AVA investigates pest control firm after 3-metre python at Orchard Road manhandled

Stay calm and contact Acres next time if you encounter a python.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 30, 2019, 12:31 AM

A three-metre long reticulated python was caught in Orchard Road outside Tang Plaza on Jan. 29.

A pest control firm was engaged to handle the python.

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) was not informed about this case.

Terribly handled

A video taken by an onlooker, Rabbikhan Khan, showed that the pest control personnel in shirts labelled with the "Anticimex" word, struggled to subdue the python.

The three men fumbled with the gigantic snake in their attempt to put it into a brown bag, with one of them grabbing onto the python's head while another holding the end of python's tail.

At one point, one of the men had to resort to stepping on the python, and one was supposedly bitten on his gloved hand by it.

The python was then successfully placed inside the bag.

According to deputy chief executive of Acres, Kalai Vanan, the "handling of the snake is terrible from start to finish" as observed from the video circulated online:

"The snake was stepped on and handled very roughly. Poor handling skills caused the handler to get bitten as well. Snakes are wild animals protected by law and they deserve better handling and care. ACRES's team of staff and volunteers are trained to rescue the snake in a calm manner and do educational work. We urge members of public to call the ACRES wildlife rescue hotline at 97837782 should wild animals be sighted in distress."

The python is now under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

AVA investigates

In response to this incident, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said that it is investigating the alleged mishandling of the snake as there are guidelines that pest control and wildlife management agencies should follow.

"Cruelty to animals is an offence under the Animals and Birds Act. AVA has issued a set of guidelines on the proper handling of snakes to all pest control and wildlife management agencies in Singapore."

One example is to use appropriate equipment to catch the snake and to not unduly harm the animals.

Like these two female Acres handlers who successfully captured a python with the aid of equipment in a separate encounter.


More empathy for snakes

A week ago, a python named Seth was attacked with a drain cover at Boon Lay area.

A resident threw the metal drain cover on the python as it was witnessed to be eating a community cat.

The incident prompted Acres to call for more empathy towards reptiles such as pythons, which also call Singapore home.

Ignorance and unnecessary fear might lead to people to cause harm to the pythons, which are shy creatures, unless provoked.

Acres also demonstrated how its trained handlers tapped on Seth to nudge the python to go back to the wild, while keeping a safe distance from it.

Top photo collage from screenshots of Rabbikhan Khan's video