Thailand Adventures: Ko Samui Snakes

Ko Samui Snakes: Cobra

One of the coolest things about living in a foreign
country is that you experience things that you’d never
get to in your own country. There are simple
everyday things… and then there are “other” things.

My g/f and I were blowing around Samui on our Mio
– we like to check out every road and place we can
access the beach. I like the exploration feeling.

I also like wildlife. Now, there are bugs that bite me
wildlife – and that all DIES.

And, there is wildlife that is fascinating and that I
can avoid if I take some precautions. Enter Koh
Samui snake farm.

I’ve always been fascinated by snakes. I used to
catch them in my grandma’s back yard. When I was
11 my friend brought a snake that he caught to my
mom’s house. It was a baby, but feisty. It bit him as
he let it out in the yard and we had to chase it to
catch him. He had little pinpricks of blood, but it was
a very quick bite.

My friend’s hand swelled up to the size of my knee
cap and turned black. Little did we know, he had
caught a little copperhead – a poisonous snake. He
went to the hospital and was OK. But, on that day I
learned a little about poisonous snakes.

Here are some photos of a bad snake bite… they get
bad QUICKLY. Extremely graphic photos.

Anyway, so I’m fascinated with wildlife especially
poisonous things and things that can really hurt or
kill me. Sometimes I go snake hunting… here are
some pics of snakes I’ve seen here on some
snake-hunting trips. These are not my photos,
but I’ve seen some of these in the wild!

Snakes and other Poisonous animals in Thailand>

So I see this “Koh Samui Snake Show” sign. And I
think – ah, it’s like any other zoo I’ve been to. See
some snakes through the glass… they are doing
NOTHING… and I’m bored, but still a little
fascinated. I figure, what the heck – see what time
the show starts.

It starts anytime I want because there wasn’t
anyone there – and the woman – “Scorpion Lady”
(who is in the Guiness book of world records) told
me that if I pay 200 baht I can see the snakes. I
told her – oh, I don’t want to just look at them
through the cages – I want to see them up close –
out of the cages… and take pictures. She said, OH,
YES, CAN, CAN… and this guy came out of the
back and said he would take the cobras out to play.

Hmmm… OK. Still I was skeptical and told my
g/f to stay outside so we didn’t pay 400 baht for
nothing at all. Well the guy took me in – and
reached into this tank with 2 king cobras that were
each a couple meters long – and pulled one out.
That thing was BITING AND TRYING TO KILL
ME FROM THE TIME HE SAW ME through the
glass. In fact, he repeatedly struck with his open
mouth at the glass upon just SEEING me.

Well the guy pulled it out and told me – take
pictures, take pictures… so I snapped and
snapped, occasionally pulling the camera away
from my face to experience that rush of a cobra
lunging at my face – but just at a distance that
was too far to score.

At one point after 20 seconds of just watching
face to face this venemous monster – the guy told
me – TAKE PICTURES TAKE PICTURES!
Apparently my role was to keep the beast
occupied with moving around taking pictures so
it didn’t focus on him and turn around to bite him.
He WAS within reach if the thing only turned
around to see that.

So – that’s my Koh Samui Snake story. I paid for
my g/f to come in and we toured the outdoor zoo.
They had huge monitors, Malaysian Vipers, Kraits,
and lots of cobras. There was a dead cobra about
1.5 meters in one of the cages. They were leaving
it there because they said one of the bigger ones
would eat it soon. There were a couple in those
cages that were HUGE – I’m guessing 4 meters or
more. Unbelievable creatures.

So – come to Thailand to experience new things
– and stop to see things that you might be skeptical
about. Laws are different here. You CAN get close
to dangerous things. I gave the guy an extra 100
baht. So, we paid 500 baht total and I got an
experience that I won’t ever forget.

Oh, it’s worth mentioning… while this guy is giving
us the tour… I look at his arm and there is a
SERIOUS problem there on the top of his forearm.

I asked him what bit him. He said it was a large
centipede that got him during the show.
I looked at his arm closely, and he was shy about
it – he didn’t want to talk about it much. But you
know what? I saw at least 5 bites – five sets of
pincers from the centipede that got him all on the
arm in that same area.

Now, I’m big on probability.

I apply it to EVERYTHING. I was thinking about
how that could POSSIBLY happen with a rational
human being… Get bit once, yes. Twice, OK. 5
times on same arm in SAME SPOT by SAME
animal???

No. His arm was grossly swollen up and discolored
– red and blackish skin under the swelling. There
was some fresh swelling, but it appeared that
maybe this was the natural state of his arm.

Why would that be? I’m guessing that he LET the
centipede bite him during the show… WHY would
he do that? He is not making much money – and
can you imagine the sympathy felt by folks in
the audience when they see this 25 centimeter
thick as your ring-finger poisonous reddish
orange centipede hanging off his arm, writhing
like a snake but it’s pincers LOCKED ON…?

I could… and sadly I’m guessing with a
probability of 98% that this is the only
explanation that makes sense.

This photo is not taken at the right angle. As I said
he was a little shy about the whole issue and this is
the only angle I could get. The swelling was more
exaggerated that what the picture shows…

:(

Thailand Snakes FAQ >

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.