Monday, February 04, 2008


There are friendships between a boy and his pet that make memories for a life time. Then there are those special relationships that make one wonder, "huh?" In this case the special friendship is between a boy and his pet python.

No misprint. A boy and his pet python.

Pythons have a reputation for being very huggable, huge reptiles that require their meals live, as in live rabbits... It comes as a surprise - more like a shock - to learn that a young Cambodian boy is currently sharing his life with a five metre long python named Chamreun that weighs in at 100 kg.

The 7 year old boy named, Sambath Uorn, who sleeps with his "friend" rides on the snake's back and pats it down with baby powder. The snake enjoys nothing more than allowing her young friend to curl up inside her coils.

I bet, uttered the cynic.

The best friends became acquainted when both were small when the snake visited the house. Sambath's mother moved the snake to a river bank but a few weeks later, the snake paid a return visit. The rest as they say is history and Chamreun has earned a place in the family's heart and home. Let's hope not in the snake's stomach.

It even has its own two-by-three-metre room with a spirit house at which Khuorn Sam Ol prays for the python to keep his family happy and healthy. In Cambodian culture, they believe that the reptile protects the family and could be reincarnated.

Thing is...can you trust a snake especially a python, whose nature is to give realllly big hugs and then some?

Chamroeun - whom it takes three adults to carry - eats about 10 kilograms of chicken meat every week, posing a heavy financial burden on the family. Be that as it may, the family have no intention of giving up their "pet" - at least for the time being.

Wildlife and police officials used to come by to try to take the snake away and put it in a zoo. But they relented after seeing Uorn Sambath lovingly cuddling the reptile. They left with some pictures they took of the boy and the snake together, Khuorn Sam Ol said.

"I will not let anyone take her away from me, either. I love her very much," declared his son, Uorn Sambath, kissing his pet on the head. The snake can grow up to be 8 metres long and can weigh up to 180kg.

To see family photos of best pals, Sambath and Chamteun:

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