One of the wonderful staff at Sakahang Lilok shared that she occasionally saw a coral snake while she worked in the farm’s vegetable garden. I had shown her pictures of the snakes in the area and she confirmed that what she saw was a Barred Coral Snake.
Though it rarely bites, the Barred Coral Snake is a venomous species and one needs to exert caution when around them. I came to Lilok back in 2017 to give a talk on snakes and how we can coexist with them on the farm, as well as what to do in the unlikely event that someone gets bit by a venomous snake. This staff member took in all of that and I can trust that she will do the right thing when she sees such snakes.
When we think about snakes, many people think big and scary. But some snakes are very, very little and not the least bit frightening at all.
The Brahminy Blind Snake looks more like a worm than a snake. It is only a few centimeters long and has a head so narrow it might be hard to tell which end is which! But look close, and you’ll see the little scales and the tiny eyes and mouth that let you know that it’s a snake you’re looking at.
It is thought that those little eyes can only tell the difference between light and dark. The Brahminy Blind Snake doesn’t need to see because it spends almost all of its life underground, burrowing through the soil looking for ant and termite nests so it can eat the eggs and larvae inside.
The Reddish Rat Snake (also known as the Philippine Rat Snake) is one of the friendly serpents that hunts for rats in the farms of Tanay. Of course it eats rats – that’s why it’s called a rat snake!
Rat snakes hunt by smell, using their tongue to pick up scents out of the air and off the ground. They can sense the trail that a rat has used and follow the trail back to the rat’s home. Or they will taste the air to smell a rat nest nest and then follow the scent to its dinner. They can also hunt by sight, moving through the underbrush and paying careful attention to small movements. No matter the method, the Reddish Rat Snake is very good at finding rodents.
The rat snake does not have deadly venom. Instead it kills its prey by wrapping its body around it and then squeezing the animal until its heart stops. It can only do this to very small animals, so there’s no reason to be afraid of them.