Herping with the Irulas

Last month we had pleasure to host a very special guests. Legendary snake catchers from Irula tribe (India). Masi and Vadivel are catching snakes for venom extraction, they agreed to visit Thailand and help us with snake surveys. Along with them came Gowri Shankar with his intern Prianka, a well known herpetologist from Bangalore and Ajay Kartik, head curator from Madras Crocodile Bank.

DSCF6605From left: Gowri Shankar, Vadivel, Masi, Bartosz Nadolski, Karolina Ciesielska, Prianka Swamy, Anji D’souza, Ajay Kartik.

We spent almost 280 man hours in the field. We captured 20 snakes of 11 species.

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DSCF6721Two of four neonates of Pipe Snake Cylindrophus ruffus foundes in ome hole.

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Rice Paddy Snake Enhydris plumbea in its burrow.

DSCF6642Ornate Flying Snake Chrysopelea ornata feeding on Toke Gecko Gecko gecko.

It was relay interesting to see how these people work in the field. They look for tracks left by snakes. By looking at animal burrow they can say if it was recently used by snakes.

DSCF6596Part of the burrow with well visible snake track. Once snake move in the hole he leaves smooth surface behind.

DSCF6682Who said that looking for venomous snakes need to be serious?

Between surveys we visited local Korean Barbecue. It is one of my very favorite ways to go out for social feeding.

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Las part of our trip was visit in Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute. We met Dr Lawan that took us for a walk around facilities. We are keeping fingers cross for future collaborations.

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King Cobra room.

After visiting backstage we took a tour around facilities for general audience. First we saw Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia venom extraction.

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After that we visited exhibitions with snakes of Thailand. Many of the species presented there can be found around Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve.

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The fattest Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia I have ever seen.

DSCF6790Prianka with King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah.

Finally after twelve days their trip come to the end. We are planing to organize two more visits in different part of year to find more snakes! Stay tuned.

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