Bangkok snakes keep hunters busy despite virus wave

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BANGKOK – Bangkok park enthusiasts seeking relief from renewed coronavirus restrictions had a slippery surprise Thursday when a python as long as two of the ubiquitous motorcycles in the Thai capital was spotted in one of the spaces most popular greens in the city.

The reticulated python was just the last large snake to appear in the dense center of Bangkok, where urban sprawl eating away at natural habitats has been blamed for an increase in snake sightings in recent years.

This one was found in Benjasiri Park, which is flanked by towering hotels, apartment buildings and several high-end shopping malls now widely banned due to restrictions put in place this week to stem an increase in traffic. virus cases. The Borders have closed non-essential businesses and limited restaurants to take-out only, leaving the parks among the few public places still open.

As parents pushed strollers and joggers around a nearby running path, firefighters called to surround the snake trying to capture it with a ladder from the ground.

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The python planned its escape by heading up a branch to a building on the edge of the park that houses the World Fellowship of Buddhists.

Other firefighters were waiting for him on the roof of the building. While one used a stick to grab the python by the neck, another tried to cut off the branch it was on. They soon coaxed him into a bag, tied the bag and took him away.

Firefighter Somchai Yoosabai said the snake was 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) long and weighed around 35 kilograms (77 pounds).

Bangkok firefighters typically receive thousands of calls to remove snakes each year. Yoosabai said his department alone has caught a snake or two a day during the current rainy season, mostly in neighborhoods or homes with pets.

As coronavirus cases increase, so do the risks.

“If houses (…) have cases of COVID-19, we still have to go and catch the snakes,” he said. “Plus, wherever we go to catch a snake, the crowd is always there. We can’t avoid that.”

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Thailand reported 9,186 new cases of the virus on Thursday, including a record 98 deaths.

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Associated Press reporter Chalida Ekvittayavechnukul contributed reporting.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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