Over the last year, an unusually high number of snakes have been spotted swimming in Bangkok residents’ toilets. The strangest part? No one knows why the snakes have chosen these supposedly safe spaces as their watery new thrones.
According to an extensive report from the New York Times, the Bangkok Fire and Rescue Department has been “busier than ever” lately. They’ve removed all kinds of snakes, from harmless smaller varieties to pythons.
“The department had received 31,801 calls this year for help in removing snakes,” the Times’s Richard C. Paddock and Ryn Jirenuwatt report. “That is more calls than for all of last year (29,919), and more than three times the number in 2012 (10,492).”
Of course, not all snake-human interactions end badly. But in one of the more harrowing encounters, Bangkok resident Panarat Chaiyaboon was bitten by an eight-foot-long python hiding in her toilet. It was eventually captured, but about a week later, another python emerged from the same toilet.
It’s unclear exactly why snakes are suddenly appearing in people’s toilets. Some local authorities think it could be due to an unusually wet year in Thailand. Rain and flooding could force snakes to seek refuge in higher ground, sometimes even indoors.
But as Inverse previously reported, snakes also use water to hunt for prey — or just as a place to cool down. So really, who knows what snakes are trying to accomplish here. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on inside the mind of a reptile.
With 8.2 million people living in Bangkok — and apparently, many snakes — this situation probably won’t be going away any time soon. Hopefully we can at least figure out why it happened in the first place.