Monday February 25, 2013
When snakes think itís really their year to come out and play
By R.S.N. MURALI
MALACCA: Snakes are slithering out in the year of the snake at least that is the case in Gapam, Ayer Keroh, where dozens of King Cobras were seen coming out of hibernation in several areas in a housing estate nearby.
Residents are gripped by fear after several people had close encounters with the long slithery and venomous reptile.
Some had even decided to spend their Chap Goh Meh celebrations yesterday either holed up inside their houses or away from home, fearing visits from the unwelcome guests.
Malacca Tourism Association (MTA) president Madelina Kuah was among the residents who had a close encounter with the venomous snake two days ago.
The snake which came into her house at about 3.30am was about 1.5m long.
Kuah's dalmatian dog that fought with the snake was killed.
“It was a terrifying experience for me and my family. All of us screamed when we saw the snake.
“We called the Fire and Rescue Department but before they came, my husband managed to kill the snake. We were so worried about the safety of our children,” she said yesterday.
Kuah said several of her neighbours, too, had horrifying experiences when cobras slithered into their homes.
Previously, Ayer Keroh state assemblyman Khoo Poay Tiong said cobras of the Naja Sumtrana species inhibited the secondary jungles edging Ayer Keroh.
Naja Sumtrana or Malayan Spitting Cobra is highly venomous but its population in the country is very small and the species is under threat of going extinct.
The cobras are usually either bluish-black, medium or dark brown in colour and could reach about as long 1.5m in length.
Khoo said the residents, especially those living in Ayer Keroh Height here, had sighted dozens of these cobras in recent times.
Many residents have voiced their fear that the snakes may turn vicious if their nests are disturbed.
The snakes are believed to have encroached into the housing estates after their natural habitats were destroyed due to rapid development in the surrounding areas.
Khoo claimed that residents had even sighted a giant King Cobra, dubbed by the locals as raja naga.
“The fangs of this raja naga is said to be long. Just imagine what would have happened if these cobras started attacking the people.
“Cobras are known as one of the deadliest reptiles, I hope the relevant authorities act fast to relocate the snakes before something untoward happens,” he said.
Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council president Sapiah Haron said she would dispatch her team to capture the snakes at several identified spots.
“We believe the cobras have made empty lots in certain housing estates their homes. We will summon the owners of these empty lots before clearing them,” she said.