Nov 05 2011

Animals and the Bangkok floods

Published by at 9:07 pm under Floods

For the past few weeks, floodwater has been rushing towards Thailand’s capital (and today it continues to do so). Tales — and rumours — have spread of what this means for animals, such as the poisonous green mamba snakes rumoured to be swimming around and fully-grown snappy crocodiles on the loose wanted back alive by their owners.

Ideal green mamba habitat, except for you know, the cars.

Ideal green mamba habitat, except for you know, the cars.

Rumours started circulating on the intertubes Wednesday of the green mambas slithering around in the floods — with people wondering how on earth they could be true. After all, we are in Thailand, they are from a far-away continent, and most airlines don’t allow snakes on a plane (caution: link contains very explicit language and possibly very, very disturbing imagery).

But officials declared that 15 green mamba snakes, two big guys and 13 “babies”, ranging from one to two metres in length, did possibly flee from a flooded building in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi. Ever since, pictures of these bright killers been all over the news, and even on the screens in the BTS.

Victims of a green mamba snake bite have about 20 minutes to seek treatment before the poison seeps into their nervous system, leading to death. The Ministry of Public Health has FedExed a few bottles of serum from South America in case of attack, which arrived yesterday. Given the congested traffic and flooded roads, however, the time frame required to get to the hospital could be the part that’s tricky — or deadly. While no snake bites have been reported, Chisanu Tiyacharoensri, vice president of the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand, reportedly urged people to avoid the snakes (sound advice) and to clean the wound with soap and water before seeking aid (Ed: yes, in 10 seconds flat).

The snakes are known to hang out in trees and shrubbery, so do stay away from your guesthouse’s potted plants for a while. Luckily, these mambas are known to practise reptile etiquette and will not attack unless provoked. Nonthaburi Governor Wichian Phutthiwinyu is on it: on Friday he put together a special green mamba hunting team. If you notice something long, green,and slithering, consider calling 1131, 1363, or contacting the Zoo and Wildlife Veterinary Society.

Relax, not caught during the current flood.

Relax, not caught during the current flood.

It’s beginning to feel like a zoo in Bangkok. As reported in the Wall Street Journal last week, more than 100 crocodiles raised on farms for their skin to be used in shoes and handbags have escaped into Bangkok and its northern provinces. Crocodile catchers have used electric shocks and bullets to catch the reptiles and bounties of up to 5,000 baht are being offered by some government officials.

Meanwhile the wildlife park of Safari World in Klong Sam Na, northern Bangkok, was submerged earlier in the week, causing the animals to become panicky and try to flee. Safari World decided to not evacuate the animals — we’re talking tigers, zebras and buffalo — but rather to move them to drier patches within the grounds. The beluga whales and dolphins are underwater and doing fine.

Along with heaps of festering garbage and faecal matter, dead fish have floated to the surface in flooded areas, adding to the concern of toxins and diseases in the water. But the fears do not end there; one can only imagine the numbers of rodents and cockroaches on the way once the water subsides.

It's getting harder for animals to find patches of dry, too.

It's getting harder for animals to find patches of dry, too.

As for our furry friends, many efforts have been made to assist abandoned dogs. See our post on helping out and if you see a dog or cat in need, call the following hotlines may help: 087 186 8804 , 085 161 3988, 087 577 6807 (courtesy of @annnation_nt oon Twitter).

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