In beginning of last December Naja Team was chilling in the evening, enjoying well earned few beers. Everything was going smooth. Believe It or not we did not even talked about snakes for most of the time. In middle of our time off  we received snake call. This time it was not crazy, rush call. Snake was already captured and baged by the villagers. First time in good while we went without pushing the tempo to pick up cobra from someone’s household. When we arrived to the site, villagers were relaxing like nothing happened, enjoying their beers and rice wine. They gave us  bag with cobra inside. They told as that snake was spotted moving out of the toilet… seams that cobras like toilets. Any way, snake was not harmed while capture and that made us really happy.

What make us really happy is that Nasi011 is within home range of Nasi009 male. We were looking forward so much for breeding season… Why past tense? You will learn very soon…

Ladies and gents this is Indochinese Spitting Cobra Naja siamensis Nasi011, 1.4 m, 750 g, female.


Nasi009 Capture and Release

NASI009 Release

Indochinese Spitting Cobra Naja siamensis by Ben Marshall

It was a pretty standard Monday with everyone on the snake team going about their business, but that was to change with a single phone call and with it the 28th of September would see the introduction of a new snake to the Naja project. The message came through that a snake, possibly a cobra, was in a house in one of the local villages. Colin, Curt, Matt and Wyatt leapt in to action, jumping into the truck and racing off to find the house in question. On their arrival the snake was cornered with the gentleman of the house poking the now seriously annoyed snake with a large stick. Colin together with the local Rescue team made their way past the guy and despite the confines of the house, using all their skill and knowhow gained control of the snake. Within moments the snake was bagged and boxed ready for transportation back to the station. The snake was a Naja siamensis or Indochinese Spitting Cobra, perfect for the project.

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The next day it was hoped that the new snake might have calmed down but that wasn’t to be and a few of us were given an up close and personal demonstration of their renowned spitting ability getting caught with a carefully aimed dose of venom, thankfully out protective clothing did its job. A quick afternoon procedure and Nasi009 was officially on the team. A few hours of rest and recuperation, and by the early evening Nasi009 was ready for release. A small team of us set out on bikes to a plantation by the village where the snake had been captured, as the Sakaerat snake team does not agree with the translocation of snakes to entirely new areas. The spot was chosen and cameras were at the ready but yet again Nasi009 was in no mood to play ball. The first chance he had the snake was out of the box and heading for the dense vegetation, barely giving anyone a chance to press a button and take a photo. Thankfully however Ben was in no mood to miss his opportunity, as you can see at the top, with the reflexes of a quick draw gunslinger he was able to focus and shoot his prey as it sped off into the bush. So that was that, the project had its second Naja siamensis and a third snake to track.


Photo credit Ben Marshall

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Naka003 capture


Bart’s been quite concerned for a while about the number of snakes we are tracking on the project, obviously the more snakes tracked the more data we have to play with. We’ve been stuck at 3 for quite a while now….but all that changed yesterday morning!

The day started as just another day! If ever there is such a thing on the Sakaerat Conservation and Snake Education Team. It looked as though it was to be a busy one. First we had to check our plots in which we hope to catch more Naja’s for our common cobra project. Then we had to check both Nasi003 and Nasi009 in the outlying villages, before back to the station and off into the dry evergreen forest to track Naka012. All before lunch, as the afternoon would be taken up by completing the construction of a third plot that we are building in a streambed near to the station.

The morning was going well the two Nasi’s were behaving, no big moves to take up our time with long tracks. A small repair job on one of the snake traps a mammal had chewed its way through the previous day, we were on schedule.

Heading back, just 200m from the station I noticed a strange looking stick by the side of the road. As we approached I noticed the stick was also hissing and hooding at some unseen offending incident or individual further along the road ahead of us. Naja kaouthia! Curtis slammed on the bike brakes as he and I exploded off the bike, frantically trying to call Bart and assemble tracking equipment to verify it was a new snake. Sure enough we got no signal from the kaouthia. Now past the snake and in its eye line the snake’s attention was well and truly on us. For three or four minutes it hooded at us before becoming bored watching the two over excited buffoons fumble about with equipment, and started to move slowly into the forest. Curtis took off in hot pursuit following the snake into the forest which eventually hid under a pile of cut vegetation by the side of the road.

At that moment, Bart (who had been woken from a deep slumber by our call) came sprinting round the corner, shirt unbuttoned, snake tongs in hand like a herpetological superhero! We got the snake surrounded and Bart moved in for the capture. The snake hooded and hissed and struck out at the snake tongs but was eventually subdued without incident.

The rest of the day consisted of snake processing and surgery. Turns out that this isn’t this snakes 1st run in with the snake team. Our kaouthia is non other than NAKA003, a snake which was caught FOUR TIMES in 2013. The transmitter was implanted, and the snake was recovered and ready for release within a few hours. At 5 pm the snake was released about 20m from its capture site a little further into the forest away from the road. As he was emptied out the box it seems he had a score to settle with his captor and took a disliking to Bart. For the next 30 minutes he hooded and hissed at him (ignoring the other team members). Eventually however with a little encouragement he slinked off back into the forest.

So after a hectic day we officially got our 4th snake! Looking at his previous capture data it seems he has a healthy sized home range, though most of his captures have been around the station. However, he hasn’t been captured for almost two years to the day. It does make you wonder where he has been, how he has avoided detection for so long, and what has led to him being so exposed and captured now? We will keep you posted!

Snake is male 1540 mm long and 732 g heavy.

Here are some pictures from release.

Sami and Curtis




King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah in situ, Opha018. This is 3.4 m male found opportunistically by Colin Strine, crossing main road in the reserve. Snake was captured and implanted with radio transmitter. Now he is radio tracked by Sakaerat Conservation and Snake Education Team.


Indo-chinese Spitting Cobra Naja siamensis. Nasi003 is an adult female captured in villagers toilet. Snake is 1.35 m and 685 g. I am tracking her since 29.01.2015.

Nasi003 was released 120 m from capture site on a border with dry dipterocarp forest.