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Pythons and cobras

Snakes

By and large, the two most common types of snakes you’re likely to encounter that are of concern are the pythons and cobras. There are two species of pythons in Singapore, and similarly, two species of cobras to be found in this country.

Pythons

Pythons are commonly found in jungles near water, and are often found coiled up in the trees. Occasionally they may invade moderately populated or even densely built-up areas. Large pythons are dangerous because of their constrictive power and vicious bite. Striking pythons will bite and pull back, causing deep gashes and severe bleeding for the victim. Two or more persons are needed to overpower a large python. These snakes have well-developed eyesight and are most active during dusk. Pythons kill their prey by constriction.

The reticulated python is known to be the longest of all snakes, attaining a length of between 10 – 15 m. Its usual prey consists of warm-blooded animals such as chickens, rats, pigs and goats. Small pythons can be easily caught, but adults are dangerous as their powerful coils may be too much for a single person to handle. Moreover, their bites can cause severe injury.

Blood Python is also called the Short Python because of its short and stout body. Its head is small, and the upper lip of its mouth has two heat-sensory pits instead of four on each side as with the Reticulated Python. These heat-sensory organs help the snake to locate the presence of warm-blooded prey.

Cobras

There are two types found in Singapore – the Black Spitting Cobra and the King Cobra. The Black Spitting Cobras are most active at night when they hunt for amphibians and rodents. A well-lit garden deters these snakes from entering. Great care should be taken when confronted by a Black Spitting Cobra for a well-aimed “spit” in the eyes can be very painful.

The King Cobra is deadly because of its size and large quantity of venom that it secretes. Do not disturb a pile of vegetable debris in the field as it could be the nest of the King Cobra - a brooding female is very aggressive when guarding her eggs.

The reticulated python is known to be the longest of all snakes, attaining a length of between 10 – 15 m. Its usual prey consists of warm-blooded animals such as chickens, rats, pigs and goats. Small pythons can be easily caught, but adults are dangerous as their powerful coils may be too much for a single person to handle. Moreover, their bites can cause severe injury. All cobras should be left alone when encountered.

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