Asian vine snakes

The past few days and nights there have been large numbers of snakes killed on the roads, including cobras, sunbeam snakes, keelbacks, ratsnakes and pythons. One of the most impressive snakes found dead was a large, Asian vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina). Fortunately, not long afterwards I found a live specimen of this snake and although they are quite common in Phuket, I was quite excited and took lots of photos. While driving through a golf course to a beach we also spotted a nice Water monitor, one of only a few we have so far in Phuket.

All photos (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

Night drive, 14th August

After some very heavy rain I could hear that there were a lot more amphibians calling so I decided to go for a short nocturnal drive on some local roads to see what was around. Apart from large numbers of live and dead amphibians, I soon came across a freshly killed Yellow and black rat snake (Orthriophis taeniurus). Soon after this we spotted a juvenile Green cat-eyed snake (Boiga cyanea) making it’s away across a quieter road. A few metres down the road, Kat spotted an owl sat in a tree. The owl was curious about something in the grass by the roadside, we soon realized that it was looking at a large, adult Green cat-eyed snake. Great! Not long after this, we saw a Red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) crossing the road, but it moved off before I could get photos or catch it.

Photos (C) Matt Wilson 2017

By Matt Wilson

Rainforest hike.

After a busy week at work, myself and Kat were ready to get outdoors. We hiked a relatively long trail through some primary rainforest which ended up taking several hours. First, I spotted a baby Reticulated python (Python reticulatus) which despite my efforts, I was unable to encourage down from the tree. Kat then spotted a Mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus) sitting by a stream (the photos are in situ) and this was followed by a Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus). Since the latter was only recently discovered to be highly venomous to humans, this snake managed to escape while I was attempting to take my glove out of my backpack. There was a similar calamity closer to our house a few hours later when I saw a beautiful, vivid specimen swim down a water channel, again no capture or photo. This snake has also been found dead on the road this week which indicates that it is a common snake on Phuket. A Golden tree snake (Chrysopelea ornata) was also freshly killed on agricultural land nearby.On Sunday while exploring the southern part of the island, we saw some huge Tokay geckos in the roof of a local restaurant and an unfortunate Green cat snake (Boiga cyanea) which had been run over.

By Matt Wilson

A meeting with a King

As I have never seen a King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) in the flesh before, I met with a local Phuket snake catcher who allowed me to photograph one of the cobras he had caught on the island. These are amazing snakes and this large male, originally from the foothills of northern Phuket island was a pleasure to photograph. Truly one of the most amazing snakes in the world. However, this particular snake catcher showed me the permanent reminders he has of three bites from King cobras and he is very lucky to still be alive. I hope that at some point I will meet a King myself when I am exploring Phuket and Thailand over the next few years. Although much of Phuket’s primary rainforest has gone, King cobras still live on the island and would not appear to be rare based on the number of them which end up as a headline in the local newspapers having ventured into houses and onto property.

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By Matt Wilson

First Phuket diary entry!

3rd August Phuket

Shani Cohen stayed at our place for the final night of his Thailand trip so we went out herping to two places I thought might be good. At the first spot, after observing several diurnal lizards sleeping in the vegetation Shani found a nice Oldham’s Bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus oldhami). At the second spot the following morning, while myself and Kat took a leisurely walk to a waterfall, Shani spotted a Mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus ) sitting next to a busy trail. He was quite happy with this find! After moving into my house I had also noticed a couple of dead snakes on a nearby road, one of which was a freshly killed Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus). Around our house there are many Asian painted frogs (Kaloula pulchra) as well as many other calling amphibians which I will investigate later.

To see photos from our recent trips to Phi Phi and Khao Sok National Park see the Thailand Diaries page.

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By Matt Wilson

Thailand move!

Some already know, but perhaps most do not. I've now moved to Phuket island in Thailand! So I plan to update the page regularly and create a 'Thai dairies' page where I will upload my regular local amphibian and reptile findings from the island. As this is my first time in this area of the world, I welcome any corrections to species posted as I am not (yet) an expert on the Herpetofauna in this part of the world. I have already seen a number of the iconic species of this region which I will share shortly after I did a trip to the Phi Phi islands and to Khao Sok National Park during the past weeks. After moving into my house in Phuket a few days ago I already saw my first live snake, a Mock viper which I will post at some point. We also have a number of interesting species living in and around our new home. More to follow…

All photos (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

The scent of Yorkshire’s Grass snakes..

Today we drove to the other side of the hill to meet with Carl and explore some of his local spots. He has put a number of refugia down at potential sites for Grass snakes (Natrix natrix), such as derelict sites no longer in use by people which contain ponds and other suitable habitats. We were able to find two large specimens under his refugia so it is working well! Furthermore, we saw four Water voles and a good number of Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus).

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By Matt Wilson

Slovakia 2017 trip report

After my first visit in May 2016 I spent another fantastic week in Slovakia last week where I found a nice amount of amphibians and reptiles in mostly pristine mountain habitats. Great place! Click here to visit the page.

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My first Adder (Vipera berus) from Slovakia

 

 

 

By Matt Wilson

Northern sand lizards

Early this morning, myself, Kat and Carl headed to the coast to visit the coastal sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) population. Here we met with Paul Hudson who works closely with the population and has worked on a captive breeding programme for many years. I haven’t visited these lizards for several years as they can be extremely difficult to find. Things started slowly but after several hours, four male, one female and one juvenile sand lizard were found. The males are very bright green at this time of year in this population and the ones we saw were no exception! IMG_1579 copyIMG_1590 copyIMG_1594 copyIMG_1608 copyIMG_1575 copy

By Matt Wilson

Courting adders

On Thursday I decided to go to see the adders after work as the weather had been bad all day but then the sun came out. When I arrived I saw that two, possibly three had paired up with a female. In the end I saw two definite adder couples, one single large female and two more single adders. One pair began copulating while I was there, so I took a few photos and then left them alone. In the third image you can see the tails locked and at that point I left. What a smashing evening!

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By Matt Wilson