Snakes galore at Pui O snake talk!

Yesterday afternoon, William Sargent, one of Hong Kong’s leading self-taught ‘snake guys’ (read: catcher, rescuer and all-round snake expert/enthusiast), held an excellent info session at Pui O on the slithery subject, which saw a solid turnout of interested folk. The talk primarily focused on snake identification, venomous species in Hong Kong, and what to do if bitten and by what, in addition to educating people about snakes generally as a way to help remove the fear factor and promote respect for our legless neighbours.

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Event speaker William Sargent, one of Hong Kong’s leading self-taught ‘snake guys’

The session was detailed, informative and participatory, with lots of questions thrown at and asked by the fascinated audience. There were even a dozen or so wild snakes on display that William had specifically caught for the event in the days prior, which was an added bonus. At the end, William handled a Copperhead Rat Snake and an extra feisty Common/Oriental Rat Snake, before inviting several audience members to take on some very cute and gentle Greater Green Snakes (naturally, I was one of the first to volunteer!).

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William displaying a Copperhead Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus)
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Woo-hoo, me handling (for quite some time, too) an adorable Greater Green Snake! They are so utterly cute and gentle. I want one, lol

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and the opportunity to see so many wild species up close, from the non-venomous Copperhead Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus), Common/Oriental Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosa) and Greater Green Snake (Cyclophiops major) to the venomous Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus helleri), Bamboo Pit Viper (Trimeresurus albolabris), Chinese Cobra (Naja atra) and very lethal Many-banded Krait (Bungarus multicinctus multicinctus) 😮 , plus more! Below are some cool snake pics I took at the event.

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Greater Green Snake (Cyclophiops major)
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Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus helleri)
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Bamboo Pit Viper (Trimeresurus albolabris)
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Chinese Cobra (Naja atra)
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Many-banded Krait (Bungarus multicinctus multicinctus)

Thanks to William Sargent (speaker), Living Islands Movement (organisers) and GardenPlus (venue), plus the slithery stars of the event! See also this recent interview with William and consider joining his Facebook group “Hong Kong Snakes” (it’s a closed group with over 2,500 members at the time of writing) if you have an interest in snakes, snake identification and/or need a snake removed or relocated.

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Pic of the Day: Taiwan Kukri Snake

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Taiwan Kukri Snake (Oligodon formosanus)

I recently did my first hike in a while, having switched to a stint of power walking in the weeks prior, and lo and behold I saw a snake! We have entered snake season after all, but that’s still pretty cool to see a snake on my ‘first’ hike. Not only did I stumble upon a live one, but this was the first time I was able to properly photograph one of my rare snake encounters. How exciting!

What we have here is a Taiwan Kukri Snake (Oligodon formosanus), a medium-sized non-venomous snake that is reportedly uncommon but widely distributed in Hong Kong. Its enlarged rear teeth apparently resemble Nepalese kukri knives, hence the name. Check out the cool head and eye markings, plus the lilac highlights along its body.

I was hiking up to Lo Fu Tau in DB when I spotted the snake literally just hanging out on the dirt trail in front of me. It made no attempt to escape, only curling up closer to the grass once it got fed up with my continued presence, lol. In fact, it was so brave and motionless for the first while, I initially thought it might be dead, but it was very much alive, believe me!

See more of my local wildlife encounters here – it’s an ongoing work in progress! If you’re interested, I also have a page dedicated to wild Hong Kong flowers and plants, with lots of photos personally taken by me whilst out and about on hikes and walks.