Ophidiophobia: The Fear of Snakes
I don’t like snakes. In fact I am terrified whenever I see one, even on TV. But having been to many zoos, I gradually overcome that fear. The last time I had a close encounter with snakes was during our Bohol Escapade. Part of the itinerary of our countryside tour was visiting the Bohol Python and Wildlife Park located in Laya, Baclayon, Bohol.
Wait, is ophidiophobia genetic? Because I think the whole family has fear of snakes. We had a lot of snakes sightings and encounter even when I was still so young – vipers and pythons. In fact, my Tatay and brother were bitten by snakes before.
One of my scariest snake encounters was back in high school when a small one (a baby snake) fell right on my shoulders while I was slamming the toilet door of our old house. Adrenaline rush made me grabbed the snake and threw it on the wall. I then rushed to the kitchen and came back with a bolo knife. And guess what? I killed that baby snake. Yes, you read it right. After that incident, I tremble in fear every time I see a snake, whatever the size.
I was the only one in the family who knew about our itinerary so when our tour guide asked us about seeing the Bohol Python, nobody was actually excited. Skipping the Python and Wildlife Park while in Bohol would be a lost opportunity so after much consideration, we decided to give it a go. Thanks to my brave Sister in-law who successfully convinced everyone!
Prony, whose name was taken after her captor, Sofronio Salibay, was considered the world’s largest and longest snake in captivity with over 23 feet long, 30 inches in girth and weighed about 300 kgs. At the time she was captured, she was only 5 meters in length and weighed around 5 kgs. Regrettably, she died in 2013. So, the Prony we met was already her preserved remains.
Our being ophidiophobic was so evident when we had our picture taken with Prony’s remains. Yes, she is dead but she still looked scary. Hahaha.
Aside from Prony’s remains, the owners of the park also raised other pythons, including the Burmese python. However, that day, we were told that the Burmese Python isn’t available for photo ops. ( I guess it was their mating season?)
There was another large python though and at that time she was shedding her skin so she was lethargic. We took advantage of her inactivity for some photo ops. This time, the whole family was already comfortable, although it took a while to convince us all to sit beside the snake and smile for the photo.
Talking about conquering fears? I wonder though if it we would have the same smiles if the python was active.
My Honest Observation about the Park
There is not so much to see in the park (or mini park, I should say) but my nephew still loves it. I think it was his most favorite experience during the tour. He loves animals and he enjoyed watching the monkeys, different bird species, and a few other reptiles in the area.
However, I think the park needs a lot of improvement not only in its facilities but on how to properly manage the animals. The animals looked so awful and distressed in theri cages made of wire fence, most especially the monkeys. The birds are framed in cages so small that they have only little or no space for movements.
I hope the owners along with the local government and other conservation agencies in Bohol would work together to improve the park not only to attract more visitors but most importantly for the welfare of these helpless, captive animals and provide them with comfortable living conditions.
After all, what is the entrance fee for?