Here come the rains ... and the snakes

Civil defence department officers removing a 4m-long cobra hiding under the bonnet of a car.
Civil defence department officers removing a 4m-long cobra hiding under the bonnet of a car.PHOTO: THE STAR

KUALA TERENGGANU • The monsoon season has brought snakes into the homes and cars of people in Terengganu, as the creatures often try to escape the wet weather by seeking warmer, drier nooks.

The Terengganu Civil Defence Department received 4,356 reports of snake invasion last year during the monsoon, which typically lasts from late October to end-January.

The Civil Defence's disaster management, operations and logistics officer, Lieutenant Norasmawi Abdul Mutalib, said the east coast state's huge swamps, jungles and rubber estates made them the ideal habitat for the reptiles, including the king cobra.

"We have been receiving a lot of calls regarding snakes lately, be it the poisonous types or the python," he said.

"This is due to the disturbance of their habitats caused by the continuous rain. They tend to come out from their natural habitat to find warmer places and this is when many of them are seen slithering into houses."

This year, the department has received 4,796 calls about snakes so far. Last week alone, when the rainy season started in earnest, the department received 15 complaints.

The snakes would likely slither into kitchens and bathrooms, and even into washing machines and car engine compartments.

The civil defence team in Kuala Terengganu, capital of the oil-rich state, has set up two teams trained in catching snakes.

Their tools include hooks, long poles and tongs - non-lethal equipment to ensure that the reptiles are not harmed while being removed from homes.

Lt Norasmawi advised people not to try catching snakes on their own.

"Call us if you find snakes in your homes. They could be dangerous, especially if they are the poisonous type," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2015, with the headline 'Here come the rains ... and the snakes'. Print Edition | Subscribe