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Not far from Vinh Trang Pagoda, Dong Tam Snake Farm is one of the country’s largest snake-raising centers where venom is produced for local use and export.
Located 12 kilometers from My Tho City, Tien Giang Province, the World of Snakes is a place for the animals to have a peaceful life without the impact of man. There, tourists can see a lot of researched snakes which are extremely aggressive and even capable of spitting poison, and other snake-based medicines are produced to save lives. The farm covers 12 hectares, including simulated wilderness areas, surrounded by ditches for snakes as well as areas for other animals like sheep, ostriches, yellow tortoises, tigers, crocodiles and so on. During a trip to the World of Snakes, you will be informed about Dong Tam farm’s history, offered information about how to treat snakebites and demonstrated venom extraction and some of its uses.
Luckily, coming to this farm, you will have the chance to see how 500 snakes are taken venom at a time. This venom will be used to process medicine and other uses.
Dong Tam guides will also give tourists an opportunity to explore the farm. If you are afraid of snakes, you shouldn’t get too close to cages, as there are many poisonous snakes like copperheads, dendrophis which lie in branches, or snakes crawling out of their holes. Here, you can take a lot of photograph of the cobras which are kept in an open pit. Normally, they will not harm you if you ignore. Yet, they will strike if they are once provoked. On the other hand though, the pythons are docile enough to be taken out of their cages and handled, but be warned that the larger ones are capable of strangling a human.
At some cages, the guide even pulls a snake out for visitors to take photos and expounds about difference kinds of snakes. If you take notice, you can also see that there were some snakes live in special cages and they were put mice out for meals by the employers of the farm. Yet, not all snakes are being raised for venom production; some of them will become meals for fellow creatures. Interestingly, the farm offers products made from snakes such as snake medicinal wine for you to buy. The snake farm is operated by the Vietnamese military for profit and is open to the public. The restaurant here includes cobra on the menu and there’s a shop where you can stock up on cobra antivenin.
A representative of the farm said that Dong Tam saves around 500 lives annually, usually poor patients in the Mekong Delta who come to the farm when their situations become critical.
“We never seen any gold shopkeepers come to the farm by luxury car,” he joked. “But every person who comes here will be helped,” he added.
Sound interesting, isn’t it? Let’s join a trip to Dong Tam snake by coming from HCMC, continue for 3km beyond the turn-off to My Tho and turn left at the Dong Tam lunction (signposted). From the junction, follow the road for 4km, turn right and continue for lion until you reach the snake farm.