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SNAKES
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SNAKES



 

There are 39 species of venomous snake found in Myanmar. 14 of which are primarily aquatic based, coming onto dry land rarely. The remaining are terrestrial, 7 of which are arboreal, tending to rest on tree branches.

There are two families of dangerously venomous snakes in Myanmar namely the Elapidae (cobras, kraits and coral snakes) and Viperadae (true vipers, pit vipers, Azemiops).

The Government of Myanmar reported 18.3 cases of poisonous snakebites and 1.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012, its most recent report. That amounts to approximately 25 known poisonous bites per day, with many more likely unreported.

KRAIT (Bungarus caeruleus)

APPEARANCE:

The average length is 0.9 m (3.0 ft), but they can grow to 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in). Males are longer, with proportionately longer tails. The head is flat and the neck barely noticeable. Krait snakes vary between a black and bluish black colour, with approximately 40 thin, white crossbars which may be more pronounced or not evident at all on some individuals.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR:

During daytime, Krait snakes are docile and not overtly active. They often find harbourage in old rodent burrows, loose soil, or underneath debris, so are rarely spotted. Kraits habitually roll its body into a coiled ball, keeping its head hidden. When in this ‘balled’ state, they allow considerable handling, but over handling may irritate the snake and could result in a bite.

During the night, Kraits are much more active and manage to escape threats by hissing loudly. Occasionally it may bite if disturbed. It may become aggressive at night if threatened.

Kraits are reluctant to bite, so as to preserve venom. However when they do strike, they typically hold on for a while, which enables them to inject large amounts of venom.

Krait snakes are known to reside in old termite mounds, brick piles, rat holes, even inside houses. They are frequently found in water or close to a water source.




SIGNS IMPACT PREVENTION
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During the rainy season, Kraits may leave their habitats for dryer conditions inside homes and properties. It is during Myanmar’s monsoon season that most krait snake bites occur.

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BITE – A  krait’s venom consists of powerful neurotoxins, which induce muscle paralysis. If bitten at night, the victims may not realise they have been bitten at all. The immediate symptoms are similar to that of mosquito bite which often gives bite victims a false sense of security. Any victim of a suspected krait snake bite should be taken hospital immediately and treated with anti-venom.

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There a number of preventative measures you can take to discourage snake ingress, such as trimming grass regularly to keep it short, clearing low growing plants and shrubs that provide cover, and filling holes under sheds and walls.

However if a visual sighting has been made, it is important to contact a professional snake removal service immediately to protect others in the vicinity.

KING COBRA (Ophiophagus hannah)

APPEARANCE:

King cobras come in a variety of different colours but largely vary from black, light brown, olive green and in most cases, have yellow bands around their length. They measure 3 to 4 metres on average and display a distinctive hood when agitated.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR:

Kind cobras are a diurnal species, meaning that they are primarily active during the day. Like other snakes, King cobras pick up chemical signals with their forked tongue and transmit this information to the Jacobsen’s organ in the roof of their month. This is essentially their sense of smell. Together with their keen eyesight, King cobras can detect a prey’s movement from over 100m. They feed primarily off other snakes, especially rat snakes, but also eat rodents, birds and lizards.

Unlike many other species of snake, king cobra females are devout parents. They form mounds for their eggs by sweeping up leaves and debris. They then protect and incubate their eggs for a comparably long period of time (between 60 and 90 days). Kind cobras lay between 20 and 40 eggs at a time. Once the eggs have hatched, the mother instinctively goes off to find prey, so she doesn’t eat her newborns. Young King cobras are just as aggressive as adults and possess venom of the same toxicity.

The venom of these snakes contains haditoxin, a strong neurotoxin that impairs the nervous system. King cobras are able to deliver a fatal bite, with some victims dying within 30 minutes of being bitten.

 




SIGNS IMPACT PREVENTION
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GROWLING HISS. Kind cobras emit a low frequency hiss that is similar in frequency to human voice. While most other snakes hisses range between 3,000 and 13,000 Hz, the King cobras sinks to a much lower-sounding frequency of 600 Hz.

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BITE. The venom of a King cobra contains haditoxin, a strong neurotoxin that impairs the nervous system. King cobras are able to deliver a fatal bite, with some victims dying within 30 minutes of being bitten.

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There a number of preventative measures you can take to discourage snake ingress, such as trimming grass regularly to keep it short, clearing low growing plants and shrubs that provide cover, and filling holes under sheds and walls.

However if a visual sighting has been made, it is important to contact a professional snake removal service immediately to protect others in the vicinity.

 

MANDALAY SPITTING COBRA (Naja Manadalayensis)

APPEARANCE:

There are many different species of cobra in Myanmar. In terms of the number of snakes bites each year, the Mandalay spitting cobra, the King cobra and monocle cobra are the main offenders.

The Mandalay spitting cobra is medium-sized measuring on average between 1 and 1.2 metres. Its head is oval-shaped with a short rounded snout and large nostrils. They are generally yellowish brown to dark brown in colour, with dark brown spots and smear marks.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR:

This species is prevalent in the central zone of Myanmar, preferring the dry conditions. They are nocturnal hunters, feeding mainly on toads and frogs. During the day they are mostly inactive and spend most of their time basking in the sun. These cobras, similar to the Indochinan spitting cobra, will spit in response to very little provocation. They are alert and defensive creature and will sometimes charge towards threats while hissing loudly.

The venom is highly toxic, affecting the nervous system by inhibiting the synapses at nerve endings. This can lead to paralysis and even death.




SIGNS IMPACT PREVENTION
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Mandalay spitting cobras prefer dry areas with exposure to the sun. Snake-skins are a clear sign that a snake may be in the vicinity.

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BITES – The venom is highly toxic, affecting the nervous system by inhibiting the synapses at nerve endings. This can lead to paralysis and even death.

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There a number of preventative measures you can take to discourage snake ingress, such as trimming grass regularly to keep it short, clearing low growing plants and shrubs that provide cover, and filling holes under sheds and walls.

However if a visual sighting has been made, it is important to contact a professional snake removal service immediately to protect others in the vicinity.

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