Cobra Kills Guest House Owner with Bite on Toe

I was headed to a hike 4 days ago when it started to really rain. I stopped at a large open-air restaurant and parked the bike under the overhang and talked to the woman that ran the restaurant for a while. She spoke pretty decent English – so most of our conversation was in that language.


I asked her – were there many snakes right here where the restaurant was. She said, NO! It was an overreaction, but I couldn’t have known why. I told her I collect snakes – venomous – or any snakes. Then she told me what happened to her 3 months ago in March 2010.

She and her husband had owned a guesthouse for 20 years. They’d been married for 20 years. They have a 13 year old daughter. Their life was nice… low stress, her husband was a very good man she said over and over… Many foreigners came to the guesthouse and that’s how she knew English to the degree she did.

Her husband walked to the beverage refrigerator in the guesthouse – and opened the door to get a soda to drink. The instant he opened the refrigerator door a small cobra snake popped out of the interior engine compartment between the vent slats – and bit him on the toe and slithered away. They knew it was a monocled cobra. The wife said quickly – oh, be careful – you have no shoes on it will get your foot. He said, “it already got my toe.”

They went to the public hospital and his heart raced for a number of days before they said they couldn’t do anything else and sent him to Bangkok-Phuket hospital. There they said they need to amputate his leg to the knee – which was fine with them – they thought – oh great, he’ll live after that.

After the operation he got worse… and couldn’t move – but could open his eyes and cry. So, for 9 days she stayed with him as he slept when he opened his eyes, he cried…

On the 9th day his heart raced and he died.

There were tears in her eyes… and it was obviously quite fresh – being only 3 months ago. It was a shocking tale and, though I love to find venomous snakes in the wild, I’ve never once given any thought to one jumping out from under my refrigerator to bite my foot.

Have you?

A monocled cobra’s venom is about 10 times more toxic than the banded krait venom… which is more deadly than the king cobra venom. One bite – a quick one on the toe – can kill you, even WITH treatment.

That’s a sobering thought.

I wanted to write this up quickly for all of you that have guest houses, restaurants, anything that is open air where snakes can get in. Cobras are mostly ground dwellers, but they do well in the bushes too… they could come through an open window. I’ve had friends that used to get cobras in their kitchen REGULARLY in Surat Thani.

Stay safe!


Thailand Hike, Thailand Snake

Thailand snakes are so diverse – there are over 60 venomous snakes in Thailand if you’re counting the sea snakes, and this is one of those that has venom, but he’s rear-fanged and has to get lucky to catch you good and bite down chewing the venom in to do any harm. If you wanted to test it you’d let him chomp down on your finger for a minute or two – like someone did with this red-necked keelback snake – which the scientific community thought was not venomous, and you’d probably end up in the intensive care unit of the hospital for a few weeks same as he did. They’ve since reclassified the red-necked keelback as venomous and potentially deadly.

These Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina) are not really strikers. They are very calm snakes from my 4 interactions with them in the wild and there may not be a prettier snake in all of Asia. The body of the oriental whip snake is very thin – thinner than my pinky finger- and about as thin as a regular pencil in some places. When aggravated they turn from fluorescent green to the green-white-black pattern you see in the image just after the title in this first video. They also flare their necks – not like a cobra, but the other way – vertically – to attempt to scare whatever is messing with them. This one was just 2 feet in front of me on the path where I stopped to look in the trees because I thought, this is a snaky place.

 

I slowly maneuvered my video camera (well, Sony CyberShot which doubles as a video camera), out of my backpack and got a quick video off. I was lucky to trap this snake with my stick when he attempted to bolt. I’d have chased him but, there is a sheer cliff about 2 meters from where he is and the ground slopes treacherously downward – and is covered with sand… I like Thailand snakes, but I’m not dying trying to get another couple minutes of video of one. Not this one anyway – I already have some great video of this kind of snake (see 2nd video below).

 

What else? I caught a tree frog for my red-necked keelback snake – I’m keeping for the time being at home. I saw 2 big water monitors – well, they saw me – and went RIPPING through the jungle like Tasmanian devils – they must run 50 meters before they stop. They go like they’re on fire.

Anyway – that was my day hiking in Thailand. Internet is down so I took a day off after writing some articles. Anyone have any Thailand snake video or photos? Send ’em!

Thailand Python Eats a Kid!

Thailand python head

Thailand python ate kid

I ate dinner at a favorite lakefront restaurant last night and on the way back I saw a crowd gathered around a large portrait of the Queen of Thailand… I kept going. It was the Queen’s Birthday. As I sat at the stop light something wasn’t right… Why were they all looking down? It was more like there was something to see there… I turned around and so glad I did.

On the ground in front of the crowd was a 5 meter long python with a rope around his neck and gigantic bulge in it’s belly. I asked what did it eat – everyone kept saying “pet”. Whose pet? A dog? No, pet. A cow? No, pet. Someone said the Muslims make curry out of pet. HUH? Chicken? Mussaman curry… damn, what am I food expert? I went through charades with the Thais gathered around because nobody knew the word in English.

I asked – does it have 4 legs – yes. Wings? No. Pet is also duck… not a duck. Chicken (or a whole hen-house?)? No. Dog? No.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what in this snakes stomach. Finally a girl came that knew the word for pet in English – goat.

Is a baby goat a kid? I think so… if not – apologies for the sensationalism.

Damn, it swallowed a whole GOAT? That’s why you don’t let your kids run through the jungle in Thailand. Or maybe that’s why you don’t run through the jungle either. The poisonous Thailand snakes are really interesting – but snakes that could eat you are also high on my list.

I’ll get video up on my YouTube channel in a few days…

Related Thailand snake info:

Thailand Snakes FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding Thailand’s poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.

Cave Snakes in Thailand

Thailand cave snake

There are snakes all over Thailand – even deep in the caves. The other day a friend and I got a guided tour from a monk through a cave that I’ve been through on about 10 occasions. Usually I just went straight through the cave to the other side. This time the monk took us through a small crack in the wall and we ended up in a couple different rooms with nice limestone formations.

It was all well and good – and we were having trouble breathing. There’s little air in some of the rooms of the cave. The monk kept squeezing through smaller and smaller holes. So, blindly we followed – trusting him.

He stopped at one point and pointed to the wall and said “NGOO”… My eyes lit up and I was instantly fishing in my backpack for my digital camera and video recorder.

On a limestone ledge was a picture perfect 1.75-2 meter cave snake. Elaphe taeniura ridleyi. It must have just shed it’s skin and was brightly colored and chilling in the cave there. I took some photos even 1 foot away from him and he was very calm. These bats can catch bats out of the air. They’re great climbers. The monk said there were two of them there in the cave. I’ll be back to find the other one this weekend.

I’ve looked for long time to find these snakes – and bang, unexpectedly it turns up. Now I’m buying a cave-lamp for my head (or 3 for backup) and hitting the caves to find more of these. I’d love to find them feeding. Stay tuned…

I’m wondering – should I change ThaiPulse to SnakePulse? I’m finding lots of great snakes… last night there was a 5 meter python that ate a goat that I got photos and videos of… will post that tomorrow maybe.

Questions about snakes in Thailand?

Thailand Snakes FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding Thailand’s poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.

More snake images – ThailandSnakes.com

Ridley’s Racer snake ©2009 ThaiPulse.com.

Green Oriental Whip Snake

oriental-whip-snake-green

Found this on a hike today – amazing colors and patterns on this snake. The snake guy at siam-info.de says it’s a “Ahaetulla prasina (Oriental Whip snakes” and found all over Thailand. Mildly poisonous but only if you let him chew on you a while.

If you need to identify a snake – poisonous or otherwise – check out his site, he has photos of many of the snakes he has – and identifies others too. Great resource.

I’ll have videos of me playing with this snake up at my YouTube channel shortly: thaipulsedotcom

This snake is pretty harmless. Do you know about other Thailand snakes that can kill you? Here is some more information:

Thailand Snakes FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding Thailand’s poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.

Thailand’s Snakes in the Dark

snake-window

snake-vertLast night I went out about midnight on the porch to secure the motorbikes together with some steel cables and big padlock like I do every night.

Something was strange looking on one of the motorbike seats and it too me a second to realize as it started to move – it was an almost 2 meter long green snake!

Well, I love snakes so I immediately asked my wife to bring me the digital camera so I could take some video and photos. Why didn’t I get it myself? I learned something. NEVER take my eyes off the snake – no matter what. I’ve lost a couple that way.

The video was much too dark but I got about 80 photos as I tried to coax it into the neighboring jungle area and away from our group of houses.

The head of this snake is triangular – signaling poisonous, but small. I think the head of a pit viper is usually larger. Either way, I didn’t do anything too crazy, but I had to lift him up with my stick and play with him a bit. He was really slow moving and deliberate… didn’t strike once no matter how I moved him around with my stick.

At one point he climbed up the wall into the window of my neighbor – who wasn’t home yet. She’d have flipped out, I know.

The snake expert, Joachim Bulian, said on his snake site it’s particularly hard to ID the green vipers in Thailand. Well, here’s what he said…

Note:
A normal person cannot tell the difference between the green Pit Vipers. The following Pit Vipers, present in Thailand, have a green colour:

* Cryptelytrops (Trimeresurus) albolabris (White-lipped Pit Viper)
* Viridovipera (Trimeresurus) gumprechti (Gumprecht’s Pit Viper)
* Parias (Trimeresurus) hageni Hagen’s Pit Viper
* Cryptelytrops (Trimeresurus) macrops (Large-eyed Pit Viper)
* Popeia (Trimeresurus) popeiorum popeiorum (Popes Pit Viper)
* Popeia (Trimeresurus) fucatus *in the works from MALHOTRA & THORPE (2004) not yet entered
* MALHOTRA & THORPE follows, entered here under the name Popeia
* Parias (Trimeresurus) sumatranus (Sumatra Pit Viper)
* Viridovipera (Trimeresurus) vogeli (Bird Pit Viper)

I’d say from the photos and description on his site that mine is a:

Trimeresurus hageni
Thai:ThaiSnakeName-95 (ngu kiau hang mai)

But, supposedly it only grows to 116 cm – this one was definitely longer – over a meter and a half.

Here’s a photo that closely matches my snake… the belly was that same color of yellow. The head and eye looks just like it…

Trimeresurus hageni >

Any other guesses?

Oops – update: Snake expert, Joachim Bulian zapped me an email… this is a Boiga cyanea – a Green Cat Snake! They have poison, but are rear-fanged and due to their docile nature are pretty harmless for humans. They grow up to 186 cm – which matches my snake’s size. Picture and more at next post, Thailand’s Cat Snake >

More information needed on Thailand snakes? Try this…

Thailand Snakes FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding Thailand’s poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.

Baby Copperheaded Racer Snake Video

3videos below –

These snakes are really beautiful – great colors and patterns, but besides that they are great when they strike. Even this little 12-15″ baby racer has balls at such a young age.

They curl up their necks in a multiple S pattern before they strike. The adults strike so hard they can come 1.5 meters or more in the air at you. I met up with a 2 meter copperheaded racer the other month and was surprised when he came at me like a cobra would… ready to strike and moving right at me – not getting away as soon as possible.

So anyway, here was this little racer I’d just pulled off the highway because I missed running over his head by 1 inch with my motorbike. I put him on the sidewalk and you can see the rest in the video. Unfortunately it’s my phone’s video, but in a pinch it worked well enough.

Below is a Thai guy handling one they use at a show in Thailand. This one is a bit slow because he’s been in captivity a while. He’s not as strong / fast as he would be in the wild. These are fast snakes and great strikers in the wild.

This one is the one I was telling you about – the 2 meter snake that was crossing the road when I got lucky to see him. He comes after me – and I wasn’t ready for it – losing him from the shot a couple times.
I called it a yellow rat snake because that’s similar to what it looks like in USA. I’ve since learned the correct name.

These snakes are not poisonous – but, do you know what to do in case you or a friend is bitten by a poisonous snake in Thailand? Read this quick faq to find out:

Thailand Snakes FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding Thailand’s poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.