It has been quite a snaky time for our project recently. Our team encountered number of Monocled Cobras (Naja kaouthia) during their radiotracking activity at Sakaerat Silvicultural Research Station. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to capture them all, but 3 will join our radiotracking project. This is very exciting for us as it will bring our study sample to 5 adult males sharing home ranges in this area!
Encouraged by the number of sightings we started to put more effort in to actively surveying the forestry plantations. It wasn’t long before we encountered another cobra… This time a juvenile King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). The animal was found crossing a dirt road on the margin between the Dry Evergreen Forest and eucalyptus plantations. The regal beast did not appreciate our presence at all, displaying the full range of its defensive behaviors.
Of all the snakes we encounter in our study site, we consider the juvenile King Cobra to be one of the most difficult snakes to handle. These snakes are fast, strong and afraid of humans. Young individuals, of this serpent eating species spend a lot of their time in the trees, their long, slender and strong body allowing them to rise up and climb easily. This is a dangerous mix and as handlers we must always be extra careful while working with these animals. Additionally juvenile King Cobras don’t have the same confidence and sense of self assurance that a 3 meter plus adult has. Meaning they are often more willing to bite and envenomate (remember we are the ones who disturb the snake in the first place).
Nevertheless we managed to capture it and bring it back for our friends from#SakaeratConservationandSnakeEducationTeam. They are radiotracking King Cobras around Sakaerat SERS. They processed the snake for biometric data and found it to be a 2.26 m long male in good body condition. After which, we happily released the snake back where we caught it to resume its life in the forests of Sakaerat.
While ago we were live streaming a very special find… a baby Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). This animals are very cryptic and not often encounter in Sakaerat SERS. Normaly our encounters are very brief as this animals move away as soon they notice our presence.
Recent time we notice a baby cat hanging around Sakaerat Najas Projecthouse. We assume that youngster was waiting while its mother was hunting around the station.
Very cool aspect of this encounter was not only long and peaceful visual we had on the this extra cute animal. Extremely close to it was sheltering Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus). Possibly most venomous land snake in this part of the world. In fact, it is visible on one of the photographs. Can you see it?
To be honest with you, we did not notice it until it decide to move out of its shelter and slider away passing by the cat like 5 cm away. Now that is not something you see every day. For sure it will remain in our memory as a one of most cool spot in SERS.
With recent rains frogs become more active around the forest station. We took advantage of that and went to look for a very specific type of frog – a flying one. There is quite few gliding animals in Sakaerat SERS. You can find Paradise Gliding Snake (Chrysopelea ornata), parachute geckos and gliding squirrels. I have seen them on many occasions but this frog was on top of my list.
On one of my recent night survey I manage to locate the breeding site of this interesting and beautiful animals. They have very specific call that resemblance clicking noise. In total I menage to see 8 individuals. This species is known as a Orange Webbed Treefrog (Rhacophorus rhodopus).
It is rather small species growing of maximum 5.5 cm. Females are bigger than males. Front limbs webbing’s are yellow while hind are orange/red.
It was really cool to see them gliding. Once they were tired of my presence they just jumped off spreading their toes and use some extra caring surface to extend their jump.
Here I present you some of the photos I took with my Sony camera. Hope you like it.
Good and funny memories…
A good while back we rescued Burmese Python form the local villagers house. For the release we choose the irrigation chanel on the edge of the households area. As always we were trying to take some photo documentation of the animal, but it was shy.
We let it go and than my companion Alex get stuck in quick sands. Luckily for us the were not to deep…
Many times we mentioned how hard is for our team to locate and capture new individuals for our study. Mostly we work with adult cobras. This time we were lucky. Our colleague, Tyler, encounter a juvenile spitter. Luckily for us it was moving in a fallow field and sheltered in a dirt crevasse. Nice and easy capture.
During last Sakaerat Najas Project late night survey we found Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus). It is very venomous species active at night. This male was 1.3 m. Very yellow on ventral side of the body. Characteristic of this species are triangular body shape and bands that are equal size along all body (mimic species present in Thailand). In some part of the range snakes might be uniformly black. Venom of this species is potent. It has strong effect on nervous system. Tourniquet is needed in case of envenomation. Patient must be transported to the closest hospital. Always is best to leave all snakes alone or call for your local rescue crew. Remember killing them is dangerous.