Oriental Bay Owl

One of my most recent projects on Phuket aside from photographing amphibians and reptiles has been to get photographs of the elusive Oriental Bay owl (Phodilus badius). Owls are my favourite birds and before I moved to Thailand I knew this was the species that I most wanted to see. Together with Kat and Paul were finally successful on Friday evening on what was our third or fourth attempt at finding this owl at this location. We had previously heard them calling but this time we had fantastic closeup views of less than two metres for nearly ten minutes!

In addition, on Saturday evening I found a Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor) crossing the road on a warm evening after a heavy shower.

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Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)

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Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)

By Matt Wilson

Slow January..

Well, kind of. January is still quite a good time to see reptiles in Thailand although the weather is mostly dry at the moment with quite a few windy days and nights with ‘cold’ night temperatures of around 26C! However, during our drives around the island this weekend we moved an Indochinese rat snake (Ptyas korros) from a water channel, found a pretty Red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) from a different water channel and then we came across a sadly dying Vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina), just hit by a motorbike. Another wildlife highlight from this weekend was a pair of White-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster).

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Indochinese ratsnake (Ptyas korros) juvenile

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Red-necked keelback Rhabdophis subminiatus)

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By Matt Wilson

Mangrove pit viper crossing the road…(UPDATED)

The title pretty much says it all really. After we had a meal out on Friday evening I drove a coastal Phuket road and found this Mangrove pit viper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus). Also a Malayan krait (Bungarus candidus) crossed the road a little further along but it moved off too quickly into the roadside vegetation before I could get to it for some photographs.

UPDATE: the following evening I visited this road again and found a Green cat snake (Boiga cyanea). Back on a busier Phuket road I found a larger adult that had just been run over. Too bad..

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Mangrove pit viper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)

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Mangrove pit viper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)

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By Matt Wilson

2018 so far!

My first few outings in 2018 have been relatively successful here on Phuket. In terms of snakes over the course of the Christmas holidays I have seen a female Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis), a Malayan krait (Bungarus candidus), a mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus), a green cat snake (Boiga cyanea), a red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus), an Oriental rat snake (Ptyas mucosa) and an Asian vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina). Although some of these were found just before the new year during the Christmas break 😉 In addition, some other nice finds have been the Spotted Wood owl (Strix seloputo) and the Sunda flying lemur (Galeopterus variegatus) among others.

All the best for 2018!

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By Matt Wilson

Khao Sok and Krabi report coming soon..

Just got back from a seven day trip to Khao Sok National Park and Krabi province in southern Thailand. Despite spending some time just relaxing, some very windy and dare I say ‘cold’ weather, we found a number of very nice species. The highlight for me was this female Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri). What a beauty!

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By Matt Wilson

Recent finds

Not too much to report recently but a couple of nice finds include a Green cat snake (Boiga cyanea) found crossing the road one rainy evening near where I live. Another day Kat phoned to say she had spotted a Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis) sitting in ambush during the daytime. I went to have a look after work and it was still there, thanks to the guys at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project for allowing me to look at the snake which was on their premises. A Monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia) was filmed in my neighbor’s yard this week but I wasn’t around at the time to help locate it and a large Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)  was found killed on the road one morning.

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By Matt Wilson

Khao Sok: a quick search

While I was on a trip with students this week I had a couple of hours to head out into the evergreen forests of Khao Sok National Park where I found a number of nice species. You can read a very short report here or by clicking on the ‘Thailand trip reports’ tab.

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One of two large Wagler’s pit vipers (Tropidolaemus wagleri) I found during the few free hours I had.

 

By Matt Wilson

A nice discovery..

As well as trying to be an awesome teacher now I live on Phuket I also want to work closely with the local herpetofauna when I am able to, maybe even helping in their conservation. Last night, Kat and I had a fantastic find of a male Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis) in a part of the island where this species has not been found before. They were only previously known from one area of Phuket and it is great news for the species that they do indeed live elsewhere in the little suitable habitat that remains here. Furthermore at this same location I also saw a large adult individual of the Phuket bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus phuketensis), again the first time this species has been found in this part of the island.

I have also made a dedicated Phuket photo album which I will continue to update each time I find something interesting. Click here to view the album.

ESP: Además de intentar ser un profe estúpendo ahora que vivo en Phuket también quiero trabajar de cerca con la herpetofauna local cuando pueda, tal vez ayudándolos en su conservación. Anoche, Kat y yo tuvimos un encuentro fantástico de un macho de la víbora de Phuket (Trimeresurus phuketensis) en una parte de la isla en la que no se ha visto previamente la especie. Hasta ahora, se conocían ser presente en solamente una zona de Phuket y se trata de una buena noticia para la especie que de hecho vive en otros lugares en el hábitat reducido que queda allí. Además en esta misma zona vi un individuo grande del gecko (Cyrtodactylus phuketensis), la primera vez que esta especie ha sido encontrada en esta parte de la isla. 

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Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis)

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Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis)

By Matt Wilson

The three amigos: many species in only a few hours!

This weekend there were two visitors to the island, Borja de las Heras and Glenn Bowley. Friday evening with only a few hours before Borja’s return flight we went out and found some nice species in the limited time we had, they included: Ptyas korros (rescued from a canal), Xenochropis flavipunctatus (rescued from a busy road) and then Borja was on fire, finding three specimens of the beautiful gecko Cyrtodactylus oldhami together with a Lycodon capucinus. After saying goodbye to Borja, Glenn and I found a Reticulated python (Python reticulatus) crossing the road. Great! The second evening, Glenn and I spent a few hours searching in the forest and among other things we found a beautiful vivid specimen of Dendrelaphis formosus and a male Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis)!

ESP: Este fin de semana había dos visitantes en la isla, Borja de las Heras y Glenn Bowley. El viernes por la noche con solamente unas pocos horas antes del vuelo de ida de Borja, salimos y encontramos unas especies bonitas durante el tiempo limitado que tuvimos, incluyeron: Ptyas korros (rescatado de un canal), Xenochropis flavipunctatus (rescatado de una carreterra ocupada) y luego Borja hacía muy bien, encontrándose tres especímenes del gecko hermoso Cyrtodactylus oldhami junto con un Lycodon capucinus. Después de decirle adiós a Borja, Glenn y yo encontramos a un pitón reticulado (Python reticulatus) cruzando la carretera. Genial! La segunda noche, Glenn y yo pasamos unas pocas horas buscando en el bosque y entre otros se dejaron ver un espécimen brillante de Dendrelaphis formosus y un macho de la víbora de Phuket (Trimeresurus phuketensis).

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By Matt Wilson