Mousedeer and Snake Encounter

Recently I was in Thailand just outside Kaeng Krachan National Park in one of the hides at a waterhole.

It had been a great day, a long day to be sure, but had yielded us a few new ticks: for my travelling companion a Bar-backed Partridge and for both of us a Chinese Blue Flycatcher and a Streak-breasted Woodpecker.  It was approaching evening, we were waiting for a reported Slaty-legged Crake which would be new for me.  The light was falling fast, it was just 30 minutes before sunset.  Then we noticed a BIG snake slithering cautiously down the dried creek bed towards the waterhole.

Keeled Rat Snake approaches waterhole

There had been a family of three Lesser Mousedeer drinking at the waterhole throughout the day.  They were quite thirsty.  Mousedeer are very timid mammals for good reason, they are just big enough to make a decent meal for any of the cats, and just small enough and slow enough to have no effective defense except stealth.  I have seen mousedeer run away from chickens and small birds!  But run they didn’t, this female and her fawn stood and stared intently at the snake, which must have been at least 3 meters long.

Female & Fawn staring intently at the snake

It turns out the snake is a Keeled Rat Snake, not venomous nor able to swallow a mousedeer, but capable of inflicting a serious bite if threatened.  The snake then tested the water with it’s tongue, and settled into the waterhole for a drink.

Keeled Rat Snake tests the water with it's tongue

Having statisfied it’s thirst, raised it’s head and then slithered off with the male mousedeer watching carefully.

Keeled Rat Snake about to leave waterhole

Male mousedeer watches first snake leave

Now, even more astonishingly just a few minutes after the first snake left, a second slithered onto the scene.

A second snake appears

But this one instead of drinking just followed the first one off to the left, with the mousedeer watching the rather beautiful tail patterns as it left.

Mousedeer watches second snake leave

By now nearly 25 minutes had past and it was getting really dark.   The family of mousedeer had one last stare just to make sure all the snakes were gone, and then resumed drinking.

Family of Mousedeer

Other wildlife started coming back to the waterhole.  Next came a Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher and then the bird we had waited for the Slaty-legged Crake.

Slaty-legged Crake



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