POISONOUS SNAKES ON THE ISLANDS
Snakes do not ambush people or hide behind the next corner waiting to strike. There are stories of Anacondas in South America and Rock Pythons in Africa attacking humans…mhmmm…on the Cambodian islands aren’t any giant Constrictor species to be found, though. Most snake bites (70-80%) are the result of people’s unreasonable behaviour – stalking, chasing and trying to catch and touch the animal…Just keep up your common sense and the likelihood of serious trouble is close to zero. Sightings inside the resorts are very rare. Things are different, when Jungle-Trekking, though – in particular, when without a guide. Gil – our guide – is very experienced and has an eye for the life in his “woods” and usually the dogs come along – they perceive anything first anyway. As long as you stay on the track you have a good vision. Still, snakes live on the islands and we wish you to be aware of it.
What to do if a snake bites you:
1. STAY CALM!
2. Try to remember as much as you can about the snake that has bitten you, its color, size, distinct patterns on its skin…this is important, because the wrong anti venom can do as much damage as a real bite.
3. Make your way back to the village by a steady and calm walk (your blood pressure and heart rate should stay as low as possible).
4. Once back in the village, tell anyone – they will get you a speedboat(45 min) to the clinic in town to receive treatment and anti venom.
FOR YOUR MATES: Make a photo of the snake, if possible!!! and accompany your friend back to the village. If one of you can manage to get there earlier, the boat can start earlier as well.
DO NOT TRY TO TOUCH, CATCH OR KILL THE SNAKE – THAT IS ONE OF THE CAUSES FOR MOST BITES!!!
Below are all poisonous snake species that can be found in Cambodia. If a snake is not poisonous, that does not mean it doesn’t bite you. It still hurts a lot and might have severe consequences, infections and so on. Moreover there are snakes with less potent venom, that certainly cause severe infections, septicemia and necroses. In any case you should see a doctor very soon.
Snakes on the islands grow, as a rule, not as big as they do on the main land. King Cobras are very unlikely to be found on the islands . Cobras in general remain very elusive and are very unlikely to be seen. Their behavior changes radically when nesting. they will defend their offspring with exceptional ferocity.
The average length is about 120 cm (4 ft) on the mainland, although island populations do not attain this size. It is more slender built than most other vipers. The color pattern consists of a deep yellow, tan or brown ground color, with three series of dark brown spots that run the length of its body. Each of these spots has a black ring around it, the outer border of which is intensified with a rim of white or yellow. The head is flattened, triangular and distinct from the neck. The snout is blunt, rounded and raised. This snake is terrestrial and active primarily as a nocturnal forager, however, during cool weather it will alter its behavior and become more active during the day. When threatened they form a series of S loops, raise the first third of the body and produce a loud hiss, when striking from this position, they almost jump off the ground in an attempt to bite.
Reddish running into pink tinge toward the belly with triangular-shaped, brown markings bordered with light-colored scales. The base of the triangular-shaped markings end at the mid line. It has dark brown, arrow-shaped markings on the top and each side of its head. This snake has long fangs, is ill-tempered, and is responsible for many bites. Its venom is hemotoxic, destroying blood cells and tissue, but a victim’s chances of survival are good with medical aid. This viper is a ground dweller that moves into many areas in search of food. The greatest danger is in stepping on the snake with bare feet. Habitat: Rubber plantations, farms, rural villages, and rain forests. Length: Average 60 cm, maximum 1 meter.
The monocellate cobra has an – 0 – shaped on the back of it’s hood. It has a black spot on the lower surface of the hood on either side and one or two black cross bars on the belly behind it. The rest of the belly is usually of the same color as the back, but paler. This is a terrestrial and nocturnal species, but is also found basking during the day. It is often found in tree holes and areas where rodents are plentiful. It tends to head for cover if disturbed, however when threatened they will raise the anterior portion of their bodies and spread their hood, usually hiss loudly and strike in an attempt to bite and defend themselves.
The King Cobra is a large and powerful snake, averaging 3.6–4 m (12–13 feet) in length and typically weighing about 6 kg (13.2 lb). The skin is either olive-green, tan, or black and it has faint, pale yellow cross bands down the length of the body. The belly is cream or pale yellow, and the scales are smooth. The head of a mature snake can be quite massive and bulky in appearance, though like all snakes, they can expand their jaws to swallow large prey items. Widespread, but not common, across South and South-east Asia, it lives in dense highland forests. The snake has a preference for living in areas dotted with lakes and streams. When confronted , this species will quickly attempt to escape and avoid any sort of confrontation. However, if provoked, the king cobra can be highly aggressive. It raises up a third of it’s body length , shows its fangs and makes a loud “hissing” noise. It can be easily irritated by approaching objects and sudden movement. A good defense if encountering a king cobra is to slowly remove a shirt or a hat and toss it to the ground while backing away.
Sightings of this elusive Elapid are rare. Though it is highly venomous it does not have an aggressive temperament by day. At night it is more active and potentially more dangerous. The Banded Krait is easily identified by the alternating black and yellow bands, which are of equal thickness and extend onto the ventral surface. Its habitat ranges from forests to agricultural land and they often live near human settlements, especially villages because of the rodents and water. During the day they lie in grass, pits or drains. The snakes are sluggish even under provocation, they are most commonly seen in the rain. This creature can survive on land and on sea and dive 10 meters deep while staying underwater for half an hour. It is mainly active at night and not found in the sunshine. They like to be close to water, where they occupy rat holes and use them as nest.
This snake can be easily identified with its alternating black and white stripe pattern. This creature can survive on land and on sea and dive 10 meters deep while staying underwater for half an hour. It is mainly active at night and not to be found in direct sunlight. They like to be close to water, where they occupy rat holes and use them as nest.
The total length of an adult is about 40 – 60 cm, while is has a very delicate and thin body. It can easily be identified by its small size, its fresh green color, the brown/yellow coloration of the tail and its yellow eyes. The white lipped pit Viper is a very adaptable snake and is at home in trees and in open land. It is often found near human settlements, it likes to be near the water. The snake is nocturnal and searches for food on the ground at night, during the day it lies in ambush on the ground or on low tree branches.
This is a medium-sized cobra with a rather thick body. Body color of this species varies from grey, brown and black, with white spots or stripes. Sometimes these spots or stripes can cover so much of the body of the snake that the whole snake looks white. Adults are usually 90 cm (3 ft) to 120 cm (4 ft) in length while some can reach a maximum of 1.6 meters (~5 ft 5 in) in length. This species should not be confused with the Monocled cobra as they share the similar habitat, size and appearance. It occupies a range of habitats from lowland to hills and from plains to woodland. It can also be found in villages due to its diet of rodents. This snake is primarily nocturnal – active in the night – but also during the day, The snake is generally timid and seeks refuge in the nearest burrow. However, when it is threatened at night, it is more aggressive and is more likely to stand its ground.