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 Post subject: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 4th, 2010, 2:19 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3160
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Our fire department called me Tuesday morning to report they had caught a baby krait, and would I like to take it off their hands? "Is a frog's ass watertight?", I replied, and down I went to the station to pick up the most adorable little Bungarus m. multicinctus I've ever seen, temporarily housed in an appropriately cute little candy jar.

But that was pretty much where the fun ended. When I took the animal into the woods for pictures the next morning, it turned out to be one of the worst snakes I've ever had the misfortune to photograph. Due to its scary toxicity (this tiny, barely ten inch long specimen was about the same size as the one that killed Joe Slowinski with a single fang), the usual rules of "grab fleeing snake/cover with hat/wait 60 seconds/lift hat/shoot/grab fleeing snake again" didn't apply. Being alone, apart from handling the camera I had to control the bugger with a snake hook and a small cooking pot (as a cooldown cave), neither of which he fancied at all. Kraits are 100% terrestrial snakes and notorious for not staying on the hook, and covering him with the pot didn't calm him down as hoped, either - no matter how long I waited, as soon as I lifted the pot, the beast shot out like a snake possessed and scrambled for cover. I was standing inside a ditch, trying to photograph the snake on the shoulder, but there was too much vegetation, and the krait invariably ended up either under a leafy vegetable or a small rock. Then I changed my strategy and moved him to the bottom of the ditch. This sorta worked for a while, but then the bastard started finding holes in the ground. The sun was climbing, there was no shade, and I still had a three-hour walk ahead of me, so eventually I just threw my hands in the air and released the little juvenile delinquent. Of 134 photos in toto, the handful presented here were the ONLY ONES useful enough to at least be considered of documentary value....

This is the plastic dried-fruit jar the fire department used to store the krait, and what an suitable container for snakes it is. "Squeez'n'Bites"? Sounds like the perfect housing for constrictors and vipers alike! :-)

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The Chinese on the jar says "Mr. Liang wants this", Mr. Liang being my Chinese family name. All Chinese dealing with Westerners give themselves Western first names (Frank, Pierre, Helmut etc.), because most of the foreign barbarians they meet have no idea about the different tones in the Chinese language and will invariably mispronounce Chinese names, turning "Morning Chrysanthemum" into "Monkey Dung" or worse. For the same reason, Westerners in the Chinese-speaking world pick Chinese names for themselves, because who wants to hear his name being mangled thirty times a day?

You might wonder about the skull under the jar. Well, so did I. When I put the jar there to photograph it, I looked for a rock to place underneath and level it. I grabbed the first rock I saw and was highly surprised when I realized it wasn't a rock at all, but the bleached skull of some small mammal! (most likely a ferret badger)

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Note the army of parasol-wielding lady hikers in the back. Thirty seconds after this picture was taken, they were standing in front of me, ooh-ing and aah-ing about the pretty little snake. When I told them what species it was, I was treated to the marvelous spectacle of the whole gang simultaneously jumping three feet backwards. The Chinese sure fear their "umbrella snake"....

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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 4th, 2010, 5:11 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 4:51 am
Posts: 191
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Hans, thanks for the shots of the Krait. It sounds like quite an adventure too trying to get a photo of a subject who does not want to stand still, is small, and can kill you. Thanks, Peter B. I had been wanting to see a Krait.


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 4th, 2010, 7:44 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3160
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thank you, Peter!

peterknuteberg wrote:
It sounds like quite an adventure too trying to get a photo of a subject who does not want to stand still, is small, and can kill you.

Plus, who messes up your guard by looking like something little girls would like to play with. Vipers look mean, cobras act mean, but these guys just look so dainty and eye-pleasing that you keep forgetting the danger.

Quote:
I had been wanting to see a Krait.

Here's another one.


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 4th, 2010, 9:43 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm
Posts: 2614
Location: I love L.A.
Nice looking snake. :thumb: Wild fast moving venomous snakes must be the worst kind to pose for a photograph, unless we are talking a 20' Python that won't sit still either. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 6th, 2010, 4:52 am 
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Joined: July 22nd, 2010, 12:15 am
Posts: 50
Location: Yuen Long, NT Hong Kong
Some nice shots there, Hans. Beautiful animal!


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 6th, 2010, 10:32 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:28 am
Posts: 1854
Location: FL Keys
Hans, I always look forward to your great narratives and the critters they're wrapped around. Glad you finally got some shots...all that would've been dissapointing for nothing.
How come you "walked it 3 hours away" to shoot pics?
Thanks,
Tim


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 6th, 2010, 11:01 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
Posts: 259
Location: SW USA
Thanks for taking the time to post that fellow, indeed after hearing from one of Joe's companions about that ill fated trip it was evident those Kraits deserve a major amount of respect. Pity it was mistaken for some type of Lycodon...he was a cool cat.


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 6th, 2010, 4:49 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3160
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for the nice comments!

Quote:
How come you "walked it 3 hours away" to shoot pics?

Oh, I didn't. I shot it right by the parking lot, you can see my van in the background. But that spot is where I start my daily morning three-hour walk, and I still had to do that, and if I start too late, it'll be past noon on the way back - too hot for most herps but cobras :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 8th, 2010, 5:22 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3160
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
lateralis wrote:
Pity it was mistaken for some type of Lycodon...

Dinodon septentrionalis, actually.


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 Post subject: Re: Unruly Many-Banded Baby Krait
PostPosted: September 8th, 2010, 6:07 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:17 am
Posts: 351
Great post!


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