If You Have This Snake As a Pet – Don’t (Videos)

I posted this on ThailandSnakes.com a couple of times, and wanted to make sure everyone knows – but, this snake is not one that is OK to keep as a pet anymore. It never was, but, recently there have been more bites that have caused serious issues.

Thailand’s keelback snakes are rear-fanged and venomous – though many sites might list them as non-venomous. Why is that? They weren’t considered dangerous to humans before this.

A couple months back a concerned father emailed me with an emergency. His son in Phuket had been bitten by his pet snake, and it happened to be the Rhabdophis subminiatus – Red-Necked Keelback that you see here.

They are gorgeous snakes. Unfortunately, they have a venom that specifically attacks the kidneys. The boy that was bitten was 12 years old, and was fighting for his life as the venom tried to destroy his kidneys. He remained in Bangkok hospital in Phuket for 14 days before being released – apparently OK. I didn’t hear much from the father – despite repeatedly asking if the snake bit down on the child for a long time – or, what exactly happened.

These snakes are capable of pretty severe damage – and the general consensus is that they need to bite down and chew the venom into the bite-site for either a length of time, or, repeatedly over a short time – to envenomate enough to cause any real problems.

Great care should be taken with these, and other keelback snakes – as their venom is likely more dangerous to humans than we have previously believed.

Another red-necked keelback video:

And another Rhabdophis subminiatus:

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

2 thoughts on “If You Have This Snake As a Pet – Don’t (Videos)”

  1. I get hem in the house froim time to time – biggest was about 4 foot long. Quite beautiful and graceful – I “walked” the big one out – just totted along beside it and it made a beeline to the creek behind my back yard. I kept snakes for years (from young) back in the UK, but here in Thailand, I see no point in keeping a wild snake than I would a wild fox back “home”. Captive bred corns, ball pythons and garter snakes are easy to keep (within reason and with the right research and attitude of course) and easily available here (in Thailand) so why capture one? I once heard about a guy here that kept a small pit viper (really quite poisonous) because he thought it was a non poisonous look-a-like (not sure what he thought it was!) – which could have ended very badly indeeed for him!

  2. Hey Vern,

    I do not like snakes that much. Do not get me wrong. They are beautiful to look and as long as they stay away from my house it is okay with me.

    I hope the kid is alright.

    Chris from Sweden

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