Hua Hin Today meets David Frohlich, founder of the Snakes of Hua Hin Facebook group

David Frohlich, founder of the Snakes of Hua Hin Facebook group. Image: Foto's by Patrick Jacobs

They tend to get a negative reputation and for some people even the mention of the word snake can send them into panic.

David Frohlich, for one, is not one of those people. The 23 year old has had a passion for snakes and herpetology for most of his life.

David spent part of his childhood growing up in South Africa, which is where he first became interested in snakes.

“Actually, on our first day in South Africa my mother was bitten by a snake and ever since then I wanted to find out more”.

David is the founder of the Snakes of Hua Hin Facebook group, which he set up to help educate people in order for snakes and people living in Hua Hin to better co-exist.

David set up the group when he was just 13 years old and today it has over 8,300 members and continues to grow.

Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs

For anyone living in Hua Hin, the group is an excellent source of information for all things related to snakes.

Everyday, people in Hua Hin and the surrounding area post photos of snakes they find on their property or around town.

“I think a large part of the success of the group is the speed in which members receive an identification of a snake”, David told Hua Hin Today.

“We have 30 moderators located in different time zones around the world, so we are nearly always able to identify a snake quickly”.

Crucially the moderators, or admins of the group, are able to tell members whether or not a particular snake is venomous and how to best deal with the situation.

David also explained that the admins are now beginning to record many sightings of snakes posted to the group, which should help to build an important and comprehensive database, which in turn will help David and others to better understand the snake population in Hua Hin.

David, whose involvement in the group is completely voluntary, is often called to different locations around Hua Hin in order to safely remove a snake from a property, which he then relocates into the wild.

Most snakes are harmless

David says that snakes are much more common in Hua Hin than people perhaps realise and are most likely to appear in the early evening when they go looking for food.

“Some of the most common snakes in Hua Hin are golden tree snakes, vine snakes, kukri snakes, and rat snakes, which are all harmless,” David said.

David says that ​​the Malayan pit viper and the spitting cobra are the most common venomous snakes found in Hua Hin.

“Malayan pit vipers are quite sluggish, relying on camouflage to avoid detection. If people get bitten, it is normally because they step on one, while the spitting cobra can be much more defensive, but will usually try to escape if spotted”.

“What people need to remember about venomous snakes is that if they have spotted one, the danger is already over”, David explained.

Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs

If people do spot a snake at their property, they should try to post a photo of it in the Snakes of Hua Hin Facebook group, the admins of which may be able to help with relocating the animal.

The local rescue workers are also able to help relocate snakes.

However, David warns that sometimes the security guards or gardeners at properties around Hua Hin will simply kill the snake, rather than relocate it, which obviously goes against everything David is trying to achieve via the Snakes of Hua Hin group.

The important thing to remember is to not provoke or confront the snake in any way.

Snake bites

David also offered some advice on what people should do if they are ever bitten by a snake.

“The important thing is to stay calm and seek medical attention immediately”.

“All the hospitals in Hua Hin carry anti-venom or will likely have access to it from another hospital.”

“Some of the veterinary clinics also carry stocks of anti-venom”, David said.

We also asked David about what appeared to be a sudden increase in the number of sightings Malayan pit vipers posted to the group in recent weeks.

“Yes, there probably was an increase in sightings. It’s the breeding season and there is always an increase in snakes when the first rain falls after the dry season. With rain, comes snakes”, David said.

In addition to his involvement in the Snakes of Hua Hin Facebook group, David also recently took part in two events in Hua Hin which also aimed to raise awareness and educate people about snakes.

David, along with friend and fellow group admin Harry Ward-Smith gave a presentation at the BK Talks event, which took place at The Banana Ketchup restaurant in Hua Hin.

David and others also held the first Snakes of Hua Hin Night Walk, a free event, which gave attendees the opportunity to get up close and personal and learn more about some of the common snake species found in the area.

David said he is looking at the possibility of holding similar events in the future.

David is also a keen photographer and has built up a significant following on Instagram, where his @davidsfeed page has more than 70,000 followers.

He also shares footage of his interactions with snakes and videos about herpetology to his YouTube channel which now has 166,000 subscribers.

As well as Snakes of Hua Hin, David runs similar groups covering other areas of Thailand, including Isaan, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phuket.

For people who just have a passing interest in snakes or for those who want to find out more, look up “Snakes of Hua Hin” on Facebook.

Numbers you can call for snake removal

Hua Hin and surrounds:
David (English & German): 093-174-0602
Rupert: 092-296-1301
Harry: 080-784-9201

Northern Hua Hin & Cha Am:
Jessada (Thai & English, 4AM-4PM): 095-336-8470

Alternative government numbers you can call if none of the above are available:
199 (Thai language)
032-514-514 (Thai language)
1155 (English language)

Vets that carry antivenin:
Kasetsart 032-909-234 (closes at 7:30 pm)
Tan Diau 085-663-1996 (closes at 9 pm but is on call 24/7 for emergencies)
Bonkai 093-969-3946 (closes 9 pm and closed on Thursdays)
A 24-hour veterinary hospital in Cha Am 090-289-4600

David Frohlich, founder of the Snakes of Hua Hin Facebook group talks to Jonathan Fairfield from Hua Hin Today. Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs
Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs
Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs
Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs
Image: Foto’s by Patrick Jacobs