gondwana reptile productions by rob valentic photogallery including a selection of australian snakes lizards and frogs                                                                                    
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| Reptiles and Frogs from Khao Phra Thaew National Park, Phuket Island, Thailand |
| Reptiles and Frogs from Krabi, Thailand |
Thailand herp trip 2012

Reptiles and Frogs from greater Phuket Island, southwestern Thailand.


Golden Tree Snake (Flying Snake) Chrysopelea ornata.
Golden Tree Snake (Flying Snake) Chrysopelea ornata.

Golden Tree Snake (Flying Snake) Chrysopelea ornata.
Golden Tree Snake (Flying Snake) Chrysopelea ornata.

I caught this snake at mid-morning during late March on a dry, granitic bluff overlooking Patong Bay near the Merlin Beach resort. I was in the act of carefully lifting then replacing some scattered exfoliated granite slabs (searching for sheltering reptiles or frogs) when I heard the familiar slithering sound of a snake moving through the foliage of a tree branch immediately above me. The sound was not slow and deliberate. It was swift, relaying in bursts, and was therefore the sound of a snake fleeing upon a disturbance (that would be me).  Without looking up, I raced around to the far side of this tree (an introduced Acacia auriculiformis) and intercepted the snake as it attempted to cross over into an adjacent dense cluster of trees in contact with this trees lowermost branches. The Golden Tree Snake is a swift-moving diurnal species. They blend in perfectly with the foliage they inhabit (see photograph of the snake with the actual tree and underlying granite outcrops in the background).  I was over the moon with this catch and for the opportunity to photograph a snake that flies!
The snakes hemipenes were manually everted post capture and he measured 1.1 meters in total length.

Golden Tree Snake (Flying Snake) Chrysopelea ornata.
Golden Tree Snake (Flying Snake) Chrysopelea ornata.

Asian Common Toad Duttaphyrnus melanosictus.
Asian Common Toad Duttaphrynus melanosictus.

A sub-adult specimen sighted propped on the edge of a bitumen road running through agricultural land at night during heavy rainfall on a hill top at Cape Panwa, south-eastern Phuket. A fresh DOR sub-adult Red-necked Keelback Rhabdophis subminiatus was also examined nearby.

Cricket Frog Fejervarya limnocharis
Cricket Frog Fejervarya limnocharis.

An adult frog found at night propped on the lip of a shallow concrete drain running parallel with a bitumen road  about 150 meters above sea level near the Merlin Beach resort, Patong. Sheer walls of black granite vegetated with rock fern flanked the concrete drain with dense secondary rainforest along the steep slopes above the granite face. Pools of stagnant water from recent rains had collected where the drain was blocked by accumulated flood debris and a small localized population of Cricket Frogs were found around the edges of these pools.

Red-tailed Ratsnake Gonyosoma oxycephalum.
Red-tailed Ratsnake Gonyosoma oxycephalum.

An adult male snake found active in foliage in agricultural land during mid afternoon in sunny weather at Kathu Heights, Phuket Island. Another specimen seen in overcast conditions at twilight (crepuscular) whilst actively moving through the canopy beside a stream along the Bang Pae Waterfall trail, Khao Phra Thaew National Park.  The Ratsnake above measured 1.7 meters in total length. When tailing this snake, it was difficult to avoid bites due to the strong body coupled with tremendous elasticity.

Common Green Frog Hylarana erythrea.
Common Green Frog Hylarana erythraea.

A large colony of Common Tree Frogs were centered on an ornamental pond in the garden of a major resort behind bustling Karon Beach. Many were observed basking in full sunlight in the morning on lilly pads and frogs were also seen active at night on higher reeds or propped along the illuminated pathways bordering the pond where a bounty of insects were concentrated. This adult female was gravid and she expelled several eggs upon restraint.

Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra
Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra.

An adult male specimen found active and hopping across a bitumen road following a heavy downpour at night. The frog was found a few kilometers west of the Merlin Beach resort, Patong. The road was flanked with dense secondary rainforest and site elevation was roughly 200 meters above sea level.

Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra
Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra.

An adult female sighted hopping across a bitumen road running through agricultural land at night and during heavy rainfall on a hill crest at Cape Panwa, south-eastern Phuket.

Bowring’s Supple Skink Lygosoma bowringii
Bowring’s Supple Skink Lygosoma bowringii.

An adult male found sheltering beneath some fallen wooden boards abutting a Tsunami damaged dwelling in an area heavily shaded by a dense canopy of Casuarina equisetifolia on a moist, white-sand substrate. The site in the supra-littoral coastal zone on the eastern side of Phi Phi Island, Andaman Gulf, south-western Thailand.  Two Bengal Monitors Varanus bengalensis (an adult and a hatchling) were also observed in close proximity to one another whilst active on the ground in the early afternoon  in open vine forest studded with limestone outcrops on the slopes immediately above this beach.

Ornate Narrow-mouthed Frog Microhyla fissipes
Ornate narrow-mouthed Frog Microhyla fissipes.

Whilst head-torching for herp on foot, a rustling sound was heard and upon closer scrutiny, was emanating from the confines of a clear plastic bag on a pile of rubbish scattered beside a road. This gravid female Ornate narrow-mouthed frog was trapped inside a partially closed potato chip bag and subsequently rescued, photographed and released. She measured 18mm from snout-axilla and was found a few kilometers west of the Merlin Beach resort near Patong in dense secondary rainforest on a hill top.

Many-lined Sun Skink Mabuya multifasciata
Many-lined Sun Skink Mabuya multifasciata.
The Many-lined Sun Skink is a ubiquitous species inhabiting a broad range of habitats, from coastal dunes and mangrove edges to inland riparian valleys and amid the most densely settled areas. This adult male was seen basking on a granite ridge-top in a rainforest clearing in the Nakkerd Hills above Chalong Bay . The Big Buddha Temple was nearby. The skink measured about 260mm in total length.

Asian King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah
Asian King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah.
This adult male Asian King Cobra was loaned for a fee then taken from its enclosure at a snake show venue and driven into an agricultural area nearby for a photo session.  He measured a little over 4.3 meters in length and I was told that he was collected from the rainforest clad, southern foothills of the Phra Thaew mountain range around Thalang in the central- north of  Phuket Island. He was a magnificent snake and I will cherish the very special experience of interacting with the King of all snakes for as long as I live. Whilst hand-shedding him prior to the shoot, it was noted that the posterior 30mm of his entire tail-tip was flushed with the most vivid turquoise blue color through the black reticulum lacing the scale edges!

Common Tree Frog Polypedates leucomystax 
Common Tree Frog Polypedates leucomystax.
An adult female taken from the luxurious confines of the inner lip of a toilet bowl. I picked her up and draped her on some  foliage right outside for a quick photo before returning her back home. The Big Buddha public toilets, Chalong, Phuket Island.

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor
Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor.

A robust snake species that can attain lengths of 2 meters according to the local snake park staff.  Perfectly adapted for a fossorial existence, the snug-fitting scales are smooth, glossy and therefore highly water repellant. The blunt, shovel-nosed head, muscular body and dimunitive eyes facillitate progression through thick layers of humus with obvious ease. The Sunbeam Snake is reminiscent of the Lerista skink genus of Australia in many respects. This snake was found sheltering in a pile of shoes on the doorstep of a dwelling in an agricultural area of Thalang  and collected on call-out by the staff from the snake park at Kathu Heights. She measured 1.2 meters in total length.

For their help in the identification of several of the species depicted here, I am indebted to Suwit Punnadee of the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Ban Bangrong, Thalang, Phuket, Thailand and to Michael Cota (Assistant Editor of the THNHM Journal, Research Associate at the Natural History Museum, National Science Museum, Thailand.). 


All images are copyrighted and protected by copyright laws.  Copyright Rob Valentic, Gondwana Reptile Productions.