Visit to the Red Cross Snake Farm, Bangkok

Banded Krait

In transit to Nepal, my wife and I spent a few days in Bangkok and had the chance to visit the fascinating Red Cross Snake Farm in the Silom area of Bangkok.  Here they farm the most venomous snakes for venom extraction in order to make antivenom.  There is a nice lower level with specimins in glass cases and an upper level with video and poster displays.  We especially enjoyed the snake-handling show, although it was a bit intimidating to be sitting in the front row when they set the twin King Cobras on the ground.  I suppose there’s no better place to be bitten than at the antivenom lab.
Upper right is the Russel’s viper (gonasa in Sanskrit), Siamese variety.  It belongs to the maṇḍalin family of snakes in Sanskrit typology.  Very venomous, it is one of the “Big Four” species of snakes that cause the most deaths in South Asia, the others being the cobra (darvīkara, lower left), krait (rājila), and saw-scaled viper (also maṇḍalin). The lower right shows a green pit viper, exact species unknown to me.