January 17, 2009
Thai villagers work to keep snakes warm
Residents of a village in Thailand have had an unusual problem recently -- unusual for them, anyway -- keeping their cobras warm.
Ban Khok Sanga in the northeastern part of the country is famous for its cobra shows, Thai News Agency reports. The village is home to about 300 king cobras -- the world's largest venomous snake -- and 20 snake charmers.
Thailand has been hit with unusually cold weather with temperatures dropping low enough to kill unprotected snakes. The cold also makes the cobras lethargic.
When the snakes are warm, they'll move fast and turn their bodies fast when fighting, said Bancha Laorad, a snake charmer.
If not, they'll be very slow and not elegant.
The villagers use scraps of cloth and hay to insulate the caskets in which they keep the snakes. They also make sure all the snakes get a daily dose of sunlight.
The UVA from the sunlight helps spur the snakes' activity. It also stimulates the immunity of the serpents. If the snakes don't have the appropriate temperature and sunlight in the morning, they tend to die easily, said Sompoch Weerakul, an assistant professor at the Khon Kaen University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.