Snakes 2012

Re: Snakes 2012

Postby Pingdong » 16 Apr 2012, 03:52

you go at night dusk/right? i rarely see vipers or kraits in the day.
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby Northcoast Surfer » 16 Apr 2012, 15:48

onionsack wrote:We had an excellent night of herping tonight in San Zhi, by the way - three dinodons, two bamboo vipers, two kraits, a slug snake, and...some kind of eagle, which actually permitted me to pick it up. Torrential rains and thick fog made the going tough, but we were rewarded for our tenacity with some pretty amazing creatures!


That was you and your cohorts in my back fields stomping around and making all that noise and upsetting my dogs? Geez Louise....I can't believe you were out in that typhoon rain storm. I'm surprised you didn't get washed away!

Oh...BTW....PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! :raspberry:
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby onionsack » 08 May 2012, 15:10

Pingdong wrote:you go at night dusk/right?


Yes, if I'm "herping", that is specifically looking for snakes, it's at night. But I keep an eye out for the diurnals when I'm hiking in the day as well.


i rarely see vipers or kraits in the day.


That's because they're both nocturnal animals. :lol:
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby onionsack » 08 May 2012, 15:14

Northcoast Surfer wrote:
onionsack wrote:We had an excellent night of herping tonight in San Zhi, by the way - three dinodons, two bamboo vipers, two kraits, a slug snake, and...some kind of eagle, which actually permitted me to pick it up. Torrential rains and thick fog made the going tough, but we were rewarded for our tenacity with some pretty amazing creatures!


That was you and your cohorts in my back fields stomping around and making all that noise and upsetting my dogs? Geez Louise....I can't believe you were out in that typhoon rain storm. I'm surprised you didn't get washed away!

Oh...BTW....PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! :raspberry:


Probably a different part of SanZhi...we stuck to the road that night, not any fields, and didn't hear any dogs barking. Although who could hear anything other than rain in that deluge? I'll try to dig up some pics or video from that night just to confirm that indeed we were idiotic enough to be out playing in that downpour.
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby Northcoast Surfer » 08 May 2012, 15:40

onionsack wrote:
Northcoast Surfer wrote:
onionsack wrote:We had an excellent night of herping tonight in San Zhi, by the way - three dinodons, two bamboo vipers, two kraits, a slug snake, and...some kind of eagle, which actually permitted me to pick it up. Torrential rains and thick fog made the going tough, but we were rewarded for our tenacity with some pretty amazing creatures!

That was you and your cohorts in my back fields stomping around and making all that noise and upsetting my dogs? Geez Louise....I can't believe you were out in that typhoon rain storm. I'm surprised you didn't get washed away!

Oh...BTW....PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! :raspberry:

Probably a different part of SanZhi...we stuck to the road that night, not any fields, and didn't hear any dogs barking. Although who could hear anything other than rain in that deluge? I'll try to dig up some pics or video from that night just to confirm that indeed we were idiotic enough to be out playing in that downpour.

Cool. I always look forward to your posts when there are pictures and videos. Speaking of cool pictures. This past weekend, I was taking a walk through the farmlands with my wife when I almost stepped on this little guy. It was 4pm in the afternoon and he was lounging on the walking path. Identification, please. :bow:

Image

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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby onionsack » 08 May 2012, 22:44

Northcoast Surfer wrote:
onionsack wrote:
Northcoast Surfer wrote:
onionsack wrote:We had an excellent night of herping tonight in San Zhi, by the way - three dinodons, two bamboo vipers, two kraits, a slug snake, and...some kind of eagle, which actually permitted me to pick it up. Torrential rains and thick fog made the going tough, but we were rewarded for our tenacity with some pretty amazing creatures!

That was you and your cohorts in my back fields stomping around and making all that noise and upsetting my dogs? Geez Louise....I can't believe you were out in that typhoon rain storm. I'm surprised you didn't get washed away!

Oh...BTW....PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! :raspberry:

Probably a different part of SanZhi...we stuck to the road that night, not any fields, and didn't hear any dogs barking. Although who could hear anything other than rain in that deluge? I'll try to dig up some pics or video from that night just to confirm that indeed we were idiotic enough to be out playing in that downpour.

Cool. I always look forward to your posts when there are pictures and videos. Speaking of cool pictures. This past weekend, I was taking a walk through the farmlands with my wife when I almost stepped on this little guy. It was 4pm in the afternoon and he was lounging on the walking path. Identification, please. :bow:

Image

Image



That's a Mock Viper (茶斑蛇)...only mildly venomous, but still best not to get bitten by one because its venom has an anticoagulant property. Nice find!
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby finley » 08 May 2012, 22:57

I still feel awfully guilty about killing (completely by accident) a little snake while digging on my land. He was hiding underground. I guess he didn't suffer, but I wish he'd had the sense to run away first. Perhaps you 'herps' can answer a stupid question: exactly how venomous are Taiwan's venomous snakes? A friend of the family was apparently killed by a snake, many years ago, while on patrol in the military, but I can't help wondering if that really is what happened, or if it's the story made up by the military to explain an inconvenient 'accident'. I've never heard of any "fifteen-seconds-and-you're-dead" type snakes in Taiwan. Do they exist?
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby Timabee » 08 May 2012, 23:21

Great videos and pictures! I am completely terrified by snakes but still find them interesting as well (from a VERY comfortable distance). Fear born of ignorance on my part no doubt. I can't belive you actually pursue these characters as my main aim is to avoid them at all costs. As TW is home to numerous species of snake - I have asked many TW friends whether they have known anyone who has ever been bitten by one. Not a single person so far. What is the likelihood of a casual trail-hiker crossing paths with any of these varieties (i.e. Russell Viper) and actually being bitten? Keep the pics and videos coming...very interesting.
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby tommy525 » 08 May 2012, 23:38

finley wrote:I still feel awfully guilty about killing (completely by accident) a little snake while digging on my land. He was hiding underground. I guess he didn't suffer, but I wish he'd had the sense to run away first. Perhaps you 'herps' can answer a stupid question: exactly how venomous are Taiwan's venomous snakes? A friend of the family was apparently killed by a snake, many years ago, while on patrol in the military, but I can't help wondering if that really is what happened, or if it's the story made up by the military to explain an inconvenient 'accident'. I've never heard of any "fifteen-seconds-and-you're-dead" type snakes in Taiwan. Do they exist?


i avoid snakes like crazy and there are tons of em in taiwan seemingly. To me the only good snake is a dead snake, but i guess that was the wrong attitude. I just avoid them period. I think they are pretty poisonous in taiwan yeah?
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Re: Snakes 2012

Postby onionsack » 09 May 2012, 12:05

finley wrote:I still feel awfully guilty about killing (completely by accident) a little snake while digging on my land. He was hiding underground. I guess he didn't suffer, but I wish he'd had the sense to run away first. Perhaps you 'herps' can answer a stupid question: exactly how venomous are Taiwan's venomous snakes? A friend of the family was apparently killed by a snake, many years ago, while on patrol in the military, but I can't help wondering if that really is what happened, or if it's the story made up by the military to explain an inconvenient 'accident'. I've never heard of any "fifteen-seconds-and-you're-dead" type snakes in Taiwan. Do they exist?


Taiwan certainly has snakes venomous enough to kill you. Just last night we came across a Many-banded Krait which is probably the number one deadliest snake venom-wise in the world outside of Australia (Australia has the top 4) but it is a reclusive and timid snake not inclined to strike unless repeatedly provoked. They're actually quite common here and we see them often on our night herping cruises. If one of these bit you, you might not even know it, as its venom is neurotoxic rather than hemotoxic, and not very painful. If you had the misfortune of getting bitten by one of them, your lungs would eventually stop getting the necessary information to keep breathing and you'd go down for a very pleasant but very permanent dirt nap. Cobras are the sole venomous diurnal snake that you're likely to come across, but they're relatively rare. Best not to get bitten by one of them, though, because they come armed with cytotoxic AND neurotoxic venom, and they pack a lot of it. They're also a bit more aggressive than other snakes and will hood up and strike if they feel threatened. The other common venomous snakes that you might encounter at night would be the vipers, especially the Bamboo Viper (or Green Tree Viper) and the habu. These two species of viper are ubiquitous in Taiwan and if you venture out at night into the forests or dark roads, chances are very good that you'll encounter one of these eventually. Their venom attacks tissue...very painful, but less likely to kill you than that of the elapids (kraits and cobras). Another famous venomous snake here is the Chinese Moccasin or "Hundred Pacer" (so named because legend has it that if you get bitten by one you'll be dead before you make it a hundred paces). These are found mostly along the East Coast from Hualian to Taidong. Same with the Russell's Viper. The subspecies of this snake on the Asian mainland has the distinction of being responsible for more human deaths than any other snake on the planet. Most venomous snakes in Taiwan are nocturnal, and bites occur when someone inadvertently steps on one at night (hence the "snake attacks" you read about in the papers are actually defensive strikes by snakes after they've been attacked by a human). But I should emphasize the fact that encounters with snakes are very rare, and bites far rarer still. It's not like these things are falling out of the trees like leaves, or you're in danger of tripping over one with every third step you take down a mountain path. We spend a LOT of time at night intentionally trying to find these snakes and they're damned hard to find. They don't WANT to be found, and they're extremely good at avoiding discovery. You should feel extremely lucky if you ever come across one, and appreciate what beautiful and extraordinary highly-evolved animals they are, as well as their crucial role in the ecosystem. If you see one, just stand still or back away slowly and enjoy the spectacle...you're not part of its diet and no snake wants to waste its precious venom on something that isn't a threat or isn't edible. The snake will go on its merry way paying no concern whatsoever towards you. If you have the extremely unlikely misfortune to be bitten, it's not that big a deal, provided you get to a hospital as quickly as you can. All hospitals carry antivenom for all the major venomous snakes in Taiwan, and as long as you get to one quickly, they'll sort you out. You're not going to die in 15 seconds. Or a hundred paces. Or even an hour. But you do need to get to a hospital as quickly as you can to prevent tissue damage (in the case of viper bites) or muscle paralysis (in the case of the elapids) and if you were able to identify what species it was that bit you, all the better. (Although do NOT try to kill the snake that bit you and bring it to the hospital...you're only likely to incur further bites)...so this is a long, roundabout way of trying to answer your question: YES, it's very possible your friend of the family was killed by a snake, especially if this happened years ago when antivenom wasn't so widely available, and he might have been posted far from medical help. Personally, I feel like the five minute drive I take to GET to the woods where I go looking for snakes is the point where I'm in most danger from serious injury, and the statistics bear me out.
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