Bangkok firefighters on front line of city’s snake scourge

The distress call to the fire station wasn’t about a burning building. Instead, the caller needed urgent help with a far more common problem facing Thailand’s capital: snakes.

Firefighter Phinyo Pukphinyo needed less than a minute to remove the 2-meter (10-foot) python dangling from the caller’s garage roof. He says his fire station gets more calls about snakes than fires and he can now identify most types.

Phinyo says, “We have no choice but to learn how to handle them.”

Bangkok is seeing more snakes in its urban homes in part because of the pains of development. The city sits on a flood plain with tropical wetlands around it and development means there’s less natural habitat for snakes and fewer of their natural predators to reduce their numbers.