Covid-19 decimates family’s snake-catching job in Thailand


The Covid-19 pandemic has decimated a family’s once-lucrative snake-catching business in Thailand.

Husband Kwanmueng Aorathat, 37 and his wife Rattana Thongkaew, 38, used to earn 100,000 baht (2,250 GBP) a month selling the snakes that they caught to local and international customers in Saraburi province.

They had established buyers who would cook 10kg worth of the reptile’s meat everyday into exotic dishes as they inherited the business from their parents.

However, the pandemic lead to border closures last March which stopped international tourists and the government has repeatedly closed restaurants and bars.

Now the couple could only sell a few grams per day to neighbours who were willing to help them out but they would have to offer it half the regular price of 400 baht per kilo.

Kwanmueng said: ‘My father taught me how to catch snakes. Our family had been doing this job for 20 years. Now we are thinking of finding another source of income due to the pandemic.

‘We also have clients from other countries. They like to buy snake meat to cook and sell for a higher price so we used to make a substantial amount from the business.

‘Each day I could sell at least 7kg up to 10 kg for 400 baht per kilo or earn a monthly income of more than 100,000 baht but our orders were now almost zero when the pandemic started.’

His wife Rattana said their family lost so much revenue that they were now considering of learning a new trade to survive.

She said: ‘We have lost so much revenue because of Covid-19. I have to ask our neighbours to buy some from us but the price is lower because they are struggling too.’

Thailand has recorded 244,447 Covid-19 cases and 1,912 deaths as of June 27. Ministers hope a vaccine rollout that started this month will allow them to re-open the country to international tourists before the end of the year.