While southern Taiwan gets heavy rains all summer long, the north of the island sees almost no precipitation through July and August, save the occasional typhoon. This year was no exception, so when it finally began to rain last Friday night, I had high hopes for my regular Saturday night cruise. I wasn't disappointed: the rain stopped at eight PM on Saturday, just when I started my trawl, and within ninety minutes of driving I had logged ten snakes.
One of them was this female Many-banded Krait, who treated me to a nice display of standard krait behavior. It truly boggles the mind that an animal with such unreal toxic power at its disposal behaves as timid and non-aggressive as Bungarus multicinctus
does. Meeting and interacting with wild B. multicinctus
always seems to follow a pattern: Upon being detected, the snake will freeze and stay absolutely motionless - until you touch it (with your cutlery, of course - I think bare-handling kraits is strictly for Canton snake market vendors). Then it explodes into action and tries to flee with hectic, panicky movements. After you've hooked it back a few times, it tires of the game and coils up, quite often sticking its head under the coils, as shown here. After that, each time you touch it will snap into a different stance like a loaded spring and then stay immobile again in the new position. Over my short herping career of now almost two seasons I've encountered and photographed dozens of these snakes, and I've never seen any of them even attempt to bite. This makes it the perfect venomous snake for close-up photography enthusiasts - alas, when I was just about to change to my trusty 100mm lens, heaven started to break water again, forcing me to flee into the dry safety of the van and abandon the serpent (no frickin' way I'm bagging one of these things, timidity or not!).