Saturday, May 26, 2007


Within the lush confines of the Orchidarium live three huge pythons. They are brothers. When brought there for the first time so as to be kept as pets, each one was no longer than a yard. Now, however, they measure about fifteen feet in length and requires at least three handlers for each one to be carried.

They sleep all day intertwined against one another for warmth or something, and only become active at night--crawling around in their caged pit. Sometimes during the daytime, one of them is brought out and displayed for a visiting group to view, fondle, or put on top of one's shoulders for a photo opp. That is how they earn their keep, so to speak.

Undoubtedly, this is done only when they are full; not while hungry and grouchy. Neither are they brought out when they are shredding off their skin, for it is supposed to be a rather unpleasant process much like a woman going through PMS.

According to the staff, these pythons are a spoiled bunch. I guess, just like dogs, after experiencing ongoing love and care from their masters, they begin to think of themselves as humans as well. And like some kids nowadays -- who indulge on fast food and then spend their time mainly watching TV and playing computer games -- these brothers snake were recently diagnosed by their vet as obese.

Oh, well ... such is the curse of a pampered life.

Maria Makiling
a recent addition to the Orchidarium gardens

The Orchidarium is located at the corner of Orosa Street and Finance Drive in Rizal Park (or Luneta); telephone numbers are 527-6376/6378 for further information.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:16 AM


Blogger Sidney said...

Wonderful pictures! It seems you were in the cage with them!
Not really my idea of a pet animal but impressive nonetheless.

May 26, 2007 9:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real mean snakes they are. The smooth and slippery skin looks exotic and so natural.

May 26, 2007 10:12 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The lens that protrudes from my P&S digicam was small enough to go through the opening in the cage, Sidney. And since they we re sleeping (I think) thought it was safe enough to be that close to them.

I wouldn't want one as a pet, either.

May 26, 2007 10:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Right you are, Major Tom. They are, after all, wild animals. No one can be sure what they'll do if hungry.

Incidentally, this reminds me of my mom's friend in New York; a rather jovial, stout Italian woman. She is scared to death of snakes yet, her teenage son had a boa as a pet. She tried to tolerate it as long as the snake remained in his bedroom.

Well, one time the snake crawled out of his son's bedroom and found its way to the kitchen where tshe was busily doing her chores.

Long story short: Not only did she have the snake banished from her house for good, she also kicked her son out of the house. She thought, at 18, he was old enough to move out where he could keep as pets any reptiles he fancied. Hehehe.

May 26, 2007 10:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never really fancied reptiles but the shots are really cool!


Love the one with those shedded skins.

May 26, 2007 11:51 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Are the brother snakes Burmese pythons? They're huge! my stress level elevates at the sight of live snakes, don't fancy them at all. We went for a ride this past weekend to lake Isabella in Kern County via Caliente, a small town along the way with about 40 miles of a very twisty road in a very heavily wooded area. We ran over and killed 2 yard long snakes crossing the road. they both look like the vicious and poisonous Mojave green snakes. One even posed a striking stance in defense and scared the s..t out of the guy following me. that was a bit scary to watch the guys behind weaving to avoid running over the dead snakes in the middle of the unfortunate and unavoidable road kill incident but what can one do in a situation like that?

May 26, 2007 11:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Kyels!

By the way, I started a thread in Digital Photographer Philippine forum in which I invited fellow photographers to post thei snake shots. You might want to see what they posted:

May 26, 2007 11:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thine Snakes are thine enemies, add
those nasty critters called cockcroaches..hehe. I've read, somewhere in the Southern States of America that they actually eat snakes, yikes!! Sanamagan!, yet they don't like "balut".
Since they're obese, do these "traitors" die of heart attack or diabetes? Nice pics nonetheless. Goodhealth.

May 26, 2007 12:40 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm not sure, but they might be. They are really long and huge.

Not too fond of snakes, either, Noypetes. I had once blogged an experience in which I was actually frozen because of fright upon coming across a snake crossing the road while I was bicycling. As I mentioned, I fell off my bike and because of the speed I as going, skidded right near that damn snake which was huge and black. Luckily, the snake paid me no mind and continued crawling along.

That was in Long Island, NY, by the way. Can you imagine if I were on that road in Kern County as you mentioned with those Mojave green snakes? Sheeeessh ... I probably would've been bitten instantaneously!

May 26, 2007 1:11 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Up in Caliraya mountain in Laguna, TruBlue, is an exotic restaurant that serves python meat. I was invited but declined even though assured it tastes just like chicken meat.

No possible heart attack cases, but I was told that if obese, they wouldn't gain as much in length. But darn, these snakes are long as they are.

The huge flying cockroaches here in Manila will sometimes attack you kamikaze-style ... hehehe.

But the smaller, though just as annoying, roaches of New York are notoriously everywhere.

May 26, 2007 1:18 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

MJ hasn't posted a comment yet. His younger brother, my high school classmate, is fond of snakes and other exotic creatures. He brought to school on many occasions common river snakes (I think) that are not poisonous. I got to handle them since they only bite when cornered. Besides, they're only less than a foot long and as thick as finger, young ones. I don't think he was sanctioned by the school, hehe.

There was one morning while I was preparing for high school classes that I encountered a slightly longer and larger adult snake (though I'm not sure if it's the same species) upon the door of our external CR. I was inside sitting on the throne and I mentally threatened that I'd kill it if it entered (possibly by imposing upon it the weight of a pail full of water). The creature seemed to understand and slithered away.

May 26, 2007 11:23 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The outhouse (external CR) of my aunt's in Subic, seem to be a favorite place for pythons also who came attracted by the poultry farm at the back of the property.

My older brother was quietly doing his business one afternoon when he heard some sort of a hissing sound. When he looked up, curled comfortably around one of the trusses was a huge python. Boy, you can imagine the great commotion that soon followed as he rushed out of there -- screaming with his pants down and all. And this was when he was already a U.S. sailor home for a visit. So, Dave, that was rather brave of you to just sit there and mentally intimidated that snake into retreating back to the wilderness.

By the way, that huge python ended up getting roasted along with the dry leaves after the late afternoon yard sweeping; the smell of which was much like that of a roast or barbeque chicken.

May 27, 2007 6:06 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

really scary looking snakes! were you in the cage when you took the pictures? they're very impressive.

btw, i'll be back in manila next week. can't wait!

May 27, 2007 6:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was NEAR the cage not IN it, God forbid ... hahaha! I'd have a heart attack.

I bet you miss your home and and your very own bed, Carla. Nothing like being in your own abode, huh? But you had quite an American vacation, too :)

May 27, 2007 8:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also had several 'snakey' encounters myself, so you can just imagine how I cringe now even with mere pictures of snakes!

So if you don't mind - next entry please, Eric!

May 27, 2007 8:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only snakes - but all wiggly creatures! When I was in high school, I did not go to school for a week because I could not stand earthworms in our Biology experiments!

May 27, 2007 8:27 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I checked your snake thread in Digital Photographer forum. It seems a lot of photographers like snakes...

May 27, 2007 2:40 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Didn't mean to scare you, Rhoda. I was just fascinated by these huge snakes that I was compelled to take closer shots and post them.

Worms are okay, but anything fatter and longer than my pinky I wouldn't want near me, either ... hehehe.

May 27, 2007 2:48 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm not sure if they really like snakes, Sidney. I suspect that some are like me, scared of them yet, fascinated enough to photograph them.

By the way, compared to those other snake shots, mine hardly portrayed the usual head on shot. You see, childhood experiences were not much about encountering them head on or slithering its way on a branch or something. More often it was under something in which they were sleeping or something. Once in my aunt's house in Subic, I pointed to a rather large pile of rag under the sink when my aunt was looking for something to wipe the spill that a younger cousin made on the floor. As it turned out, that large rag was a python sleeping. Yuck!

The first photo on top reminded me somewhat of that experience -- it was the body itself and not the head that I saw first. Thank God my aunt didn't ask me to go get it for her when I thought it was a piece of rag.

May 27, 2007 2:57 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Ah, so it's called an outhouse. Anyway, I guess I acted brave since it's only a small snake. Still, if I encountered the large python, I think I'd also get out of there, though not as scandalously :)

May 28, 2007 12:00 AM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

eric, LOL! now THIS ONE i can touch. ok, maybe pat. or poke. or maybe it's better if we're separated from each other by something like an inch thick glass. haha

speaking of which, i have eaten one in exotic resto (did you see samantha the snake in caliraya? she was huge!)

nothing unique with the taste, but matinik.

May 28, 2007 4:09 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Dave, that's what they call them. They have plenty of them down in the southern states of the US.

Small or large, snakes can be frightful to many folks ... hehehe. You can probably understand why my aunt's maid had to first inspect the interior and then stand guard by the door of the outhouse whenever I had to use it. Otherwise, I'd hold it in even if it made me ill ... hahaha.

May 28, 2007 8:26 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

So that's the name of that much-talked about python in that restaurant, huh, Sheilamarie? We often pass by that eatery whenever we'd go up that mountain, but like I said, I never stopped to check out its menu.

Did it taste like chicken? I wouldn't dare eat it, though. However, I loved eating those field frogs cooked tinola-style when I was a kid.

May 28, 2007 8:31 AM  

Blogger Watergirl said...

I wouldn't own a snake, but I do find them beautiful. Plus think how overrun with mice and rats we'd be without them. I'll take the snake over the rat anyday.

May 28, 2007 12:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I agree with you, M.Tan -- snakes have a purpose for their existence.

However, they did get a bum rap, especially from our elders in Subic who would reign us in by using the snakes to scare us; hence, prevent us from straying too far from their sight/control.

Religion also painted a diabolical image of these reptiles.

May 28, 2007 1:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

they are still snakes--scary! i remember one time in bangkok where a snake was curled in our necks--we were laughing, but wanted to disappear. the handlers though told us that the snake was harmless.

you took a very clear and near shot, like there was not glass separating you from the snake.

May 29, 2007 3:44 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I don't think I can be as brave as you, Dine -- having one curled around my neck? Jeeez!

It was a wired cage, not glass, and I was able to fit the small lens of my point & shoot digicam through the opening.

May 29, 2007 6:54 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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