Are you afraid of snakes or worried about how you should behave if you ever come across one, especially in the jungle here in Khao Sok?
Snakes are known to have a bad reputation, with people disliking and being terrified of them.
Unfortunately, misinformation exists everywhere to the disadvantage of these actually wonderful, mystifying creatures.
In September, John Howes from Wild Asia in Malaysia gave a two-day snake training for all staff and tour guides of Our Jungle Camp, to inform about the different snakes around Thailand and to help maintain safety guidelines at our resort.
During the training, John first gave information on the snakes around Thailand, specifically the ones that reside in our area, in Khao Sok. He continued by giving biological facts about snakes, separating between the different ways they spread and use their venom to kill their prey or protect themselves from any danger.
We learned that most snakes are in fact not venomous, and therefore pose no real threat to humans. About 600 species are venomous, and only about 200 — seven percent — are able to kill or significantly wound a human. The snakes that are venomous only attack when it is absolutely necessary, as producing venom takes up a huge amount of energy. Therefore, there are signals to watch out for and warnings that venomous snakes give off before actually using venom to attack humans. With that being said, if you ever come across a venomous snake, all you have to do is slowly take a few steps back and it will leave you alone. Good news, right?!
After his lecture on snakes and general facts was over, John showed the staff correct methods of approaching snakes and carefully capturing them from human habitats and to safely release them back into the wild.
He proceeded to show our staff how to catch a live snake. With a long steel rod, the snakes face is at a safe distance from the human body, which makes it possible to safely capture a snake without being harmed in the process. Then, by placing it in a large cloth bag with a wide steel opening, and wrapping it closed, the snake can’t slither out.
Our staff then had the chance to train with John, and to practice catching the live snake, and safely capturing it to later on be released back into the wild, at a further distance of the resort.
The two snake training days proved themselves successful, as our staff left with more knowledge on snakes and how to manage them in a way that will not harm them.
With many false beliefs about snakes around, many people are prone to kill snakes when encountering one, thinking this is the safest way to be protected and to prevent the snake from returning. This is very understandable, as snakes come across as dangerous animals, making hissing sounds and hoods in ready to attack poses, so it is only natural for our human instinct to go into survival and attack mode. However, John explained implications and the impact of killing even just one single snake on its ecosystem.
Snakes are a key component in the balance of nature, and their presence or removal from an area directly impacts the health of its ecosystem. They feed on rodents, such as mice, rats and other animals that eat farm products and destroy crops. They also eat insects that are harmful to crops.
So spotting a snake here or there, especially in the jungle (and especially at Our Jungle Camp, where we have our own organic farm and grow crops), isn’t as bad as you would think! In fact, quite the opposite. They act as a natural form of pest control which is very helpful to us humans.
Without snakes, the numbers of prey species would increase to unnatural levels (imagine what would happen then?..)
And now, with the information that snakes aren’t as dangerous to humans as most people believe, (in fact the opposite), we hope that you can become more appreciative of these wonderful animals and aren’t as terrified of encountering one as you may have been before reading this post!
After the two-days of snake training, our staff was able to learn a lot. We can firmly state that our guides and staff are well-trained to handle and to remove snakes from human habitats. Thank you John Howes for teaching and showing us the lesser known, fascinating side to snakes!