Banded Malayan Coral Snake

Banded Coral Snake
Originally uploaded by _Cheng Puay.

One last post before leaving for Kinabalu. This banded coral snake (Maticora intestinalis) (see Nick Baker’s site ) was lying on the path of the Tekek Juara Trail. A group of students (around 25) walked across it before the one of them noticed it lying amongst the leaf litter. Fortunately we verified its identity quickly before anyone decided to prod it with a finger. What was really interesting was that the snake was apparently playing dead, possibly waiting out this huge stampede of humans to cross by before moving to safety.

And this snake packs a powerful neurotoxin in its bite. Which makes the situation all the more interesting, why didn’t it attack?

Unlike what we see in movies (think Anaconda), most animals in the forest are shy, unless they are provoked, disturbed or forced into a corner. In the case of the banded coral snake, it is apparently highly disturbed by the sudden activity, some of us may have stepped on it (shudder… i was wearing slippers then), but still it did not attack. Reason being venomous snakes value their store of toxins. They will not utilise it unless truly neccessary.

Something to bear in mind when one encounter snakes, unless you are a trained handler, leave it alone and always give it space to move away (which will be its first instinct). If you have unwittingly corner it, move away slowly.

Well, a snake sighting is always exciting. Especially a close encounter with the likes of Manticora.


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