Baby and Python – Food For Thought

Pythons are one of the worlds largest snakes. They are non venomous and kill their prey by constriction. A python coils itself around its target and squeezes the life out of it. So how the hell do you explain the photo below. Please do click on the photo to enlarge it.

photograph by permanently scatterbrained

The photo is from Flickr’s Creative Commons archive which is a source I occasionally use for photographs. If I’d personally witnessed the scene I think I would have felt too appalled to have clicked the shot myself, but I don’t mean that in any derogatory form against the person who did take it. In fact, I’d say it is a great representation of the huge difference in Asian and Western cultures.

The photo was taken in Thailand, its whereabouts I don’t know, but I’m sure if you travelled the country for the next 50 years you wouldn’t snap a similar scene. I’m not for one minute suggesting this is a regular theme in Thailand, but I do wonder what reaction it would have if the photo ever hit their media news ( I’m assuming it never has ). I believe the young kid would immediately become a mini celebrity (pun intended).

Imagine the reaction to this photo if it had been taken in America, Germany, Australia or the UK. Social workers would have a field day. Again I’m not suggesting this is common practice in Thailand, but I offer it to you as an example (somewhat exaggerated), of the kind of culture and reality shocks you will or will have encountered on a long stay in Thailand. Do you think I am right or wrong with my extreme example.

I’ll keep this post short and just add the following questions.

  • If you are considering travelling to Thailand for the first time, has this post and included image given you a different perspective of the country.
  • If you are a regular visitor to Thailand’s tourist friendly resorts, has this photograph shocked you.
  • Lastly to all expats and long term Thailand regulars do you have any experiences of your own which are on a similar ‘shocking’ plane.

I’ll hand this one over to you.


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

24 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Martyn my first thought is Photoshop? Then again this is Thailand and I guess anything is possible.

    Given some of the things I watch on Thai TV- strange rituals and the like, then no I am not shocked. I think most folk who stay here for any length of time would say the same.

    Now if you asked me if I thought the people involved were irresponsible- then of course the answer would be yes.

    Interestingly the photo seems totally out of context with the photographers other snaps.

  2. Hoo Don says:

    Mike I didn’t consider the photo might have been doctored but having had another good look at it I don’t think it has. The quality of it isn’t good which makes me think it’s the real McCoy, then again the opposite might be true. I’m confused but nevertheless it’s a good representation of the differences between East and West.

    Thanks for the Tweet.

  3. Catherine says:

    Martyn, Did the photo shock me? No. No more than seeing babies on backs of motorbikes, or kids jumping up and down in a car going fast fast fast down the highway.

    But I might still have the ability to know what will shock others new to Thailand.

    Little kids getting into the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi could possibly turn some heads. All the parents have to do is sign a piece of paper saying that the kids are sixteen. Oh, and pay 5000 baht. Because if there are no kids allowed in with the tigers, then there are no discounts for half pints.

    I have many more… but I’d rather hear what others have to say.

  4. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine sorry about my late reply..(cough)…I found your comment in the spam box. I really must switch to Askimet.

    Thanks for your thoughts on what might shock newcomers to Thailand. I didn’t know about the kids and the Tiger Temple myself and as you know I’ve been there. 5000 baht, that’s pricey.

    Like you I’m interested in reading about what others have seen that might register high on the shockometer.

  5. Paul says:

    I’m not sure about this picture. He looks about the same age as my son; if my boy sees a Jink-Jock he cries for an hour:-) I can’t imagine how you would get a toddler to wash a phtyon. As Mike says though, this is Thailand and you just never know.

  6. Hoo Don says:

    Paul you’re putting further doubts into my mind about whether the photo is true or not, but in a way that makes the post even more debatable. I’m going for true but on even closer inspection the colour of the scrubbing brush does look a bit suspicious. You have to enlarge the photo to see it more clearly.

  7. Paul says:

    I’ve asked the Missus and she claims it’s genuine. Apparently there are a few documentaries about it. She reckons that there are some families that look after snakes for living. The kids are encouraged to play with the snakes almost from birth so they are not afraid of them.

    The jury is still out for me though.

  8. Hoo Don says:

    Paul thank your missus for the great inside information, here’s the latest odds

    4/6 Photo true
    2/1 Photo false
    8/1 We’ll never know

    My money is now going on the 4/6 shot thanks to Mrs Garrigan’s insider knowledge.

    For a good snake village video, check out this

  9. Paul says:

    You might want to slightly lower the true odds. My wife is notorious for only half-watching things on TV and so she ends up picking up bits of wrong information ( I do the same). She is insisting that she is right this time, but we’ve been down this road before 🙂

  10. Snap says:

    My first instinct would have been to snatch that baby out of the bath, not take a photo…but then again, that may have tightened the Python’s grip. The baby looks quite happy, as does the snake.

    I haven’t seen anything this controversial in my travels yet, in Thailand or elsewhere!

  11. Hoo Don says:

    Paul, let’s hope she doesn’t read your comment or your current bout of negativity might increase.

    5/6 Photo true
    7/4 Photo false
    8/1 We’ll never know

  12. Hoo Don says:

    Snap the photo is bound to shock many people, women and mothers especially.

    . If I’d personally witnessed the scene I think I would have felt too appalled to have clicked the shot myself

    The photo didn’t shock or surprise me at all, it just left me a little bit disappointed about the vast differences in culture that exists between East and West. Then again some of our ways leave a lot to be desired too.

  13. Snap says:

    Re: Tiger Temple. Catherine, Stray and I gave that a miss after visiting Tiger Kingdom, near Chiang Mai. I was more unsettled by the seemingly drug induced state of the animals and felt like an intruder. I left the cub enclosure saddened and before my time was up.

    The adult tigers were also just as sleepy.

    Their dazed condition was explained by staff as being due to their normal lengthy sleeping requirments?

  14. Talen says:

    Martyn, This photo has been around the net for a while…I remember seeing it 2 years ago or so and at the time it was attributed to being in Laos or Cambodia…can’t remember.

    It could be Thailand but either way I thinks it’s an exaggerated example because I don’t believe many Thai parents would let their child play with such a beast.

    I see how protective Pookie’s family is with Fa when soi dogs are around…then again there are opportunistic people in every country that would use their children to get attention…and that is definitely one attention grabbing photo.

  15. Tom Yam says:

    Hi Martyn,
    I wasn’t too shocked by the photo and i’m sure it’s a genuine shot. The reason for this is that there is a temple, quite near to where i live, where i witnessed a baby playing with a “tame” albino python.
    This was a few years ago. If i get the time i may go over there and see if i can get a photo of it if it’s still there.
    Tom Yam….

  16. Hoo Don says:

    Snap there is a lot of controversy over the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi as to whether its inmates are drugged or not. On the day of my visit they all seemed lively enough but there is no smoke without fire. One of the farang bar owners in Kanchanaburi town told me a farang volunteer worker at the Tiger Temple who visited his bar sometimes, swore the tigers were never sedated. The debate goes on.

  17. Hoo Don says:

    Talen I actually stumbled on the photo again yesterday and it was attributed to Thailand, not that it means it is. I got the photo from Flickr and the text attached to the photo says Kid bathing in Thailand with his pet snake…….is this baby bathing this snake, or are they making baby/snake soup?Again not conclusive proof.

    I have no doubts Pookie and her family protect Fa very well as 99% of Thai people do but a couple of the comments I’ve received on this post point to others not being so caring.

    The photo does kind of stop you in your tracks.

  18. Hoo Don says:

    Tom thanks for the info on the albino python, please do update me if you acquire a photo of the snake. Your story sounds as equally shocking as this one.

    I tried leaving a comment on your football betting blog but it wouldn’t let me access the comments box. I like a small gamble on the fixed odds myself.

    I wanted to comment on your prediction of Newcastle and Aston Villa being a draw. 6-0 was some result.

  19. Steve says:

    I’ll add my 2 cents to the poll by saying I don’t believe the photo looks photoshopped. Not that I’m an expert by any means 🙂

    I can’t say I was shocked by the photo, I think it just highlights the differences in attitude between East and West. Chances are that Paul’s missus might be right about this one (sorry Paul) and the baby could be part of a family that raises snakes and they introduce the kids at a very early age.

    I can assure you though that you’ll never see a photo of Alivia with a snake in the tub or anywhere near her for that matter.

  20. Steve says:

    Now you made me go back and look more closely. It looks as if there is some sort of black and red image on the top of the brush that is making it appear python like…or maybe not? The kids hand looks a bit odd as well…I’m sticking with my original verdict though.

  21. Hoo Don says:

    Steve thanks for rubber stamping my East and West culture scenario. I think the photo is a great example of it, photoshopped or not. Since doubts have been put into my head about the authenticity of the picture I can’t stop looking at the colour of the scrubbing brush, it does look rather python like. However…..

    4/6 Photo true
    9/4 Photo false
    6/1 We’ll never know

  22. Hoo Don says:

    Steve you almost had me changing my odds again, the kid’s left hand does look a bit odd, but then again the photo quality is pretty poor, that could be the reason, and for the scrubbing brush too. I’d be interested to know Golf’s thoughts on the photo and whether she has heard of this kind of thing before…..I’m changing my odds.

    evens Photo true
    6/4 Photo false
    11/2 We’ll never know

  23. Snap says:

    I obtained a larger photo and pulled it into Photoshop to take a closer look (I use Photoshop often for work). Impossible to tell if its fake or not, because of the poor quality, which could have been created to hide any editing. If it is a fraud, it’s really well done.

    Martyn on an extremely trivial note, the so called photographer ‘permanently scatterbrained’ seems to have just added it to their Flickr collection, and I doubt is the owner of the photo – no author’s notes. has their stamp on it, but that trail hasn’t turned up any enlightening information…as yet.

    I remain undecided on its authenticity.

  24. Hoo Don says:

    Snap I’ve been on the same trail as you. I didn’t think it was ‘scatterbrained’ who had taken it so I googled Ciao and got led on a wild goose chase. I got nowhere.

    Thanks for your efforts but believe me the truth is out there somewhere. Tread carefully, this is a well guarded photo and who knows what could be behind it. Governments could fall is the truth is unveiled.

    Goodnight, I’ve got to get some sleep.

    Good morning where you are or maybe even good afternoon.

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