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Thailand Firefighters Busy Responding To Snake Calls

6:31 AM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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Bangkok, Thailand  -  The Bangkok Fire Service in Thailand now gets almost as many calls to catch snakes as to fight fires, as snake problem in the city's neighborhoods is surging.

The snakes they've caught are mostly pythons, but deadly cobra can also be found in the haul.

Catching snakes has become a job for the fire brigade, which is now getting as many calls to remove snakes from houses, as they do to put out fires.

The fire service in Bangkok caught 1,500 snakes over the past five years, and by 2010 the figure had doubled to 3,000. Last year the number surged to 8,000, more than 20 a day.

"The fire service is so good, I'm very impressed. I called them and they came straight away, I didn't have to wait at all," said Sopa Sudjai, Bangkok resident.

In Bang Khen District of Bangkok, firefighters catch up to 40 snakes a week, most of which are non-venomous pythons able to strike at lightening speed.

"Snakes can be aggressive and people should stay as far away from them as possible. If people see one they should call us. If a snake feels threatened it will bite and hold on tight," said Pinyo Pookpinyo, fire officer and snake catcher.

Cobras are thankfully found in much smaller numbers in the district but they are much more dangerous. Their bite is highly venomous and in some cases can be fatal.

"I don't like snakes myself. If there's a snake in my house, I will call for help too. The snakes are protected by law, and the firemen are careful not to injure them," said Buncha Maleewat, chief of Bang Khen Fire Station.

Once a month the haul is taken far outside the city, and released back into the wild.

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