Human Interest

How to catch a snake: Bangkok residents learn to evict serpent visitors

Bangkok, Feb 16 (EFE).- A snake farm in Bangkok is offering training courses on how to safely capture the serpents, amid increasing encounters with human residents of the Thai capital.

During a two-day seminar that ended Thursday, around 20 students learned to use hooks, traps and their bare hands to catch and handle snakes as well as learning about first aid protocols following snake bites at the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, a research center that also houses the snake farm.

“There are constant enquiries about when snakes come into the house or when people encounter them, and if they didn’t want to kill the snake, and they wanted to catch it properly, what should they do?” a programme officer told EPA-EFE.

“People also want to know how to handle them correctly, and to know which snakes are venomous. They even ask about first aid methods, which was the original idea behind this programme,” the officer added.

As well as learning how to handle snakes, including venomous ones like cobras, participants who complete the course, which costs 2,000 baht (around $58), are awarded a certificate as qualified snake handlers.

Some 60,000 serpents are caught in the Thai capital every year, according to the fire service.

Snake sightings in the city increase during the heavy monsoon rains between June and October with many reptiles emerging from flooded drains seeking shelter in drier and warmer spots such as shops, offices, garages, kitchens, bathrooms and even bedrooms, both in rural and urban areas.

Thailand is home to around 230 snake species, of which about 30 are venomous, including the king cobra, the Malayan krait and Russell’s viper.

According to the capital’s emergency 24-hour hotline, operators receive an average of one call every 15 minutes, which is a total of 200 calls a day in Bangkok alone.

The hotline, which is managed by Bangkok’s fire service, says up to 10 % of reported sightings are of venomous snakes. Around 70% of snakes caught by firefighters are pythons, which can measure up to 6 meters long. EFE


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