11 July 2024

A team of snake hunters, from Thailand’s southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, is on its way to a village in Muang district of the neighboring province of Trang today, to help toxicology officials in the hunt for king cobras, after a man is reported to have died from the snake’s bite.

Villagers in Ban Kok Kor in Ban Pho sub-district have been living in fear following the death of their 50-year-old neighbour, who is thought to have been bitten by a king cobra near a pool in an oil palm plantation.

They claimed that there are up to 20 king cobras hiding in the bushes in the village, adding that the snakes are seen slithering across the village road on daily basis, to the extent that the elderly and children have been warned not to leave their homes.

One unnamed villager said they could protect themselves against snake bites by clearing their land of weeds and bushes.

Nets were strung up on both sides of the road, to trap the highly venomous serpents, but none have been ensnared so far.

Mr. Chokchai Phraethanaruang, chief of the toxicological team from Trang province, said that his team is unsure that the snakes sighted by the villagers are king cobras, but he suspects that there may be two snake species in the village, king cobra and Malayan pit viper (calloselasma rhodostoma), both highly poisonous.

He offered advice to villagers in case they encounter a king cobra, saying “Stand still and slowly step backwards. If you cannot move your legs, just stand still until the snake lowers its head and crawls away.”