I climbed a mountain I often do – it’s very steep. There are steps up it – 1,237 steps. At about step 850 I saw a snake crawling between the limestone rock and the step. I thought I knew what it was, but it was a juvenile – and you know how that goes. Thailand snakes – when they are small, don’t always represent the same thing as when they are older – so I took my time, and ended up letting him get too far into a hole and lost him.
That sucked, but getting bitten by a venomous snake would have sucked worse.
It looked like an orange color… solid, muted – not bright. No pattern, no stripes, nothing to distinguish it. I have seen Indo-Chinese Rat Snake adults that looked like this one, but in all, I had about 6 seconds to identify it – and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk in case it was a coral snake. I’ve seen plenty of baby cobras – they all seem to be very dark, or even black as juveniles… still, I couldn’t risk it!
Oh well, there will be another snake, I’m sure.
So far on that mountain, I’ve seen:
- 4 meter King Cobra
- Red Necked Keelback (far away from water, just way up the side of the hill – about 200 feet vertically maybe)
- Painted Bronzeback at the top of the hill (850 feet vertical)
- Brown Keelback on the steps – juvenile also
- Oriental Whip Snake
- A yellow snake I think must have been the Ridley’s Racer – it moved very fast into the hole in the limestone. I saw it for about 1 second.
- At the bottom of the hill I saw and caught a mock viper.
- The monks tell me they often see monocled cobras around the limestone where they live in their kutis.
Now, this might make that mountain seem like a great place to herp… but, this has been over the course of 4 years now and I’ve been up the thing nearly 800 times. Not such a good track record for seeing snakes then, is it?