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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.
And the sub-adult female recently captured in the trap.
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.
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.
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!
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…
On 25th April 2016 Tyler organized surve for group of students that visited Sakaerat Environmental Research Station . They were lucky to find Naja kaouthia! Male was 942 g and 1.5 m. Snake was implanted and now is part of our project. Photo credit to R. Maki and M. Hogan.
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.
On Sunday 12th of June, Tyler with bird team noticed another Monocled Cobra crossing main road in the reserve. Snake retreated to the animal burrow. Lucky for us it was shallow and easy to access. After 15 minutes of chasing snake in different openings we pull him out. Naka015 is adult male 1.55 m and 1041 g. Snake was implanted with radio transmitter and release at capture site. This snake was captured within home range of Naka012, our longest radio tracked snake. Unfortunate this individual wasn’t happy to be a model and moved straight to the dense vegetation on release. This is only image I menage to take.
Our most recent N. kaouthia was noticed in the Dry Evergreen Forest forest by the bird team on 24th June 2016. Snake was crossing main road in the forest. Once encounter snake move off the road and hide in tree roots. On our arrival, after snake was left alone for about 15 minutes, we noticed that snake was sitting stil just next to the road. One of the easiest capture I remember. Naka016 is 1.65 m male. He weight just over a kilogram.
He has very distinguish hood mark, where mark is incomplete on top.
On 10th of July we had pleasure to be part of very special event. With Sakaerat Conservation and Snake Education Team and Sakaerat Environmental Research Station we hosted over 90 people from Rescue Teams. These people help rural communities in first aid, medical services, snake rescues and others.
Workshops started with presentation about snake ecology and their importance in ecosystems.
What makes me really happy is thet they treated it seriously… Quite few of them was even taking notes!!
In between lectures we invited guests to our field laboratory, where we presented them several snake species including Siamese Cat Snake Boiga siamensis and Wolf Snake Lycodon laoensis.
After exciting time with snakes we had nice meal. On the right side of the picture below there is Mr. Mee. He is one of main characters responsible for such a high interest in our snake handling training. Currently he is working on bringing here more teams from across the Thailand. Good guy!
After lectures there was time for some practice. Here I am teaching how to set up bagging system properly.
Some of the students took workshop less seriously than others … 🙂
After sorting out baggers was time for snake handling presentations. We started with non venomous snakes like: 2m Oriental Rat Snake Ptyas mucosa and 12kg and 3 m Burmese Python Python bivittatus. Interesting fact about python is that this snake was capture night before the workshop and actually it is individual that we rescue from net almost two years before. On picture below me and Manuel are assisting volunteers with handling big girl.
After non venomous snakes came time for “hot” stuff. First Curt and Mee shown how to work with Green Pit Vipers.
Last attraction of “snake show” was presentation on how to work with Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia. In first place we presented new technique that me and Curt learned on our trip to India.
Idea is to use snake natural instinct to shelter in stress situations. We used PVC pipe with bag attached to one end. Rocks around pipe help to stabilize it and imitate a natural shelter. Next step was to present snake to the set up.
It is really good technique that works almost every time. Now we are looking forward to individual teams visiting us for an intensive snake handling training. Whole day was very demanding and exciting. Thank you all for your input! We made to nationwide news!