Saved by a story
But behind these calls are significant cultural beliefs and folklore traditions which prevent pythons from becoming the villagers’ next meal!
Folklore in Cambodia reveres snakes. In fact, the origin story of Cambodia is intricately linked with snakes, or “naga.” Legend has it that the land of Cambodia was revealed by Sdech Neak, the king of the naga world. Upon seeing his daughter, Neang Neak fall in love with the Indian prince Preah Thong, the king absorbed the water from the surrounding ocean, to reveal the land of Cambodia. There, the happy couple began to build the kingdom of Cambodia. To this day, Cambodians say that they are “Born of the Naga” and snakes, particularly pythons, continue to be revered. Other snake species are looked upon as food but this folklore protects pythons from persecution.
Elsewhere in their range, however, Burmese pythons are not so lucky. Giant python species, including reticulated pythons are threatened for the leather market, where their distinctively patterned skins become anything from handbags to drum skins. They are also targeted for the pet trade. Elsewhere, especially in China, they are targeted for folk medicine and food, though thankfully not in Cambodia.
To support the work of our rangers in protecting the Cardamoms, an essential refuge for wildlife including Burmese pythons, please consider making a donation to the Rainforest & Wildlife Habitat Protection fund here.
If you are interested to know more about how the snake came to be in the villager’s house, and what they eat read on…
More about Burmese pythons
Are Burmese pythons a threat to humans?
Rarely do pythons present a threat to humans. A good thing too because their fatal technique would mean a slow death for anyone caught in its coils. Burmese pythons are constrictors, meaning they wrap their body around their prey and squeeze the life out of them!