In my almost 15 years living in Thailand, I have honestly not seen that many snakes. Living as I do in the middle of built up and very busy Bangkok.
That being said, I have come across a Thai python on two separation occasions — in the middle of the day calmly undulating its way across the soi in front of me.
And yes, I gave both of them a very wide berth as, let me tell you, these snakes grow to very large sizes.
So big are some Thai pythons, or reticulated pythons as many of the species are known as in Thailand and other areas of Southeast Asia, they can swallow small animals whole.
Some reports around Southeast Asia confirm they have even swallowed people.
How big can a Thai phython get? And are they venomous snakes?
Put it this way — they are the world’s longest snakes as they can grow to up to 10 meters (32 feet), are also one of the three heaviest and, while not venomous, they are still very dangerous.
In fact, pythons are one of the few snakes that actually do prey on and subsequently attack humans. The bite of a Thai python can also be severe and, in many cases, can require stitches.
This python even swam up the plumbing, wrapped its jaw around the penis of a poor guy squatting on a squat toilet and tried to pull him back into the sewage system. The man had to call his wife to help him get the snake off his penis before he finally fainted from the pain.
Pythons have even been known to swallow humans whole, with the last two reported incidences being a 25-year-old farmer in Indonesia and a 54-year-old woman, also in Indonesia. The latter as recently as a couple of months ago.
And yes, video was posted online to prove these snake killings were true, after both snakes were killed and cut open and the body of the person missing was found inside.
Thai pythons do not kill with venom, however. Instead, they kill by constricting the victim until he/she or it dies, and then swallowing them whole. The victim will then be digested by stomach acids over the next few days.
To show just how easily a Thai python can kill and swallow its victim, Khaosod English published a story and a video a couple of months ago showing a python that had swallowed two cats.
The python was found in a cage in northern Bangkok that was being used to house two pets cats — a father and his kitten that the family that owned them had had for a couple of months. During the night, the snake just slithered into the cage, attacked both cats and then ate them whole.
Of course, two cats being a bit too much food even for this 3-meter python, a few hours later it vomited them right back up. All of it captured on video.
As you will see from the video, both cats are dead, still whole and very very slimy.
Note too how wide the python seems when it still has the cats inside it, and then how thin it becomes once it has vomited them back out.
After the vomiting was over, the snake was grabbed and put into a sack. The rescue worker that had been called to deal with it said it would be released in Khao Yai National Park.
And no, don’t ask why the cats were kept in a tiny cage at the back of the family’s property. Many Thais do not treat animals very well, so this way of ‘taking care’ of a pet is quite common.