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: