Thai Park Snake Farm

Located at 99/9 in San Phi Suea District of Chiang Mai Province, Thai Park Snake Farm is a learning center that gives knowledge about venomous and non-venomous snakes and other reptiles such as turtles and lizards both domestic and alien.

According to the farm’s policy, which is similar to that of Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute in Bangkok, it provides activities to educate general people as well as to be their recreation site.  The activities include venom extraction demonstration; demonstration of first aid procedure for people who got bitten by a snake; and teaching and exhibitions on snakes’ habitation, their reproduction process, life cycle, food, and how people should protect themselves from snakes’ biting.

The history of Thailand’s medicine and snake serum

One hundred and fifty years ago, Thailand, known as “Siam”, was the country most abundant with reptiles and poisonous animals in Asia.  The complete ecosystem supported the quick reproduction of these animals.  Siam was an agricultural country where rice was mainly grown.  Rice was a good source of food for rats, and rats were snakes’ food.  The rat population in the human community resulted in snakes’ migration into the community.  Therefore, snakes were often found in the people’s daily life, and sometimes people were bitten by venomous ones and died.

In traditional treatments for snake bites, different herbs are usually used to draw out the poison and to treat inflammation caused by germs, received from eating rats, at the snakes’ fangs.  The Thai Government in the reign of King Rama V began importing serums brought by foreign missionaries, and then the serums extracted from different snakes were developed and used in the country.  Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute was then established.  Private sectors also did research on snakes’ living and found ways to extract from their venom medicines for joint pain and body aches.  In traditional medicine, parts of snakes can be used as drugs too.

According to traditional medicine, drugs are categorized into three groups: plant-based group, animal-based group, and mineral-based group.  The plant-based group consists of herbs such as ginseng and chong cao.  The animal-based group consists of animals such as snakes, seahorses, and centipedes.  The mineral-based group consists of minerals such as sulphur and gold.  Medicinal ingredients from various sources have been complied and formulated into eleven drug recipes to cure diseases.  These recipes’ instructions have been followed and handed down since Ayutthaya Era.