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Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung

09 Sep 2014 10:59 #2292 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Thanks Jonathan!
They indeed have amazing eyes with long horizontal pupils. They have good vision because they're daytime hunters. I've only seen them hunting on lizards but according to the books they take birds as well.
I have encountered it too in Pang Sida.
Apparently the green morphs are not found in the East, but I've heard they are the more common variation in other parts of the country.
I found a green one earlier this year at Erawan falls, and now this one in HKK, and both were inside the forest hanging vertically with head down along a tree. I've never really seen that behaviour in Khao Yai. There they are often hanging more horizontally in dense bushes along the road sides especially in the mornings. Some days I've seen three while driving up from the Pak Chong entrance to the first viewpoint, so they are quite common ;). Especially if the night was cool and/ or rainy and the morning is dry and perhaps a little sunny then they're often around. They can be seen year round, also in the cold winter, but usually I see more after at the end of the dry season, and in the wet season.

The Orange-yellow ones are really nice! And often when you get close enough they show the defensive colors, the black and white blocks.
Here the two color variations from Khao Yai.



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12 Sep 2014 07:15 #2298 by Painted Jezebel
Replied by Painted Jezebel on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Here, on Samui, we only have the emerald green form. It is interesting to note that none of the specimens I have seen here have any of the black scales shown in the photos above, just being purely green. It is very common here and I see them most days.

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12 Sep 2014 18:44 #2300 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Hi Les,

These are indeed common snakes, at least some of the Ahaetulla species are. The species you have encountered might have been Ahaetulla mycterizans. To my knowledge this specie is often more emerald green. But the A. prasina in my images also occurs in the South, and they are rather similar. There are 4 Ahaetulla species in Thailand.
The black and white blocks are not visible unless they feel threatened. So usually when you catch it or shake the branches or just get too close for their comfort, (depends on the individual) they might decide to go in 'defense-mode' instead of getting away. They inflate/ enlarge their bodies and then the pattern becomes visible. Same as in e.g. Bronzeback snakes (Dendrelaphis sp.) that usually show a striking pattern of blue and black diagonal bands when threatened.

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13 Sep 2014 06:44 #2301 by Painted Jezebel
Replied by Painted Jezebel on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Thank you. Why I thought it was A. prasina was the size of specimens I have seen, up to 2m. in length. I did not think that A. mycterizans even approached that size. Perhaps I have both species here!

I have seen them in defensive mode many times, but can not remember any black scaling. Unfortunately, none of my photos show the species in the threatened position.

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13 Sep 2014 13:35 #2302 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Hi Les,

The books indeed say A. prasina gets longer. Next time try to catch it ;) and check if it has a divided or entire anal scale, that's supposed to be different. Divided for A. prasina, entire for A. mycterizans; if my books are correct.
Interesting that the black dots haven't been showing to you. Not every snake puts on much of a show, but since you've said you have seen them often at least one of them should have showed it to you. Perhaps the Koh Samui population is different? Interesting.
Other differences are:
A. mycterizans
- distance between eye and snout tip less than double of the (horizontal) eye diameter
- 186 - 195 ventral scales (belly scales)
- 7 - 8 supralabials (upper lip scales)
- first and 2nd supralabial in contact with nasal
- Total length about 100cm
- Entire anal scale

A. prasina
- distance between eye and snout tip double or more than double of the eye diameter.
- 194 - 235 ventral scales
- 9 supralabials (upper lip scales)
- first supralabial in contact with nasal
- Total length <200cm
- Divided anal scale

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16 Sep 2014 08:02 #2306 by Painted Jezebel
Replied by Painted Jezebel on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Thank you for providing the differences. I do have a photo of the head, from which one can measure the distance of eye-snout, and this is more than double. Also, as I said earlier, I have come across specimens much longer than 100cm.

The other differences will be harder to ascertain as I prefer to leave snakes to their own affairs! ;) .
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16 Sep 2014 10:50 #2312 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
I agree with you this is A. prasina.
From what I've read the A. mycterizans is not as easily encountered as A. prasina in most areas.

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10 Oct 2014 14:27 #2365 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Just to update on the 'blinding' project.
We just returned from another visit to HKK.
It turned out that applying the blinding material at the first level of the Haw Ton Peung tower was a succesful project that allowed more freedom of movement for the visitors, and the wildlife seemed to be more relaxed.
So we went back to do some more.
We started with the second level of the same tower, because this level offers just a bit of a better view into the river bed.
2 days later we filmed & photographed about 15 Green Peafowl quite close to the tower. These birds are usually very skittish, but with the help of the shade material they are more relaxed.

Next we did the first tower, Haw Nok Yung. The local ranger was happy with this. He had initially applied small pieces of shade cloth, but these were moving in the wind and therefore not that helpful, though the wildlife near this tower seems to be just a bit more used to seeing people.
Anyways, we applied the same material at the first level. The second level has quite a bit of blinding material previously applied by the ranger. We tried to tie this up a little to make sure it doesn't move too much. And decided this was OK as it is.
Because it was not possible to enter the tower without all animals clearly seeing you entering, we applied the shade cloth all the way from the trailhead on the forest edge around the metal posts. Blocking the view to make it possible to enter the tower and use the stairs without being seen by the animals.
We made a few slits in the shade cloth at this ground level for those who would like to photograph from a lower point of view. Feel free to add more if you think it's necessary.





At that point we ran out of material again. I actually hoped to do the first level of the tower near the camp ground, but well that has to wait. It was not my main priority, because even though I do like that tower, fact is that the rangers often bring groups of students or other visitors into the clearing in front of the tower to show tracks around the mineral licks and water hole. But if you are lucky and there are no other visitors I believe this place could still offer good opportunties to see various species. Elephants, Banteng, deer, and wild boar seem to visit this clearing. And I've found Leopard tracks very nearby. Anyways, maybe we will do this another time.

The wildlife watching was slow this trip, or maybe we just did not try too hard. We were too lazy getting up early. Really needed some sleep, haha.
But got a great surprise on the 4th day which made everything worth it, a Marbled Cat crossed the track. We're doing well this year, got 3 cat species in Huai Kha Khaeng this year: Leopard Cat, Leopard, and now Marbled Cat. Hopefully the next one has stripes ;)

Hopefully the new blinding material will help all of those interested to see wildlife and offer all of you some great sightings!
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10 Oct 2014 17:31 #2368 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Great work flip-flops!!

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03 Nov 2014 10:27 #2475 by Bagheera
Replied by Bagheera on topic Huai Kha Khaeng - 2nd tower - Haw Ton Peung
Great work Ton I'm sure everyone who knows you put that up will be most appreciative of the matter, hopefully at some point in the future I will be able to go down and check this out in person, its got to be worth a 2-3 day vigil at this tower waiting for wildlife..

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