China: Around The Nation

Born free: Chinese man incubates hundreds of snakes in his bedroom so he can release them into the wild

Eggs bought from snake sellers in Changhsha where snakes are often served up in restaurants

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2016, 1:51pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2016, 3:01pm

A wildlife enthusiast from central China has incubated over 1,300 snake eggs in his bedroom over the past few months so he can release the animals into the wild, according to a newspaper report.

Peng Han bought the eggs from snake sellers in Changsha in Hunan province where snake meat is a common dish, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported.

He plans to release the tiny snakes at a forest on the outskirts of the city on Sunday, according to the article.

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Peng said snake sellers were not skilled at incubating eggs and he had asked them for over 3,000 of them over the past few months.

The man, a volunteer in the Changsha Wildlife Conservation Association, said people in Changsha would have eaten far more snakes in recent months than he had managed to hatch.

He estimates about 10 tonnes of snakes are consumed in the city each day.

“I think wild snakes in Hunan are being so badly damaged,” he was quoted as saying.

Peng said the species usually sold in local markets were Beauty rat snakes and Black striped snakes, which are not poisonous.

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They sell for between 15 yuan (HK$17.40) and 40 yuan per kilo, the report said.

Snakes are heavier when carrying eggs so are often killed before laying to fetch a higher price, Peng was quoted as saying.

He said none of his family or neighbours had opposed him keeping snakes, but asked him to keep a close eye on them.