Deadly dormmate: a case study on Bungarus candidus living among a student dormitory with implications for human safety.

Published online
08 Apr 2021
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Ecological Solutions and Evidence

Hodges, C. W. & Barnes, C. H. & Patungtaro, P. & Strine, C. T.
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1. Snakebite, which was reclassified as a neglected tropical disease by theWorld Health Organization in 2017, afflicts at least 1.8-2.7 million people worldwide each year. Understanding the habits of medically significant snakes can help us better construct preventative measures which reduce snake-human conflicts and snakebite. 2. As a case study, using radio-telemetry,we monitored a single focal Bungarus candidus individual for 102 days within a suburban landscape (a university dormitory complex) in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. 3. Daily location checks revealed the telemetered snake sheltered within human settlement habitat 75% of the time it was tracked, where we also documented active foraging, a predation event and interactions with humans. 4. Despite being captured and relocated to an adjacent forest on two occasions, the focal animal promptly returned to the dormitories. Translocation as a management tool requires meaningful discussion at the local level and further study, considering the costs and potential limitations for effectiveness. 5. This case study provides brief insight into the ecology and behaviour of one of Asia's most medically significant snake species and highlights challenges current conflict management practices face locally. Our observations appear to lend credibility to preventative measures such as increasing awareness, encouraging the use of flashlights and carefully maintaining buildings so that snakes cannot enter through crevices or plumbing. Snake-human conflict prevention and mitigation techniques require further evaluation to determine the effectiveness of prescribed management methods.

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