Malayan Krait Ecology

Malayan kraits (Bungarus candidus) are nocturnal elapid snakes which possess potent neurotoxic venoms. They are broadly distributed across Thailand, and are known to inhabit forested areas and a variety of human modified habitats. As a result, B. candidus is responsible for a significant proportion of snake bite related deaths in Thailand.BUCA12_release_22.11.18_watermark

Despite the species’ medical significance and often shared space use with humans, few field studies have explored their ecological habits. This project uses radio telemetry to investigate the in-situ ecology of B. candidus on Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) campus and adjacent land in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. The university campus is comprised of a matrix of human modified landscapes interspersed with severely degraded remnant dipterocarp forest fragments.

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The surrounding landscape is primarily composed of suburban housing divisions and monoculture plots of upland crops such as cassava, maize, and Eucalyptus. Many SUT students and staff live on campus in residential housing adjacent to forested areas, and as a result, people frequently encounter snakes among their homes. Though rarely seen, B. candidus occurs on SUT campus, providing an opportunity to better understand how these cryptic venomous snakes live among humans.

This project aims to assess B. candidus spatial ecology, multi-scale habitat selection, and activity patterns in relation to snake-human conflict in suburban Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Findings from this project will be implemented into community awareness programs in order to help prevent snake bite, and to guide krait conservation.

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