PETALING JAYA, Aug 29 — Emergency hotline operators in Bangkok, Thailand say they receive a call for help with snakes every 15 minutes.
This amounted to some 60,000 snake removals every year.
Bangkok’s 199 hotline centre said on Saturday (August 27) that it received 200 calls a day from residents requesting help with pests such as water monitors and wasps.
Emergency call operators told The Bangkok Post that snakes make up half of these calls.
The hotline centre added that its rescuers successfully captured snakes over 90 per cent of the time, and the reptiles were handed over to Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to be released into "appropriate natural settings”.
These figures were released after pictures of a boa constrictor hanging from a tree in the district of Din Daeng went viral on social media.
In 2019, NPR reported that Bangkok's Fire and Rescue Department responded to over 29,000 snake incursion calls from homes and businesses that year alone.
Some have blamed the increase in human-snake encounters on urban encroachment into wildlife habitats.
For instance, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest international airports, is built on a land previously known as “Cobra Swamp”.
While there are no official statistics of Bangkok’s snake population, veterinarian and Zoological Park Organisation advisor Alongkorn Mahanop estimated that there were close to a thousand snakes in each of the city's districts.
“The high population of snakes in Bangkok is due to its citizens not consuming snakes, meaning the reptiles have no direct predators in the city while having an abundance of prey such as dogs, cats and chickens,” he told The Bangkok Post.