Friday, October 19, 2012

Just another day in Thailand

An American friend of mine who's currently living in Thailand sent me the following email and photos.....

Hey guys,

I usually let our cats out early in the morning, come back in and brew a pot of coffee then go back out to check on them. This morning I walked out with my mug in hand and looked up and down our soi (Thai for street) since the cats weren't hanging around the townhouse. I spotted one of them at the end of the soi and started walking towards him. I noticed something had his undivided attention as he was sitting on the ground intently peering up in front of the townhouse on the end of the soi. As I brought my gaze up I saw this python coiled around the townhouse banister going up the wall surrounding our subdivision and trying to get back into the jungle on the other side of the wall.

What struck me immediately were the obvious bulges in his mid-section. I freaked for a moment and instantly imagined one of our cats in his gut. Fortunately, all of our cats were all accounted for. There's a community park kitty corner from our townhouse and one of the residents keeps a rooster and a hen in the corner of the park under some bamboo trees. Traditional Thai style is a woven "basket" turned upside down as a pen for the birds. The rooster greets the dawn every morning but I didn't notice that I hadn't heard his cock-a-doodle-doo this morning.

This is a reticulated python, the longest snake and reptile in the world. This one looks to be about 10 feet long, probably about 30~35 lbs., and they can grow to well over 20 feet. So I guess we're dealing with a little guy. You can see the two bulges in his stomach, one for each chicken. The chickens together weigh about 10 lbs. and pythons can consume up to their entire body weight in one sitting. The next set of photos will show him regurgitating the chickens. Unfortunately, I thought it would take some time for him to cough them up and decided to quickly take a shower. By the time I came back both chickens were already laying dead in the soi and animal control had arrived on the scene.

When I first saw him he was trying to slither back into the jungle but couldn't fit his bloated mid-section through the wrought iron at the top of the wall. His head was through to the other side so it was safe to grab his tail and hold it. When he realized he wasn't going to fit through he backed out but kept a grip on the wrought iron with has tail.

By this time half the neighborhood had gathered around as snakes are a huge to-do in Thailand. Thais hate snakes but don't kill them when they run across them. One of the folks came with a home made slip noose on a long pole (he had obviously used it before) and managed to collar him without too much effort. Still holding his grip to the wrought iron we tried prying him loose so he would drop to the ground and that took some effort. These snakes are unbelievably strong as I myself tried and couldn't begin to budge him. They can kill and have killed humans. They're constrictors and will squeeze you to death, probably crushing your bones as well. I have pictures of a larger specimen, over 20 feet, that devoured an adult male. An awesome snake to see and feel in the wild, even though this is an urban area. Not uncommon for pythons to habitat metropolitan Bangkok.

While this is my first encounter with a python I've crossed paths with a number of pit vipers, most of which are highly poisonous. They're bright green, thin and about 30~40 inches long. In lush vegetation they're extremely difficult to see or even to follow their movements once you do spot them.


And now, the photos.....

(WARNING: photos might be too graphic to some people, proceed at your own risk.)


The Dead Cockroach said...

Dangerous, yet beautiful creature.

Andre said...

dangerous, yes.
beautiful, i don't know about that. not to me anyway.

Thai Pete said...

When you're face to face with a python you'll appreciate it's beauty. I was able to safely stroke it's tail. The thought of actually having physical contact in a natural state with a creature possessing such power is awesome.