23 May 2016 05:45 - 23 May 2016 05:46#3764by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Pit Viper?
Yes, as Rushen mentioned, this is indeed a male Pope's Pit Viper.
One of the most stunning green pit viper species, though quite common. Did you find it inside the trail at km17 or near the Pranburi/ road?
Was it eating? Or did it strike at you? Because it has its mouth a bit open, and the throat seems 'swolen'...
The female of this species also has red eyes, but lacks the red ventral line and has no lines on cheeks. Also the body color is a bit more yellowish-green than the male.
Below is an image of a big female near the 3rd river crossing.
So far I have only seen White-lipped Pit Viper (Trimeresurus albolabris) before km16, and after km17 the range of these Pope's Pit Vipers seems to start, which can be found all the way up to Panoen Thung. I have the feeling it is more common higher up in the park. In most literature you will find that this species is a high elevation species, but in KK it occurs quite low, km17 is below 400m asl.
Even though few bites of the green pit viper species result in death in humans, it's wise to watch out because it can cause serious tissue damage, and a bite is said to be extremely painful.
In March we saw a female that was surprisingly aggressive, she kept striking while she was being photographed, but generally these snakes are relatively calm as long as they are approached calmly. the chance to get bitten while simply walking by, is very small, unless you accidentily grab it. Most of the time these snakes stay a little (or high) off the ground, but I have seen one hide between dead leaflitter on the forest floor on a little slope in daytime.
I will post the other photos when they are done. It was inside the trail where the stream crossing is with the side trail that bring you out just further down the road at the big rooted fig tree. There were lots of snakes this weekend - I never see them but we saw 4 this weekend, all little ones laid in the various trails (its been wet). I was not set up for macro and this was taken with about 700 mm (500 plus 1.4 tx) of lens!! It was on a log about 12 inches from the floor - very docile but the nearest I got was when I had to walk over it to continue on the trail.
4 pit vipers, or different kind of snakes?
Wet weather is great because the frogs get active. Many pit viper species eat frogs, so as soon as it rains they will stay close to the forest floor and wait till a frog hops by.
Not by accident a brown snake with pits?
All were around lower elevation, or also higher up in the park?
On the higher elevation there should be a Mountain Pit Viper species which I haven't encountered yet.
It's pretty much on the top of my wishlist.
Kaeng Krachan still has a bunch of interesting species that have so far eluded me. Some other very cool finds would be Red-headed Krait and Blue Coral Snake.
Been looking through some old photos and found this one of a green pit viper ?
It was sitting less than a meter from the trail leading to the waterfalls in Namtok Samlan National park we saw it when we walked up to the waterfalls and it was still there when we came down almost an hour later. In that time there must have been 50 or so chattering people walked past it and presumably never saw it.
That is a Trimeresurus macrops, known as Large-eyed Pit Viper.
Pit vipers do not move around much. Sometimes they can be for a long time at one spot. In the winter season we have even seen vipers stick around to the same spot for more than 2 months.
But the rest of the year they are a bit more active, but could still hang around for a couple days in a row.
And unless provoked, they are not likely to attack. Only when you would accidentily put your hands/ feet too close.
The venom of most of the green pit vipers is painful, but it rarely results in death. Thailand has a good system of producing antivenom, and most hospitals have it at stock at least for the more common snakes like these green pit vipers.