Yellow-striped Rat Snake Coelognathus flavolineatus

Hello,

Last week we opened a new passive trap in a stream bed within the Dry Evergreen Forest of Sakaerat SERS. After just one night of trap closure, a rarely seen Yellow-striped Rat Snake Coelognathus flavolineatus was found during early morning checks. It was the second individual encountered here over 3 years making it a great find.

This species grows up to 1.8m in length and is terrestrial (with good climbing skills). A constrictor that preys on small mammals, eggs and frogs, it is crepuscular (active at dusk)/nocturnal and oviparous with clutch sizes from 5 to 12 eggs. NON VENOMOUS.

The picture below is juvenile of this species.

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And the sub-adult female recently captured in the trap.

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The Leopard Cat

Spotted Saturday @ Sakaerat Najas Project

The Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small felid species with a range spanning India to the Far East of Russia and Indochina. It is a solitary animal, living mostly in tropical evergreen forests. One of our field researchers was lucky enough to spot one crossing the road here at Sakaerat SERS recently.

Leopard Cats hunt at night, and feed mainly on prey such as small mammals, lizards and birds as well as large insects. Here in Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve they share their environment with the Asian Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii) which is larger and able to predate even on deer species, therefore direct competition is rare.

(Not) Fun fact: The Leopard Cat has been mated with domestic cats since the ‘60s to produce hybrid offspring known as the Bengal cat. Since these hybrids are often sterile, the demand for pure Leopard Cats is high and the species continues to be hunted throughout most of its range for fur, food, and as pets.

This image shows a Leopard Cat in front of the shelter of a radiotracked Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia).

 

Photos By Trail Camera

Spotted Saturday

Our work focuses on the spatial ecology of the Monocled and Indochinese Spitting Cobra. Our field assistants track the snakes and gather data on the micro-habitats that are utilized. As such, on rare occasions, we will have a visual and witness the snakes (and their behaviour) in their natural environment. We aim to disturb the snakes as little as possible and great care is taken during data gathering to achieve this.
Just yesterday, our tracker Lichy Pulman was locating our longest tracked Monocled Cobra: NAKA012. Through use of radiotelemetry, the snake appeared to be stationery within the Dry Dipterocarp Forest. Once carefully and slowly located, the snake was found basking on an outcrop of stone within the forest. Once spotted, our tracker monitored from 10 meters until the snake started to move in his direction. Movement was therefore necessary resulting in the snake sensing human presence. Although not visibly panicked, NAKA012 turned slowly and repositioned 20m away.
The video was captured on a mobile phone, therefore the quality is not great, but the content is superb.

Spotted Saturday’s

Camera Traps….a vital tool used in the research carried out by the Najas Project.

To study snake behaviour within their chosen habitats our field researchers place devices in situ and analyse images to collect data. Camera traps are set up on timelapse mode. Unfortunately ‘PIR ‘(movement detection) is not effective for documenting cold blooded animals, however, timelapse allows us get an insight into the lives of these secretive animals.

Attached is a female Naja kaouthia who on this occasion inhabited a termite mound.

Our camera traps last for approximately three days post-placement, therefore, unsurprisingly we also capture images of the vast amount fauna within Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve.

Every Saturday – ‘Spotted Saturday’s’ – we will present these interesting and sometimes amusing images.

Enjoy!

In with the new, out with the old!

Hello all from the currently blue skied Sakaerat biosphere! We’ve been as busy as ever, mostly due to a high frequency of movements from every one of the Cobras we are tracking.  Also, due to three of our radiotelemetry receivers being in repair, keeping up with our snakes has proved challenging but we are rising to the task and gathering some great data as well as getting plenty of camera trap photos that will be posted online soon.

 

New to the team!

This month the Sakerat Najas team welcomed two new volunteers: Richy Pulman and Joseph Surivong.  Richy is due to stay for at least six months, and Joseph will return to university in September, with a view to returning to the Najas project – possibly to carry out research to aid in his dissertation for Msc.

 

In with the new, out with the old!

Although the Najas project would love to keep hard working and highly skilled trackers forever, we are aware that sometimes things come to an end. We have said goodbye (in style – with adventures, picnics & bbq’s) to two volunteers this month: Lydia Snow and Sam Smith. Both of these close friends had a great time here at SERS, learning lots, forming close friendships and working downright hard. Their tracking abilities are already missed, as is their presence.

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Sam has returned to the USA (after a spot of travelling in Thailand) to continue with her studies and Lydia will be returning to England in search of more conservation work worldwide (but only after a well earned month off travelling around Cambodia).

From Bart and the Sakaerat Najas Project: thank you both so very much for the effort you’ve put in here during your stay. Your professional approach and integrity will surely land you in some great positions in the future. All the best, and good luck!

From everyone at SERS: We miss you and hope to see you both soon!

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.

Nasi012 capture

In mid March Sakaerat Snake Team was hosting BBC crew. Guys were working on show “Wild Thailand”. They visited us to document life of our radio tracked snakes. We were extremely lucky to find Spitting Cobra with Tyler on an active survey. Snake was crossing dirt road in the village under cover of darkness. BBC crew recorded some awsome shots of this snake! We are looking forward to see this guy in TV. Mean time we are visiting Nasi012 daily as he been implanted with radio and is part of our project. Snake is male, 1.3 m long and weight 544 g.

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Nasi014 capture

On 4th of July we had rescue call. People called us saying that the have King Cobra at their house. At the site it turned out that snake is actually Indochinese Spitting Cobra. Nasi014 is 1.3 m and 432 g  male. After implantation with radio transmitter this snake is part of our project. Interesting is that this snake share at least part of its home range with Opha019 (2.7 m King Cobra) radio tracked by Sakaerat Conservation and Snake Education Team.

First picture made by Cameron Hodges show snake as found in the house.

We wish this snake good luck. There is at least on hungry King Cobra around…

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Naka014 capture

On 29th May 2016 Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia Nakao14 was noticed by Tyler who went jogging to the forest. Snake was crossing main road. Tyler, as he did not carry any handling tools, followed snake to very old termite mound. Once snake sheltered he blocked entrance with the stone and run like Forest Gump for back up. We dig the snake out and now Naka014 is part of  our radio telemetry project. This snake is only female of Monocled Cobra that we currently radio track and second in history of our project. She is 1.56 m long and 870 g body weight.  Unfortunately snake wasn’t a good model and she book it straight after release.