Khun Densak goes cobra hunting
During the mushroom excursion last Saturday we discussed snakes. A neighbour reported that Thai mushroom pickers had found eggs of python. I remarked I had not seen any cobra since April 201o, and since I only see cobras about once a year, it should be time now. Yesterday it was. I simply walked out of the shop to go to the bathroom and there was a small Indochinese spitting cobra (Naja siamensis) on the lawn. The body was slightly swollen and I think it had eaten a toad I had seen on that spot an hour earlier. I simply shouted ‘ngo – antalay’ (snake, danger) and hoped somebody would hear. Khun Densak, our head gardener, showed up and like last time in 2010, only dressed in a towel. Last time I had tried to make the cobra move away using a butterfly net. This time I let the Thais do their job without my interference. Khun Densak stunned it with a blow to the head using a bamboo stick. Then he simply killed it with a sharp garden tool.
I asked Khun Densak if there was anything he wanted to say when I wrote the blog, and his advice was “Never kill a spitting cobra with a knife” (rather a large machete). “They can spit venom into your eyes and so you need to stun it quickly using a long pole, and then you have the time to kill it”. I asked Khun Densak if he would eat it, but he said that during the rainy season they do not taste well. I am not sure if he yielded to his daughter who hates snakes, or if that was the truth. Anyhow, I have had my annual encounter and so Dokmai Garden should be safe now. The greatest density of cobras and kraits is in the rice field areas, since they like to eat amphibians. We are a bit uphill and so cobras are rare and we have never seen krait at Dokmai Garden.
The cobra was a bit sluggish due to a full stomach.
This is the capital blow.
The cobra is no longer a threat.
Thai women do not like visiting cobras.
Text and photo: Eric Danell