Tragic Chatuchak Pet Market Fire Reveals Heartbreaking of Self-Biting Snakes

Nitipoomthanat Mingrujiralai Facebook page

BANGKOK – One hundred eighteen shops were burned on Tuesday at a pet-and-ornamental fish center in Chatuchak Park Fish Market on Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road, Chatuchak Subdistrict, Bangkok. The fire resulted in the deaths of hundreds of pets, including snakes.

Nitipoomthanat Mingrujiralai posted a message on his personal Facebook page on June 12. He mentioned that when the fire broke out in a store, many snakes suffered, and some had to bite themselves.

The snake in the image that perished after biting itself is also recognized as a Kingsnake. It is a member of the Mexican Black Kingsnake (MBK) species and is not venomous. This serpent has an entirely black appearance and is renowned for its non-hostile demeanor. It is famous as a domestic animal, with costs varying from thousands to tens of thousands of baht. Moreover, it should be noted that snakes generally do not thrive in high temperatures.

When the picture was published, it caused a lot of emotional distress on social media. Many wondered why snakes die when they bite themselves. Is it self-harm or not?


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Police officers inspect inside the pet market on June 12, 2024.

Mr. Nirut Chomngam, a respected reptile expert and the founder of the herpetology group, has addressed the issue, clarifying that the snake’s self-biting should not be interpreted as suicide.

He mentioned that snakes biting themselves can be caused by various factors such as stress, neurological symptoms, and a lack of self-control. This behavior may be triggered by an injury or feeling attacked or hurt, leading to a defensive reaction by biting themselves. Frequently, the bite may not be accurate, and they end up biting themselves unintentionally.

It is also mentioned that snakes are animals with a high level of toughness. When they are run over or hit by a car, they tend to have a lot of resilience and take a long time to die because they are cold-blooded animals, which means their brains require less oxygen compared to warm-blooded animals.

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Sometimes, it can take a long time for a snake to die, and it may show signs of suffering during this period. These symptoms are beyond the snake’s control, causing it to twist and turn in agony. As a result, the snake may open its mouth, and anything that comes into contact with its mouth may get bitten immediately.

Another issue is related to the structure of the snake’s teeth. Their pointed tips are designed to hook into the prey’s body, making it difficult for the prey to escape once the snake sinks its fangs in. If the snake were to bite itself in distress, it would struggle to release its mouth due to the hooked teeth, leading to the unfortunate situation where the bite would remain until the snake’s death.

This is a truly distressing sight that has led to great sadness. Many people commenting online have expressed their wish for these animals to find peace.