Living snakes are found on every continent and throughout the world except Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland and New Zealand. Most snakes are found in tropical regions which includes South East Asia and this includes Thailand!
Snakes are found in many habitats including in the water, forests, deserts and prairies. Most species are nonvenomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defence.
Snakes are really one of the least harmful things you could ever come across (much safer than a soi dog?) for several reasons ………….
1. They have no legs or arms. They are basically a long tail. They cannot move fast on the ground, that is fast in comparison to humans. We can easily outrun any snake that exists.
2. There are about 8 deaths per year due to venomous snake bite in Thailand. Probably every one of them are plantation workers that get bitten, apply some “magical salve” made of ground leaves and roots, and then, when they realise their foot or hand is gangrenous – go to the hospital too late. Occasionally a snake handler is bitten and dies – they tease the snakes mercilessly, day after day, and eventually a snake gets in a lucky bite.
4. You have to really annoy snakes before most of them will bite… or, be too close. So, don’t get close and don’t aggravate them.
Snakes do NOT want to see humans and will get away at every opportunity.
However fear of snakes is one of the most common human phobias or extreme irrational fears.
Humans are susceptible to a lot of myths about snakes. Lots of us grew up thinking they’re slimy, dangerous, all poisonous, scary … some psychology experts even claim fear of snakes is inborn.
So I guess that’s why we are asked so many snake questions; here are the expert’s answers!
Are there snakes around Hua Hin and Cha-Am?
There are plenty of snakes around; just like the rest of the continent. You may get them in your garden and they will also venture into town occasionally. However, if you treat your encounter with one correctly, you will have virtually no chance of being bitten.
Are there snake repellants?
There are snake repellent” products available on the market that claim to discourage snakes from entering your premises. Don’t be misled, nor waste your money. These products do not work and are no products available that will prevent snakes from entering your property.
How are snakes most likely to be attracted to my home?
These are the areas of your home that are most likely to attract snakes:
* Compost heaps. If you’re a keen gardener then you will more likely than not have a compost heap somewhere on the property. These are ideal places for snakes to lay their eggs. They provide both warmth and humidity ideal for incubation. These also provide a regular food supply in the form of rats and mice.
*Wood piles are also a favourite haunt of snakes. Once again they provide ideal shelter and food supply.
*Building rubble, garden refuse, and junk heaps also provide snakes and their prey with refuge.
*Derelict outhouses are ideal breeding sites for rodents and therefore ideal for predators such as snakes.
* Day to day household refuse also provides ideal breeding and feeding grounds for rodents and therefore their predators.
* Unkempt gardens and overgrown yards.
* Aviaries and bird cages.
* Ponds and artificial wetlands.
By eliminating all of the above you will discourage, but not stop snakes from entering your property.
What should I do if I encounter a snake?
The clear objective is to move away; withdraw slowly and quietly! Also keep any pets away and don’t try to attack or use any sort of ‘weapon’. Make room for it to escape, don’t corner the snake.
Call for assistance if you have reason to believe the snake has remained nearby to homes.
Snakes cannot hear, so if you are in an area where there might be snakes, say on a golf course, it’s wise to carry a golf club or length of wood with you to beat the ground, especially if you’re venturing into long grass. A snake’s sense of feel is highly developed and the vibrations the “beating” causes will make most snakes scurry off before you even see them.
Should I kill all the snakes I see around my house?
No!, because ………………………………..
1. The snake may bite you first.
2. Many species are endangered and protected.
3. There are Thai snake guys in town that can take the snake away for you without killing it. Reach them by having a Thai person call the police and asking them to send the snake guys to your location.
What should I do if bitten by a snake?
1. Remember as much about the snake as you can and get to the hospital immediately. Snakes are very hard to identify. This may include the length, thickness and colour and patterns of colour of the head and body.
2. Don’t waste time sitting around before going to the hospital. Find someone to help you get to the hospital immediately – don’t wait for symptoms and don’t drive yourself.
3. While you are waiting :
• Clean the wound with water. Be gentle, don’t scrub harshly.
• Immediately apply a pressure bandage or wrap a piece of cloth around the bite as well as above and below the bite. Elastic wraps that you use for ankle sprains work well. Wrap it snugly, but you should still be able to put a finger under the bandage.
• Use a tourniquet
• Use ice over the wound
• Drink alcohol, food, or use aspirin – Paracetamol is OK for pain, better if you take nothing before going to the hospital.
• Use herbal remedies
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand (662) 252-0161-4