Don’t look! Bangkok Slitherers Occupy Snake Catchers
Visitors to Bangkok’s park seeking relief from renewed coronavirus restrictions had a slippery surprise Thursday when a python as long as two of the ubiquitous motorcycles in the Thai capital was spotted in one of the green spaces the most popular in the city.
The reticulated python was just the last large snake to appear in the dense center of Bangkok, where urban sprawl eating away at natural habitats has been blamed for an increase in snake sightings in recent years.
This one was found in Benjasiri Park, which is flanked by towering hotels, apartment buildings and several upscale shopping malls now widely banned due to restrictions put in place this week to stem an increase in traffic. virus cases. The Borders have closed non-essential businesses and limited restaurants to take-out only, leaving the parks among the few public places still open.
As parents pushed strollers and joggers around a nearby running path, firefighters called to surround the snake trying to capture it with a ladder from the ground.
The python planned its escape by heading up a branch to a building on the edge of the park that houses the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
Other firefighters were waiting for him on the roof of the building. While one used a stick to grab the python by the neck, another tried to cut off the branch it was on. They soon coaxed him into a bag, tied the bag and took him away.
Firefighter Somchai Yoosabai said the snake was 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) long and weighed around 35 kilograms (77 pounds).
Bangkok firefighters typically receive thousands of calls to remove snakes each year. Yoosabai said his department alone has caught a snake or two a day during the current rainy season, mostly in neighborhoods or homes with pets.
As coronavirus cases increase, the risks also increase.
“If houses (…) have cases of COVID-19, we have to go and catch the snakes anyway,” he said. “Plus, wherever we go to catch a snake, the crowd is always there. We can’t avoid that.”
Thailand reported 9,186 new cases of the virus on Thursday, including a record 98 deaths.
Reticulated pythons are found throughout Southeast Asia and are some of the largest snakes in the world. They hunt by wrapping their bodies around their prey, usually small mammals and birds, believing they are known to occasionally attack humans.