Snakes have always fascinated children. So when I came to Bangkok I really wanted to go to the Snake Farm. My father's student was working at the U.N Bangkok. So, she kindly arranged for a whole day taxi for us to go around the city. Since my mother was busy at the American School conference in Shangri-la Hotel, my father and I decided to go to the Snake Farm. It was a hot and muggy afternoon in Bangkok. Remember this was late March and the sun was extremely hot on the land. On our way to the Snake Farm the taxi driver told us that there would be a snake show at about 2:45. So if we wanted we could stay and watch the show. He would wait for us in the taxi.
It was late afternoon and the snakes were resting or hiding in the outdoor serpentarium. We went inside in the indoor serpentarium and saw live king cobras, Russell Vipers, banded kraits, monocled cobras, pythons and many other varieties of snakes. We also saw a dead fat sea snake preserved in a big glass jar. We thought to ourselves that perhaps we would see the two floors of the Snake Farm and return to our waiting taxi. Just then we saw a live king cobra moving inside the air-conditioned glass cage. Even inside the cage he looked a little scary. His eyes were watching us and shining like glass marbles. It was a little dark in the hall and it made the atmosphere a little scarier. Then we came out the first floor hall and started to make our way to the second floor. And there lo and behold we saw the skeleton of the king cobra framed in front of us. We could not believe our eyes. It was so long and humungous. Its two fangs were still there jutting out from his big open mouth. From these two fangs he would have poured venom when alive.
It seemed as if the skeleton of the king cobra was telling me the story of his life. I again felt that it would have been a huge snake when alive. Suddenly I felt it was speaking to me in whispers.
The Skelton King Cobra’s Story
The skeleton of the king cobra spoke slowly and said:
“I am really very strong and I am not frightened of anyone in the forest. My venom is too much and too powerful. I can stop any animal with a single bite. But what can I do if there are no snakes to catch. How can I live? Well, once I became hungry and couldn’t find any snakes in the forest. I felt hungry for a long time and then began to feel tired. I thought to myself that I was growing old and that I was now sleeping. But actually I was dead. So some people from the Snake Farm came to the forest hunting for specimen. So they found me there. They cleaned me up, removed my flesh and make my bones look nice and white. Then they brought me here for others to see. I still feel hungry but then realize that I am not living. But when I am born again I will always protect you. You are my friend.”
I was so surprised hearing him whisper that my eyes popped out of my head. I had never seen a reptile speak before. OMG! Can you imagine a snake from a forest whispering before? It was a little scary to hear a snake to talk. I wish I had said something to the king cobra but I was at a loss for words.
The Snake Demo
The skeleton king cobra’s words continued to whisper in my ears as we came down the staircase into the open courtyard. It was already 2:10 and the stairs in the courtyard was slowly filling up with people for a snake demo. People were already taking out their cameras to take a picture. We also thought it would be fun to watch the demo. But first we wanted to complete seeing the first floor again. So we checked the cages again. First there was a huge sea snake, then a viper snake and then a rattle snake. There was another snake after them but the author cannot remember the full name of the fourth snake. The fifth snake was most probably called a green snake. The author has forgotten the names of the seventh and eighth snakes. But both looked alike and could have been rat snakes which often eat mice.
The Brother of the Skeleton King Cobra
It was now 2:30 and time for the show to start. We took out our cameras and found a nice spot on the staircase to watch the demo. The first snake was the king cobra. Why was it called the king cobra? The reason was that it only ate other snakes and no other creatures. I felt that I had seen the snake before. It really looked like the skeleton king cobra. Again I heard a whisper but this time the whisper was different. The king cobra was speaking to me. It said,
“You met my brother, the skeleton king cobra inside! Didn’t you?”
Well, yes,” I said hesitatingly.
“He told me you are his friend.”
“Yes I am. Are you his brother?
“Yes, I am. We lived in the same jungle. Once he could not find food for many months. So he died. I managed to find juicy snakes. So I survived. Life is hard for even us king cobras. We eat once in 15 days, if we can find food. Here at the Snake Farm I don’t have to worry as I get food regularly. But I miss the forest, its sounds and the wind. But it is a good trade off.”
I was so surprised to know that the demo king cobra was the brother of the skeleton king cobra. Also I realized that the skeleton king cobra sent a message by whispers to the demo king cobra to take care of me. How wonderful! The demo continued. The second snake was a banded krait and it was most dangerous and poisonous. When the snake handler touched the banded krait’s head it jumped towards the face of the handler. Anyway the third one was a non poisonous snake but it had a bad temper. It was trying to snap at people’s hands by opening its mouth. It didn’t do any harm except scare people a bit.
But my thoughts were for the two brothers—the king cobras. I wondered how they could talk in whispers to anyone including me! The taxi driver had also come to watch the demo and he was smiling at me. He encouraged me to put the friendly python around my neck. But I hesitated and then we were back in the taxi heading to the Shangri-la Hotel. But along the way I heard two whispers saying goodbye to me.
“Come again,” the brothers said.
“I sure will,” I said.
People looked at me wondering who I was talking to.
If you are a seven year boy like me, then you would also like to go to the Snake Farm in Bangkok once, and meet the king cobra brothers. If you do, say hello to them from my side.
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