Finds

  1. What an excellent post, Nick. I loved your fascination for the snakes, the very interesting facts, and the variety of specimen. The photos are wonderful, and much appreciated. While they are all beautiful, I found the Malayan Krait dazzling. (But, admittedly, I’m happier seeing it on screen than in real life.)

    Like

  2. Pingback: The Mystery Blogger Award: Round 2 – The Jaguar

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