I don’t usually see much wildlife between Monday and Friday as I am far too busy with teaching but this week was slightly different. After work one afternoon I was driving to a local shop when Kat spotted a security guard by the side of the road dangling a snake from his animal catching noose. Needless to say I quickly did a U-turn and removed the snake from the noose and offered to take it away and release it which the security man happily accepted. The offending snake was an Ornate flying snake (Chrysopelea ornata) which I released in a more suitable habitat away from the housing complex.
On Saturday morning when we went for a walk, we came across a small snake that I could not identify. All I knew was that it would not be highly venomous, so I took a series of photos. Later on it was confirmed by Vern Lovic that this is indeed a rare snake in Thailand, called the Orange-bellied snake (Gongylosoma baliodeirus). In addition, we came across a small Oriental vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina) during the same walk.
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 we 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.
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).
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..
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!
Click here to see the trip report from my most recent trip in southern Thailand.
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!
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.
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.