Sunday, June 07, 2009

Usually our tiny, obscure village is pretty quiet and nondescript.

Villagers lounge about, wash clothes by hand, visit neighbors, swim at the local river bridge, listen to their caged red whiskered Bulbuls, play takraw, dote after their babies, or snack on locally prepared morsels sold roadside.

Occasionally however, we get some real form of excitement around here that brings people out of the woodwork.

Very recently, that was the case when Mam was driving by on her motorcycle and saw a small crowd of villagers standing about, hunched over something near the road. She stopped to investigate and was horrified (she doesn’t like snakes) to see the largest snake she’d ever witnessed in the flesh.

She came zipping home shouting, “Where’s the camera?” Adding, “You have to come see this!” We grabbed the camera and headed down the road to Teem’s house, the woman who’s father died last summer.

“My son found it.” Teem said, pointing to a wet area near their outhouse where her son had discovered the snake, which appeared to be after their chickens. Within minutes, the area was crawling with villagers, many of them suddenly becoming ‘snake experts,’ giving advice on what to do and how to handle this monstrosity.

I watched the scene unfold as one brave soul approached the snake, which I identified as most likely a reticulated python (Although I’m certainly not an authority on snakes but can Google at blinding speed) and lassoed the snake with a blue electrical wire. My guess was the snake would have stretched out to be at least 15 feet (4.5 meters) long, most likely a conservative estimate.

The villagers drug the snake out to the empty lot across from Teem’s house, an area where ironically, several snakes including large poisonous cobras, had been found in the past.

After the snake was bound by the cord, somebody in the small mob suggested they kill it and eat it, which is precisely what they did, although I didn’t stick around for the gruesome details. They all seemed very upbeat, and Mam said they were proud that they had successfully captured it and had stated, “That’s the end of the killer snake!”

At least until I opened my big mouth and exclaimed, “Where there’s one snake, there’s more!” Seemingly bursting their happy little bubble.

I had to admit that although I’d seen snakes this large and larger before, I’d never seen one in the wild and was a bit unnerved by the fact a fifteen foot python was roaming around in our village. This snake could easily kill a small child, so I suppose that fact alone could justify the killing, although I wish they would have given it to the authorities, as perhaps a beautiful snake like this could have found a place at the Bangkok Snake Farm, or in a zoo somewhere in the country.



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