BANGKOK — After a couple of pythons made themselves at home Sunday in the toilet of a house in western Bangkok, the family who lives there is wary of using their downstairs bathroom.
Suthiporn Praditkanok, 15, was washing her hands in the restroom at her home in the Taling Chan district, when she ran out screaming after a large python leaped out of the toilet bowl and began slithering towards her.
Hearing her screams, Suthiporn’s dad, Kanok Praditkanok, 41, ran into the bathroom, snapped a photo of the snake with his smartphone, shut the toilet lid on the creature and put the toilet tank cover on the lid for extra protection before calling the authorities.
“Snakes have been plaguing this house incessantly. This house cost almost 10 million baht; it should be safe to live in,” said Panarat Chaiyaboon, 42, Suthiporn’s mother.
It wasn’t the first time that the Praditkanoks’ 6.5-million-baht house – in a gated community – had been struck by the company of snakes.
In the afternoon of July 3, Panarat was on the john when she felt a sharp pain on her buttocks. She leaped up to find a large, spotted snake of unknown species wiggling about a half meter out of the toilet.
Panarat was shocked but gathered her wits about her: She trapped the snake by shutting the toilet lid and placed the tank cover on top – a move her husband would later copy – and rushed to Phyathai Hospital 3.
Doctors examined the one centimeter-deep wounds of 12 teeth, but said that they had to know the species of snake before they could administer the antidote. Meanwhile, back at home, security guards of the gated community freed the 2.5-meter-long reticulated python from the toilet and handed it over to animal control.
The guards noted the reptile had extremely dirty teeth, since it had been eating feces and sewage. Doctors on Panarat’s end quickly administered antibiotics and injected anti-inflammatory and tetanus shots to prevent infection.
Panarat’s night in the hospital and continuing shots cost her 18,000 baht – only some of it paid by insurance.
“I was so shocked,” Suthiporn said Sunday, of the snake which was larger than the one that bit her mother. “I’m too scared to live here anymore.”
Panarat said the reason snakes popped up in her gated community was because some houses had uneven foundations. Some had half a meter separating the foundation of the house from the ground – allowing snakes and monitor lizards to burrow there after slithering from the nearby jungle. Indeed, a monitor lizard crawled into her yard earlier this year, she said.
“The whole community is panicked over this. Now no one wants to use the downstairs bathroom,” said Panarat. “I want the building management to fill in the holes under the foundation with dirt, not just close them up with boards as a temporary solution. In this rainy season, only a few showers soaks through them.”
The family live in the Setthasiri Ratchaphruek Charan gated community, a building project by Sansiri Public Co. Ltd.
The family is for now staying at Panarat’s sister’s house, since the python that that visted their house Sunday managed to slither away.
“We don’t know if there’s more snakes in the toilet, or if our house is on top of a snake nest,” Panarat said.
Snakes occasionally pop up in homes in Thailand, especially those built on recently-cleared forest land. In May 2016, a man had a tug-of-war with a python that slithered up to bite his penis, and in March a Nong Khai province man escaped a charming encounter with a cobra in his toilet.