Archive for the ‘snakes’ Category

Broadband Snake

January 2, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog asked Charles and Kimmie to serve us up something reptilian to mark the start of the year of the snake. And here it is! Thanks to you both!


Here’s a short clip of a Broadband water snake swimming across a pond in Eros, Louisiana. Here’s looking forward to faster broadband in the year of the snake!
People sometimes kill any water snake thinking them poisonous, but this variety like most other water snakes, is non-venomous. Even the venomous Cottonmouths (water moccasins) won’t hurt you as long as you don’t approach them, unless you’re a fish or a frog. In those cases, they’d gobble you up.
Happy new year everybody

broadband snake by Kimberly Paxton

Broadband snake by Kimberly Paxton

Petition Time Again: Stop Illegal Python Skin Trade for Purses

December 16, 2012

From: Emily V., Care2 Action Alerts []
Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:26 PM
To: Hugh Paxton
Subject: Stop Illegal Python Skin Trade for Purses

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action alert!

The python trade is worth $1 billion every year. Too bad a lot of that profit comes from illegal (and often cruel) poaching of snakes.

Please sign the petition today! Stop Illegal Trade in Python Skins

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Dear Hugh,

There are systems in place like quotas and trade bans to protect pythons from illegal poaching. But here’s the thing…

They don’t work.

With growing demand for python-skin handbags and other fashion items, illegal trade is on the rise too. According to the International Trade Center the python trade is worth $1 billion every year. But many of those profits come from wild animals whose skins are laundered using false permits.

It’s clear the existing laws aren’t good enough. But experts think we can make a real dent in the illegal trade if the fashion industry starts sourcing the skins so it can prove to customers that their clothes and accessories aren’t illegal.

Help pythons survive fashion: urge the industry to start tracing python skins.

care2 Thank you for taking action,

Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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Ghastly video from the Chinese food market I took

June 28, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog seems to be dwelling on Chinatowns. An unhappy topic. Live scorpions on sticks this time. Beijing. Ghastly.

Brigitte’s Pick/China Days: A butchery in China Town

June 22, 2012

Hugh Paxton Blog correspondent forwarded the following revolting images of threatened and ostensibly protected species. The images are currently doing the internet rounds but I have yet to identify which Chinatown it is. I’ve checked Bangkok’s Chinatown and can state it is not Thailand’s Chinatown. If any blog readers In Taiwan or Vietnam recognise this butchery and can provide its location Hugh Paxton’s Blog would be most grateful. Thank you. This sort of thing must be stopped!



Thai Days and snakes: herbal antidote to cobra bite developed

April 23, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s blog suggests anybody interested in snakebite treatment (and herbal remedies) looks into this one.

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry announced yesterday that the Kap Choeng Hospital has created an alternative to cobra anti-venom.

The hospital hooked up with Mahasarakham University and brewed up a remedy. It’s a mix of betel nut, lime juice and the root of Trigonstemon reidiodes.

36 border patrol officers who had been bitten by cobras were treated with this mix and survived without the use of cobra venom serum. A further 80 patients bitten by cobras also recovered.

One hundred percent success.

This hospital certainly deserves attention. According to the Health ministry this breakthrough is just one of 43 herbal formulae successfully developed as part of its alternative medicine services.

Burma Days: Snake bust

January 22, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s blog is really hopeful about Burma/Myanmar. The govt, long villified for widespread human rights abuses is releasing political prisoners, there’s a feeling of change in the wind and the foresters are getting their acts in gear.

Close to 10,000 snakes (9,176 to be as precise as possible)  in 400 crates have just been seized by forest authorities in central Burma. As usual the snakes were destined for China, probably to stoke fertility fires during the current Chinese New Year. There’s a five year prison sentence waiting for those arrested if charged and convicted under the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas law.

Strikes me as a happy development. Political prisoners are released, freeing up much needed cell space for real criminals. Yes, I feel hopeful for Burma.

Volcano Adventures: IXTEPEQUE, December, 2005

January 6, 2012
Volcano-Adventures by Colum Muccio

Volcano-Adventures by Colum Muccio

Volcano Adventures: IXTEPEQUE, December, 2005

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has climbed quite a lot of volcanos but times change. The days, then the years, pass, a certain lassitude sinks in and my sort of volcano now is one that erupts at a safe distance and doesn’t need climbing before it fires a lava bomb into my face.

Yeah, right! I’m a cowardly lazy old fart.

But I’m a bit more than that gentle reader!

I’m a manipulative cowardly lazy old fart! And I’m delighted to say that Colum my intrepid friend and gallant conservationist in Guatemala has been manipulated into climbing every volcano in Central America.  And telling us how (or how not) to do it. We’ll kick off with one he climbed a a few years back. Ixtepeque. Pronounce it if you can!

We will be hosting his volcano adventures as and when he sends them in. Dates of climb are always important when you are reading about volcano climbing. Hughg Paxton’s Blog will ensure that you are informed of when the ascent was made.

Over to Colum and start the ascent!


Volcano-Adventures by Colum Muccio

Volcano-Adventures by Colum Muccio

Roberto and I drove out what was now becoming a familiar route to the eastern volcanoes: Carretera Salvador, Barbarena, Los Esclavos and then Jutiapa.  When we got close to Ixtepeque, we stopped in at a love hotel to ask for directions.  It only occurred to me later the logic of stopping in at such a place, the hotel was pathetic, with only plastic sheets for doors and the owner sitting outside shirtless, potbellied, with a mouth full of gold and a pistol packed into his belt.  That is something characteristic of this part of Guatemala, a little bit of the wild west, where every male over the age of four years old by obligation must wear a gun.  It makes it hard to know who the thieves are.

Antonio, the owner of the hotel, had a friend and we drove him up the road so that he could introduce us.  Robin was a quiet, handsome cowboy, who apparently did a lot of hunting and after some explanation, agreed to take us up the volcano.  He had a spider monkey in his front yard chained to a ceiba tree and Roberto walked too close to him and got bit on the arm.  The monkey was uncharacteristically muscular and swung continuously from limb to limb.  We squeezed lemon on the wounds and drove to the starting off point in the village of La Tuna.  I mistakenly left my sunglasses on the roof of the car, and driving along heard the sound of broken glass as they hit the pavement.  Damn! On the dirt road to La Tuna, we saw beautiful green tree snake sunning itself on the road.  It slithered away casually through the brush.

Ixtepeque is an interesting volcano being composed almost entirely of obsidian and as we started walking we saw it all over the trail, chinking like pieces of broken black glass.  Ixtepeque is thought to be one of the principal sources of obsidian for the Mayas.  Our hike was slowed by frequent stops to pick up especially interesting-looking pieces.  Robin explained to us that the shards were so sharp that at locals had to be careful when walking cattle up the trail.

The trail was an easy grade, climbing with stone walls on each side with cattle grazing in pastures.  We were glad that we had Robin along with us as it was easy to lose the path.  Several cattle farmers were pushing their herds down the trail, and we had to climb the stone walls to get out of their way and let the cattle pass.  And, of course, each one of them had the ubiquitous pistol in the belt.  We stopped briefly to pass the time of day, explaining that we were climbing the volcano (and not robbing cattle).  You could tell that they were enjoying their lives as cowboys.

We got to the top of the trail, which crossed the volcano in a saddle in between two hills.   Robin indicated that the summit was to the left and we followed him as he cut a path through the brush with his machete.  I remembered again that it would be useful to take a machete along on these trips.   After about 15 minutes of climbing through the brush, we came out onto a summit covered with tall grass and small trees, but with a fairly decent view of the surrounding volcanoes.  

Apart from the obsidian, Ixtepeque isn’t a spectacular volcano, but a nice easy walk.  What really set the day apart for us was the particular, increasingly funny series of events that staged themselves throughout the day.  First the monkey, then my sunglasses, then the green snake…  and to top off the day, when we returned to the car and popped the ceremonial Gallo beers, Roberto and Robin had already grabbed the only nearby rocks to sit on, and I decided to sit on the ground, landing my ass on a very sharp, 3 inch thorn which I had to tug furiously to get out of my butt, leaving a spot of blood on my ass. We all laughed at the eventful day.

Apart from the volcanoes and the views, these walks were interesting in giving a window, though a fleeting one,  into the lives of rural Guatemala campesinos.  Robin took us back to his house were his wife and mother offered us glasses of lukewarm Pepsi.  The real refreshment, however, came in the form of a cool “juacal” full of water from the pila poured over our dusty heads.  Robin had a three year old daughter who looked at us untrustingly with tears in her eyes from behind her mother’s skirt.  Robin explained to us that she was sick, had a fever from infections in her front teeth.  Roberto explained that he was a dentist and told the child to come over to him so he could take a look, which she only did when her mother picked her up, crying, and carried her over.  Roberto explained that teeth infections are dangerous because they can grow up, into the brain, and that they should have the teeth pulled.  It’s sometimes too easy to blame things on poverty, that poor people do what they do because they have no other choice.  It’s also true that people simply make bad decisions out of ignorance or superstition, like the decision to chain a wild monkey to a tree in their front yard.  I looked at the child’s feverous face and wondered what her future was.

Thai Days: The green mamba.

November 27, 2011

This morning my daughter saw a green mamba attack a taxi. I assume the mamba, which is native to Africa not South East Asia, was an escapee from a private collector’s home inundated by floodwater. A lot of animals – tigers, crocodiles, the mambas – have got free over the last two months fuelling public consternation and hopefully a post flood strengthening of illegal wildlife legislation. 

The taxi was bringing my wife home from the international airport and was almost at our front doorwhen  the snake which had been basking in the road, took fright and tried to bite it. The attempt was brave, but unsurprisingly, failed. A little bit later the mamba got into a fight with two feral cats. A gardener broke it up and walloped the unfortunate snake with a club. End of incident. end of mamba.

Some comments on the giant snake. And a few more snake stories!

March 25, 2011


Hugh, what a fantastic story! Now that’s what I call a snake! We had one in our classroom in Singapore that took up the whole room and stopped school for 2 days – brilliant! Some friends in Malaya were unable to drive their baby fiat away from the beach at Jason’s Bay one day after one had wound itself round the transmission! Some gardeners chopped open a 22 feet snake, I think it was in the Cameron Highlands and found a 20 foot snake inside! Finally my parents were at a golf club with some friends who had left their baby snoozing in a pushchair on the edge of the course and at one point looked over to see half of baby, pushchair and all disappearing down a snake. With much pulling, they were able to reclaim their offspring intact!

This comment from Andy.

A great story, but a bit early for April fools day. Boas are S. American.

This comment from The Webcat.

Hhhhmmmm….   Is there a species of snake in the area that grows to nearly that size?  Looks real though doesn’t it?

This comment from Colum, Guatemala

Brigitte’s Pick: 55 foot-long snake found in China!

March 23, 2011

Brigitte's pick

A photograph purporting to show a 55ft snake found in a forest in China has become an internet sensation. It was originally posted in a thread on the website of the People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper in China . The thread claimed the snake was one of two enormous boas found by workers clearing forest for a new road outside Guping city, Jiangxi province.

Giant snake found in China

Giant snake found in China

They apparently woke up the sleeping snakes during attempts to bulldoze a huge mound of earth. “On the third dig, the operator found there was blood amongst the soil, and with a further dig, a dying snake appeared,” said the post. “At the same time, another gold coloured giant boa appeared with its mouth wide open. The driver was paralysed with fear, while the other workers ran for their lives.

“By the time the workers came back, the wounded boa had died, while the other snake had disappeared. The bulldozer operator was so sick that he couldn’t even stand up.” The post claimed that the digger driver was so traumatised that he suffered a heart attack on his way to hospital and later died. The dead snake was 55ft (16.7m) long, weighed 300kg and was estimated to be 140 years old, according to the post.

Imagine design

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