Thailand 2017

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

Thailand 2017

Postby Daniel Kane » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:48 pm

In the middle of June my partner and I took a holiday to Thailand. For simplicity’s sake we booked a hotel by the beach and when we were out there took a few day trips as well as a few nights away in a nearby national park. It was the rainy season however we only had rain on three or so afternoons, for less than an hour.

Below you’ll see some photos and bit of info about the finds. It was my first time in Thailand and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone considering!

The first herps were seen at the hotel - day 1 and we had Calotes versicolor in the gardens and Varanus salvator by the pool. The juvenile monitor was seen basking after a rain shower.

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Varanus salvator


This next photo shows the typical open palm plantation habitat common in the area of Khao Lak. This area was one of those hit hardest by the 2004 tsunami but the recovery of the local economy was outstanding. Really shows what money from tourism can achieve. Nevertheless this area was home to many species of amphibians (most only heard calling) and several reptiles. I imagine there was a whole lot more to see here.

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Khao Lak habitat


This Asian toad was seen on night in a walk in the above-pictured habitat. They, along with Fejevarya, appeared to be by far the most common amphibians here.

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Duttaphrynus melanostictus


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Fejevarya sp.


A beautiful bullfrog from early on in the trip. A few days later I saw another in the same area over 2m up a tree - surprisingly capable frogs.

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Kaloula pulchra


This is a typical view of the habitat further away from the coast - species including Dendrelaphis caudolineatus, Calotes versicolor, Eutrophis multifasciata, Varanus salvator and a range of anuran species were seen or heard in places like this.

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Khao Lak


This gorgeous ornate flying snake turned up one lunch time and was a very obliging model, not trying to bite once. When handled, however, it was intent on 'death-rolling' - perhaps an effective way of escaping the beak of a predatory bird? Photographing that was a nice break in-between courses.

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Chrysopelia ornata


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Chrysopelia ornata


A bike trip up to a nearby waterfall was a great way to cool off and relax in some more wild surroundings. Here were plenty of Calotes and Eutrophis, and no doubt many snakes (which we did not see).

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Calotes emma


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Calotes emma


A few evenings later, at the beach bar, we were watching the sun set over the Andaman sea. Very nonchalantly my partner asked "is that a snake" in the rocky border of the beach/bar - cut to me running down the beach with a Tom Collins in hand, shortly followed by a young Ptyas in the other hand :) And not a drop was spilled.

As it was just about dark and we had quite an audience behind us, we kept the snake overnight and released it just outside hotel grounds.

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Ptyas korros


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Ptyas korros


That morning shortly after sunrise we left on a day trip to see James Bond island and other parts of Phang-nga bay.

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A warm long-tailed macaque catching the breeze


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Cruising


The trip wasn't designed to focus on herps in the slightest however while kayaking through the mangroves near some limestone caves and cliffs we came across a large female Crypteletrops purpuromaculatus - a lovely green one, too!

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Crypteletrops in habitat


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Closer...


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At the limit of the 70 - 300mm focus


On the way back to the hotel we had some more rain. Once this stopped the lizards came right back out again.

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Calotes versicolor


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Hemidactylus platyurus looking like he's at the disco


The following day we took a trip up to Khao Sok National Park, around 90 minutes drive away. We stayed here for two nights in a place called 'Our Jungle House'. Our room was a bamboo thatch bungalow. Amazing to sleep with the sounds of the forest surrounding us. In the grounds there was plenty of life - Draco, Calotes, Sphenomorphus, Phrynoides, Fejervaya and no doubt plenty more to be found. Macaques made loud daily trips through the area. Apparently there are also palm civets and slow loris seen in this forest on occasion.

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Draco taeniopterus


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A closer view


Whilst here we made the most of the location and did a couple of daytime & nighttime walks in the national park with a local guide - 100% recommend this! We probably would not have seen anywhere near what we did without his knowledge of the area. The photos below show some of what we came across.

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??


This next one was a good find - the guide spotted it sleeping up in the bamboo. One firm shake later and the snake was in my arms. The first time in 26 years he'd seen this species.

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Dendrelaphis kopsteini


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Theloderma sp.


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Scorpion & cockroach


This next snake had just seemingly emptied a small birds nest which it was found next to:

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Boiga jaspidea


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Occidozyga sp.


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Sleepy Calotes emma


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Hemidactylus frenatus on buttress root


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Gekko gecko at the house


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Dusky langur from Khao Sok National Park


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Awesome understory structures


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Walking trail through Khao Sok NP


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Acanthosaura phuketensis as found


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Calotes emma, back at the jungle house


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Ingerana sp.


The next snakes we saw were a nice surprise. It was just the guide and myself this night and we had more of a focus on finding reptiles than the previous night. We were walking beside a shallow, wide stream with a large bank on one side. At the highest point we could safely reach we stopped and in the light of the head torch I thought I could see something a bit out of place. Surprising from a distance how well these alternating bands can blend in to sticks and leaf-litter in the light.

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Lycodon subcinctus


We found what was presumably a clutch mate a few metres away after we had taken some photos of this one. Fairly quick to start striking but it made an attractive subject.

The next animal was a cool one for me. I used to work with a pair of Asian palm civets in my first job and had not actually seen one since (nearly 3 years). This male hung around for a minute or so but stayed quite high and in denser cover for much of that time. Great to see.

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Asian palm civet


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Limnonectes sp.


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An interesting-looking mantid


One of the more common snake species in this part of the park was the mangrove snake, Boiga dendrphila. We didn't see this species on the first night but on the second, down near the river, we came across this small juvenile around 3m up in a tree. In captivity this species has a reputation for a feisty disposition, but with gentle handling most seem quite amenable and this juvenile was no exception.

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Boiga dendrophila


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A closer view


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A spider waiting for passing prey


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Large tarantula doing the same thing


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Acanthosaura phuketensis resting on a branch


We returned to Khao Lak the following afternoon and had a few more days here before flying home to London. Herping was light, with only a single nocturnal walk in the nearby forest area. It produced! After photographing spiders and Fejervaya I thought that it would really make the night to find another snake. I then looked down and, to the side of the track, there was a beautiful sunbeam snake - what luck!

This snake was a decent subject for photography, not very eager to escape and willing to sit still for a few minutes at a time. The musk smelled just like onions being cooked and the iridescence was just something else.

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Xenopeltis unicolor


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Xenopeltis unicolor


A final Duttaphrynus on the walk home finished the holiday nicely.

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Duttaphrynus melanostictus


Species list (likely includes more, not photographed in Khao Sok):

Clinotarsus sp. (probably penelope)
Duttaphrynus melanostictus
Fejervaya sp. (from Khao Sok & Khao Lak)
Ingerana sp.
Kaloula pulchra
Limnonectes sp.
Occidozyga sp.
Odorana sp.
Phrynoides asper
Theloderma sp.

Acanthosaura phuketensis
Calotes emma
Calotes versicolor
Dasia olivacea
Draco taenioptera
Eutrophis multifasciata
Gekko gecko
Hemidactylus frenatus
Hemidactylus platyurus
Sphenomorphis maculatus
Varanus salvator

Boiga dendrophila
Boiga jaspidea
Chrysopelia ornata
Crypteletrops purpuromaculatus
Dendrelaphis kopsteini
Lycodon subcinctus
Ptyas korros
Xenopeltis unicolor
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Evgeny Kotelevsky » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:50 pm

Your trip was successful, as I can see :) beautiful photos!

Tell me, please, what hotel did you book?
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Tim Leerschool » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:45 pm

Love the post. Your style of herping sounds very familiar to all my Asia adventures ;) . Casually relaxing and then at night or by chance find some spectacular finds.

I am a real big fan of the Kaloula! Such a weird but beautiful species.

Would really like to see the Crypteletrops! Stunningly bright animal!

Thanks for sharing
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:58 pm

damn you found more species in thailand than me, maybe it is because i was on islands :/
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Jaques van der vyver » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:03 pm

Great photos and a very successful trip! Congrats.

I am heading to Khao Sok next month (also to Our Jungle House), hope I am even half as lucky with the species count.
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Bobby Bok » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:21 pm

Oh man, must have been amazing encountering these vipers while kayaking! Great series of herps and images!
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Daniel Kane » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:31 pm

Evgeny Kotelevsky wrote:Tell me, please, what hotel did you book?


By the beach we stayed in 'Apsara'. Inland we were at 'Our Jungle House'. If I had the chance to return for a herp trip I'd chose to do something similar to Thor's trip last year: travel through a few national parks and over more of the country, just to get that variety in habitats and species which you're not often going to find if you're in the same area for the whole trip.

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:damn you found more species in thailand than me, maybe it is because i was on islands :/


Maybe it was just good timing and some luck ;)

Tim Leerschool wrote:Love the post. Your style of herping sounds very familiar to all my Asia adventures ;) . Casually relaxing and then at night or by chance find some spectacular finds.


You're right Tim, this was a great mix of relaxing and herping. I'm hoping to have another decent trip later in the year so let me know if you're interested in a herp-laxing vacation :lol:
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Re: Thailand 2017

Postby Ilian Velikov » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:59 pm

Great stuff Daniel! I'm glad you had a good time and managed to find so many species. Good luck on your next trip as well and keep us posted :)
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