Locals trained to catch snakes as number of reptiles surge during cold weather in Thailand

Villagers are being trained to handle wild snakes as reptiles take refuge in houses during the cool winter weather in Thailand.

Professional snake catcher Panu Wilaijit, 29, helps provide the free training sessions in the Asorapit Wittaya School in Ang Thong province which started on January 3.

The training shows residents the basic handling skills of venomous and nonvenomous snakes.

Panu said the priority of the training is to teach safety – so no one is harmed and the reptile is able to return safely to the jungle.

He said: ‘It can be dangerous to handle a snake without knowledge so it is helpful to teach everyone, as snake encounters cannot be avoided especially during the cold season.

‘The cold weather will push the snakes to search for warm places to hide so they mostly enter nearby homes.’

The skilful snake wranglers taught the villagers what to do in case of a sighting and how they could catch it safely.

The team also showed the villagers how to tame a venomous cobra and catch it using their bare hands.

Panu said the most important thing was to remain calm and not to threaten the cobra.

‘Crouch down and never take your eyes off the snake. Do not show fear, stay calm and avoid sudden movements. The move slowly towards the cobra’s neck and grab it by the throat quickly with one confident movement.’

State meteorologist Phuwiang Prakhammin said that winter will be colder and longer than previous years. He expected the cool season to last for approximately 122 days until mid-February, with average lows of 20C to 21C nationwide throughout the entire season, however, temperatures are much lower in northern parts of Thailand.