Thursday, July 18, 2013

Snakes in Bali

A couple weeks ago, Kristin and I were on our way to the beach when I spotted a reticulated python laying on the side of the small road. Thanks to my dad, I've always been fascinated with reptiles (and wildlife in general), so I slowed to a stop and began turning around. Of course, Kristin wasn't terribly happy about this.
Reticulated pythons are nonvenomous constrictors and are rarely considered dangerous to humans. There are stories of human attacks by the larger ones, but this guy was a baby of 6-7 feet. Reticulated pythons are the longest species of snake on the planet and can grow to lengths upwards of 20 feet (6 meters).

Unfortunately, my suspicions were correct. Reticulated pythons are ambush hunters and don't just hang out in the open. This one was already dead. Kristin was relieved. As we inspected it, a local came out from his home and told us what happened. He had awoke in the middle of the night to his dog in a frenzy, and walked outside to find him fighting with the snake! The man had bashed its head until it died.

I don't think a lot of people realize the prevalence of snakes in Bali. It's definitely not a topic heavily covered in travel brochures and magazines, but they're here. There are dozens of species found throughout the island: rat snakes, keelbacks, vine snakes, tree snakes, pythons, etc. Some of these are venomous: king cobras, spitting cobras, green pit vipers, banded/blue kraits, and Asian coral snakes. Read a little bit more about these snakes on Bali Reptile Rescue.

Don't be alarmed. Snakes don't attack humans for no reason, only if they feel (or are) threatened. Just because there are a few venomous snakes around, don't go killing every snake you come across. The main thing to remember is to always stay mindful of your surroundings.

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