4 Tips for Living in Snakey Areas

  April 6, 2019 travel posts 🕑 5 minutes read

Snake proofing the yard by taking down tall grass in Pong Noi, Thailand.

 

“Snakey.”

 

I picked this up from my Australian travel blogging buddies. Meaning a place with ample snakes.

 

Most snakes are harmless. Non-aggressive. Plus no venom. Few bites. No big deal.

 

A handful of snakes pack a venomous punch. Most venomous snakes avoid humans like the plague. Humans kill everything. A few species of snake stand their ground – vipers like Malayan vipers here in Chiang Mai or the fer de lanz in Central America – and yep; these suckers are dangerous, striking out and tagging you if you stumble across one.

 

I figured I’d write this post because I take down tall grass with the machete here in Pong Noi daily. Homeowner keeps grass tall and has spotted no snakes – he has 2 soi dogs, fabulous snake deterrents – but I sleep better taking down the jungle environment. Snakes love tall grass. Cobra and vipers frequent the area.

 

I’ve spent years in snakey areas in the tropics and have spotted ample slithering critters, among them, encounters with a spitting cobra and krait. Learning lessons from expats and snake experts I want to share my insights with you.

 

Follow these 4 tips if you spend time in areas home to snakes, notably venomous species.

 

1: Trim Da Green

 

Trim tall grass to a few inches. Prune trees. Snakes love hanging out in trees, and in tall grass. Trim shrubs too. No need to live in an arid desert. But keep a tight green yard to give snakes no hiding places.

 

Snakes cannot survive in plain sight because predators – humans and fellow snakes, in addition to big monitor lizards – pick ’em off. Do ample landscaping. Trim trees and shrubs. If you can easily spot a snake, job well done. I used the machete daily for a good week now to trim the Amazon in the backyard. Snake-proofing.

 

2: Do Outdoor Cardio During the Day

 

Dusk or dawn guys, dusk or dawn. Do cardio at dusk or dawn if temps hit 100-105 daily, as is the case here in Chiang Mai during this time of year.  Forget about night cardio. Cool, but walking with a torch feels annoying. Plus it is still a bit dangerous to walk with torch because cobra or vipers can boogie along if you are running along.

 

Snakes become quite active at night. Unless you run on a well-lit track with plenty of folks around, skip night cardio. Aim for dusk and dawn sessions to capitalize on the coolest time of the day.

 

3: Wear Shoes Around the Yard at Night and Use a Torch

 

Torch = flashlight. Or a phone flashlight suffices.

 

I use a torch anytime I stroll around the yard or property at night in places like Bali or Thailand. Smart. Snakes love night time slithering-strolls for prey. Most folks seem to get tagged at night, sans flash light, and/or wearing flip flops. Bad idea.

 

Wear sneakers. Give yourself extra protection. Walk around with some peace of mind if you cruise the property during evening hours.

 

4: Do Not Kill Snakes

 

Morons kill harmless snakes. Every snake plays a role in balancing the ecosystem. Frog eaters. Rat exterminators. Killing a harmless snake throws the ecosystem out of balance.

 

As for venomous snakes…..ditto! Do not kill venomous snakes because:

 

  • most leave the split second you leave the snakes alone; humans tend to be savage animals, killing out of fear, creating imbalances, screwing up natural harmony….snakes know this and exit stage left
  • all snakes – venomous ones included – play a critical role in balancing the ecosystem….kill a cobra and you co-create too many rats and frogs, which throws everything off

 

There are no dangerous snakes; just ignorant, frightened human beings.

 

There are no dangerous snakes; just ignorant, frightened human beings.Click To Tweet

 

Be hyper aware as you hike through the forest. Malayan pit vipers may sit on the trails here in Northern Thailand. Solid camouflage but any aware hiker spots ’em easily. Do not disturb or approach any snake. Give all snakes a wide berth of 5 to 10 meters. Respect snakes. Snakes will respect you. Venomous snakes want nothing to do with you.

 

If a snake finds its way inside of your home:

 

  • call or Message snake catchers in the area; you’d be stunned at how a Google or Facebook search yields an expat or locals who catch snakes and release into the jungle
  • get as many details on the snake, carefully observing color, body type and shape of the head to relay to snake catchers, to figure out if a venomous or non-venomous snake has entered your home
  • open doors and give it time; snakes generally want nothing to do with humans, and will gladly exit stage left after realizing its mistake
  • get in touch with neighbors; some in snakey areas may know a local who can catch and release any snake, or get you in touch with people who can do this

 

Final Note

 

Yes; if you dig a wee bit you remember my snake situation in Bali. Kelli and I house sat with a fellow rocking couple. We found a spitting cobra in the chicken coop. He had killed 2 chicks and the mama hen. Having been raised on a farm in South Africa, dealing with mambas, and fearing the snake would feast, sleep off the feast, then tag and kill staff the next day, one of our fellow house sitters decided to kill the snake. I would have called the local expat snake catcher but I do respect his decision, based on his experience.

 

Going forward though I vowed never to kill a snake – venomous or not – because there is always another solution and these guys help maintain balance and harmony in nature.

 

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