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Nobody will read this blog but….

November 6, 2010

…..but I need to correct some snake information! From our statistics I can see that whenever I write about an insect or snake, the reading frequency goes down, but when I write about plants, especially orchids, the frequency goes up. The only exceptions are the edible insects or the very poisonous snakes, which belong to the most visited blogs.

As I hinted before, a garden is so much more than colours, but also its inhabitants, including snakes. To me, a thriving garden is pulsating of life, in all its forms. At Dokmai Garden we do not allow cobras, no worries, we are not that extreme, but harmless snakes are welcome too, although they may be uglier than the butterflies. In fact, butterfly larvae usually harm your garden plants, while the snakes benefit our gardening efforts by removing harmful rodents and other pests.

Now, the other day I did find a new snake species at Dokmai Garden, but my attempt to identify it failed completely. Only thanks to Chiang Mai’s snake expert Sjon Hauser I got the name correct. Look at the picture below. That is the Plumbeous water snake (Enhydris plumbea). As the name indicates, it has a lead-coloured back, which is clear from the picture below. Anyhow, if you consult the most commonly used book on Southeast Asian snakes by Cox et al. , and check the picture of that species on page 41, it is yellow! Not strange we fail with identifications. Actually, the text in the book describes the species correctly, but the picture is not typical at all. Another characteristic of the Plumbeous water snake is the fact its eyes are directed upwards, while most snakes have their eyes on the sides of the head.

Sjon will soon publish his book on the snakes of northern Thailand, and we are very much looking forward to that book, as knowledge about our fellow vertebrates may save lives, reduce fear and hopefully invoke respect and even pride.

Eric Danell

The lead-coloured (plumbeous) back is a characteristic of the Plumbeous water snake.

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