I get a lot of comments at my Youtube videos – people asking whether snakes are all over Thailand. They’re worried that they are going to be seeing snakes at every turn.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases, anyway. There are some people that write me on this site for Snake Identification – multiple times in one year. They do see a lot of snakes. But, nobody has ever sent me more than 6 requests in a year. That means an average of seeing one snake every 2 months. That really is the max. I think if you are not actively looking for Thailand snakes – you will not find them, and they will not find you. Sure you’ll see a snake every year, if you are outside much. If not – you probably won’t. You can probably go for 10 years without seeing ANY snake if you’re not out in the forest, at the waterfalls, at the river, ocean, etc.
Snakes in Thailand are common – but, not commonly seen. You probably won’t see more than 1-2 per year. They almost definitely will not bite you if you do see them. Even if one bites you – it probably won’t be deadly. It probably won’t cause anything more than some redness and slight pain.
I think there are under 20 land-based snakes in Thailand that are deadly. No, I didn’t count – so feel free to correct me.
That’s roughly 10% of all snakes – are deadly.
I think it’s regularly under 20 people that die each year (official stats anyway) from snake bite over the past few years. Some don’t go to the hospital – preferring to rely on traditional medicine or blind luck – and death results.
Here is some information (though dated) about deaths by snakebite in Thailand:
Thailand – between 1985 and 1989, the number of reported snake bite cases increased from 3,377 to 6,038 per year, reflecting increased diligence in reporting rather than a true increase in snake bites; the number of deaths ranged from 81 to 183 (average 141) per year. In 1991 there were 1,469 reported bites with five deaths, in 1992, 6,733 bites with 19 deaths and, in 1994, 8,486 bites with eight deaths. Deaths reported in hospital returns were only 11% of the number recorded by the Public Health Authorities. In a national survey of dead snakes brought to hospital by the people they had bitten, 70% of the snakes were venomous species, the most commonly brought species being Malayan pit viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma) 38%, white-lipped green pit viper (Trimeresurus albolabris) 27%, Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii siamensis) 14%, Indo-Chinese spitting cobra (Naja siamensis) 10% and monocellate cobra (N kaouthia) 7%. In an analysis of 46 fatal cases in which the snake had been reliably identified, Malayan kraits (Bungarus candidus) and Malayan pit vipers were each responsible for 13 cases, monocellate cobras for 12 and Russell’s vipers for seven deaths.
So, in summary, Thailand snakes are common – but, you’ll have to really search hard to find them on a regular basis. They will not find you too often either.
6 thoughts on “How Common Are Snakes in Thailand?”
I have been reading your information on snakes & I am terrified now to go hiking. Ok, I’ll take a deep breath. We will be in Cambodia for 3 days & Thailand for about 2 weeks. What type of 1st aide kit should we bring with us ?
We will be in Krabi for 3 nights & 2 full days. May also be interested in some of your tours or a private driver. Our dates are Dec. 28th & leave the 31st.
Thank you for getting back to me,
so i must live in a verry happy snake land i hade this jear already moor tha 12 snakes in my garden i katsch them and bringh tham at the mounten
In a little more than six years full times in Thailand, I have only seen three snakes :-( I do not live in a condo but in a house with a garden, behind my house there is maybe ten rais of wasteland with a few bananas trees so I went to have a look regularly for a bunch or two of bananas, often the grass is not cut and it is very tall, in six years I have not seen one snake in that land…but maybe some/many snakes have seen me :-)
I like the way you said that… yes, it’s more likely that more snakes have seen you than you ever saw snakes. Same for me as well.
An acquaintance was bitten reaching into a bunch of bananas, in Thailand, He had is arm swell to the shoulder, treated with a number of antibiotics and they destroyed his liver. Good size snake he said , 3-4” diameter. Any guess on type…
One of the green vipers, I’d imagine. I’ve seen cobras up in banana bunches before, but the swollen hand wouldn’t be the problem with a bite from that snake.
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