I am now back in Thailand after a busy summer where I spent time in the UAE, Slovakia, Hungary and the UK. I have added three photo galleries from these trips which can be viewed on the links below.
Back in Phuket and I have had a few nice observations this past week. A three metre Reticulated python (Python reticulatus) crossed the road in front of my car whilst out herping with Norbert. The same evening around ten Asian vine snakes (Ahaetulla prasina), a female Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) as well as a number of lizard and amphibian species. Then as I dropped Norbert off back home a baby python was crossing the road in front of his house.
On a different day I moved a beautiful Dog-toothed cat snake (Boiga cynodon) from a Buddhist temple toilet into the nearby forest and while looking for Oriental Bay owls we found two Striped bronzebacks (Dendrelaphis caudolineatus) our favourite restaurant. On a different afternoon a Clouded monitor lizard (Varanus nebulosus) and an Ornate flying snake (Chrysopelea ornata) crossed the road as I was driving around the island.
It has nearly been a year since I moved to Thailand and there is not a day that goes by where I regret my decision. Professionally I now teach in a wonderful international school filled with students who wish to learn and a very supportive staff. From another point of view more relevant to my website is that I can explore my interest in herpetology in much greater depth having so many species living on my doorstep.
On Saturday I will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a week long field trip, swapping rainforest for desert. After that I will travel on to Slovakia and Hungary before heading back for a short while to the UK. By early August I will be back in Thailand!
Below are a collection of some of my photos from Phuket and southern Thailand this past year.
Last night while out looking for bats with Kat and Paul we came across a fantastic scene. This large Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) was striking at bats as they were flying past. It only just missed a meal on a number of occasions and continued to move up and down the branch to try and get a better position for a strike. Despite watching it for over half an hour it was not successful, however I’m sure this is a good hunting spot for the snake with so many bats flying through every night
It’s been a busy time at work but I have had a number of good finds over the past month. I have done especially well with Wagler’s pit vipers (Tropidolaemus wagleri) having seen six females, including four big adults. Furthermore, I have found two Blood pythons (Python brongersmai) who sit in ambush each evening by their holes and have been around for over a month now.
In two weeks time I will leave Phuket for six weeks travelling to the UAE, Slovakia, Hungary and then the UK.
April started as a very hot, dry month but gradually the rains are returning and with them some better observations, especially snakes. Over the past few weeks I have seen two female Wagler’s pit vipers (Tropidolaemus wagleri), three Phuket pit vipers (Trimeresurus phuketensis), a reticulated python (Python reticulatus), a Blood python (Python brongersmai), a speckle-headed vine snake (Ahaetulla fasciolata), many Asian vine snakes (Ahaetulla prasina), a Speckle-bellied keelback (Rhabdophis chrysargos), a Dog-faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops), a Green cat snake (Boiga cyanea) and a Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor). I’m hoping for more monsoon rains in the coming weeks!
Long time fielding herping companion Carl Corbidge came to visit Thailand for a two week trip. We spent several days here on Phuket as well as three nights in Krabi province and three nights in Khao Sok National Park. We did a combination of looking for reptiles and amphibians as well as birds and mammals. With regards to snake species we saw an impressive 23 live species and probably over 50 individual snakes altogether, so not bad at all! No time for an in depth field report this time but here is a photo gallery from Carl’s trip. Thanks again to Deng and Vern who helped us out during our searches.
Click here to visit the photo gallery.
Over the weekend I went back to the spot where I saw the female Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) the previous weekend. I was pleased to see that it had only moved a couple of metres during that time and with my 400mm lens I managed to get a few more photographs of it. I decided to inspect some of the other trees and bushes in the area and despite there being quite a lot of people, cats and dogs around I found a second female viper! This one was resting on a branch about a metre off the ground and was a greenish colour, typical of a sub-adult female. Several times I saw feral cats walk past the snake which they either did not notice or know to avoid!
UPDATE: the top photos are of the same sub-adult female viper a week later during this time it did not appear to have moved at all!
As I dropped Kat off this morning I decided to check out a couple of nice looking spots on my drive back home. Although they were full of tourists as I sat down on a bench to have a drink of water I couldn’t believe what I saw as I looked in the tree above me: a female Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri)! Not only that but a metre away from it on the same branch was a sleeping Green cat snake (Boiga cyanea). Not bad for a Sunday morning..
Apologies for yet another short report, but the King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) from last weekend in Krabi really deserves it’s own page with some of my favourite photos of this encounter. Click here.
On Saturday evening together with Adrian I went out into some primary forest on Phuket to see what we could find. It is very dry here at the moment so our expectations were quite low, despite this we found a Mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus), a sleeping vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina) and a first for me, a Blunt-headed snake (Aplopeltura boa). It was nice to find some snakes for Adrian to see before he heads back to the UK!
On Sunday morning we headed over to Krabi as Vern (www.thailandsnakes.com) called me to say he had just found a King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), knowing how much I wanted to see a wild one, I raced over there to see it. This was a small king, around 1.5 metres but such a beautiful snake and a real treat to see. Needless to say I took lots and lots of photos before the snake was released. Thanks Vern!