Slithering in plain sight: Recent snake sightings in Singapore

Snakes that have been sighted around urban areas in Singapore.
Snakes that have been sighted around urban areas in Singapore.PHOTOS: CARLOS CHUA, MELVIN YAP, SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK VIDEO/EVERYDAY SG

SINGAPORE - A 2.5m-long python shot to fame online this week after a video of it being captured in an HDB flat was uploaded online.

Handlers from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) were filmed trapping the snake before moving it into a sack. But as the snake was being moved, it proceed to pee on the floor of the flat, prompting exclamations of dismay from a man and a woman in the background.

AVA was unable to say which level the Spooner Road flat was located at.

Pythons are sighted around urban areas in Singapore due to their main prey being rats. They thus move through drains, parks and sometimes even beneath pavements in search for rats to eat. However, it is rare for pythons to enter people's homes.

In other parts of the world, pythons can be as long as 8m to 10m. But pythons in Singapore measure 2.3m long on average and are seldom longer than 4m.

Members of the public can contact AVA and wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) for help should they spot any snakes.

Here are other recent instances when pythons and other snakes came into public sight.

1. Maid kills cobra in landed property in Dover


A maid first tried to chase away the cobra, but failed to do so. She then repeatedly hit it until its body was split into two. PHOTO: CARLOS CHUA

A cobra wandered into a landed property home near Dover MRT in May, before it was clubbed to death by the maid working in the house.

The black spitting cobra, which is venomous, was estimated to be about 50cm long. The Filipino domestic worker working in the house had tried to chase the cobra out with a broom, but it became more agitated and refused to move.

 

She then repeatedly hit the cobra with a metre-long broom handle until its body was split into two and then disposed of the body.

2. Python spotted at wet market in Bukit Batok


The large snake coiled in the eaves of a roof. Facebook user Sunny Rajah also posted a photo of the crowd of about 30 to 40 people, "all waiting for the snake to come out". PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/SUNNYRAJAH

A python was spotted at a wet market in Bukit Batok in April, causing a stir as about 40 people gathered around to take photos and videos.

In a video uploaded by Facebook user Sunny Rajah, the large snake was seen exploring the space near the eaves of a roof. By the time Acres arrived at the scene, the snake had slithered back into a roof gap and could not be located.

3. Pet bird almost eaten by python in Pasir Ris home


Mr Melvin Yap's wife returned home on the morning of Oct 30, 2017, to this sight. PHOTO: MELVIN YAP

A family woke up to the sight of a 1.5m-long python attempting to eat their pet bird at their home in Jalan Loyang Besar in October last year.

A photograph sent by Mr Melvin Yap to The Straits Times showed a python coiled around a bird cage, as the terrified bird clung on to the the side of the cage away from the python.

Mr Yap managed to nudge the snake into a bag, before handing it over to Acres. The bird escaped unscathed.

4. Python found on lamp post in Bukit Batok


The snake was coiled around a lamp post at Block 419, Bukit Batok West Avenue 2, on Oct 23, 2017. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/THEINDEPENDENTSG

A snake believed to be a reticulated python was spotted coiled around the top of a lamp post at Bukit Batok West Avenue 2, also in October last year.

According to Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, the snake climbed up the lamp post after a retiree threw an object at it.

A video circulated online showed a man using a pole to prod the snake from the lamp post, with the snake subsequently falling to the ground with a thud. It was then bundled into a sack with the help of two policemen.

5. Pythons found in drain in Jurong and construction site in Bukit Batok


The women are seen here extricating a snake from a drain in Jurong on Oct 9, 2017. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK VIDEO/EVERYDAY SG

Two reticulated pythons, both around 2m to 3m long, were spotted in separate incidents on the same day, again in October last year.

One was spotted in a drain in the Jurong area, while the other one was seen in Bukit Batok at a construction site.

An Acres officer and a volunteer, both women, were praised for their bravery after they were shown in viral videos handling the large snakes during the rescue.

Both the pythons were handed over to the zoo to be microchipped before being released back into the wild.

6. Python appears in toilet bowl in Upper Thomson shophouse

A python was twice spotted in a toilet bowl at a motor parts store along Soo Chow Walk in September last year.

In a video on Facebook, the head of the snake can be seen in the water, with its tongue flicking out. Acres was not alerted to the incident, but said it was rare that snakes find their way into toilet bowls.

7. Cobra and python clash at MacRitchie Resevoir


The two large snakes were spotted locked in battle along a trail at MacRitchie Reservoir Park. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK VIDEO

A reticulated python and a king cobra were filmed locked in a battle on a trail in MacRitchie Reservoir in May last year.

A viral video uploaded online showed the two large snakes squaring up to each other, with the python then lashing out its tail while the king cobra bit it. The cobra subsequently fled into some nearby bushes. Onlookers who witnessed the fight said the python later died from the king cobra's bite.

A similar fight between a king cobra and a python also took place at the Nanyang Technological University in August 2015.