Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chummy with reptiles

There is a story in the weird news today about a woman in Parauapebas, Brazil, who had an unwelcome intruder in her house after it had been flooded in heavy rains. She was alerted to the presence of a 5' alligator behind the couch when she saw her 3-year-old son patting it on the head! It reminded me of a story that circulated in 2008 about a then 7-year-old boy in Setbo, Cambodia, who has a special bond with a 16' python. Uorn Sambath (pictured above) kisses, powders, and rides the 220lb female snake, and has been sleeping in its coils since he was in the cradle. He was a mere 3 months old when his mother discovered the snake - then the size of a thumb - beneath a woven mat. Her husband released it away from the house, but 2 weeks later it was back inside. He took this as a sign of protection for his family, made a place for it, and named the python "Chamroeun" (translated from Khmer as "Progress" or "Lucky"). The relationship between boy and snake drew officials, who gave up trying to part them. "I will not let anyone take her away from me....I love her very much," declares Sambath. The 2 of them now draw tourists, and continued speculation. "People sometimes call the boy and the snake husband and wife. Maybe they were a couple from a previous life," says a neighbor.

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