Cambodia’s snake boy

by John Einar Sandvand on August 12, 2009

He is nine years old and keeps a 5 meter long python snake as his pet. Oun Sambath from Cambodia and his snake Cham Roeun have been together since they both were babies.

The family lives in Kandal province in Cambodia, just an hour south of the capital city of Phnom Penh. The father tells me that three months after Sambath was born they saw something moving under his matress. It was a small python snake, about a meter in length.

Snake boySambath’s father carefully put the snake baby back into the forest. But during the night it found its way back to their house.

That made Koun Samang think about whether the snake was in fact meant to be with them. He started praying to the gods and came to the conclusion that the snake would bring them happiness.

Since then the snake and the boy always played and slept together. Only when Sambath was 8 years old the parents decided it was time that the snake slept somewhere else than with the boy. Now the 5 meter long snake has its own room in the house.

In the snake room is also an altar. The family strongly believe that the presence of the snake has made life easier for them.

- Before we were always sick. After we got the snake, nobody has been sick in the family, claims Koun Samang.

He tells me many people show up every weekend to pray to the spirit of the snake. Allegedly many of them have recovered from health problems after visiting the snake.

A fortune teller even told Sambath’s mother that the boy and the snake had been husband and wife in a previous life. This is a story the boy himself strongly believes.

- I will never get married as long as I have the snake, he says.

slange-blogg2According to the family the snake has never shown any sign of being dangerous. The boy himself crawls and sit on the snake without taking any precautions.

But it does get hungry, though. The snake is fed about 10 chicken every week, which is rather costly for a poor farmer family. Fortunately weekend visitors frequently give donations to help feed the snake.

- I can even talk to the snake. But only at night, I am to shy to do it during daytime, says Sambath.

- And what do you tell the snake?

- That I cannot tell you. It is my private secret.


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Karianne Larsen August 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Hjelp, det er det skumleste jeg har sett, John Einar! Imponerende! Håper du koser deg i Kambodsja.


Dina October 15, 2010 at 12:42 am

poeple please help donate to the family so the boy and the snake and their family can live happly ever after =)


Taro Baba January 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

can anyone give out the adress of this family…..? i d like to visit them from Phnom Pen.


PHILLIP BUITENDAG February 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm



kati February 17, 2011 at 4:46 am

I think you should just SHUT THE HELL UP. You obsessive christians are so insensitive! That’s his culture and his way of life. Who are you to say wha is wrong and what is right? His family s probably saying the same thing to him! respect your surrounding cultures.


jesse May 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm

GOD IS NOT REAL!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous June 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I agree with Kati, you have no respect for the religions and cultures of other people, I'm a Christian too, but I have great respect for the beliefs of others, and I find Oun Sambath a fascinating boy.

If you have nothing but disrespect, insults and nothing good to say, then in the words of Kati, "just SHUT THE HELL UP."


Zoanzon October 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm

You can be religious, but keep it to yourself. That snake looks friendly enough to me…


Guest January 17, 2012 at 12:43 am

While i agree to that statement you should know that no matter how friendly that snake may look it can and will kill and eat whatever it wants. That's the animal's nature.


amanda December 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

atleast i can see the snake thats real enough to me i cant see no god never have dumb ass you pray to some thing you cant see the boys snake is holy in my books


Forest-Hermit February 7, 2012 at 7:39 am

Dear suffering member of the human race,
I wrote a comment just now. Please read it and read also a little bit in the wonderful source of information: Internet.
If you take only the Bible (which one did you use?) you might be misled. Read other books. Of course I would recommend some books of the Pali Tipitakam, but this is only because those are my teaching books…. try it. Open your mind.
Become "open-minded". It's a great feeling.
Be good
do good
feel good
Forest Hermit


ffdd February 24, 2012 at 12:09 am

So, I bet your god thought you to disrespect other religion. I bet your god taught you to ignorant. How disappointed your God may be for you to misinterpret your God's teaching.


Nick February 13, 2011 at 5:30 am

hey Phillip Buitendag, keep on prying to your Jesus okay? But keep your VENUM to yourself!


ratty March 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Look how dangerous is it!! But let them happy…


joyce April 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

omg arme slang dat kind zit gewoon op hem wel schattig en cuteeeeee xxx joyce


Alexander Hel June 16, 2011 at 2:10 am

The boy and the snake's relationship is possibly due to the fact that snakes have a rather impressive memory, therefore the snake knows not to eat the boy. This is only a theory, of course.


Anonymous June 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

This story is really fascinating, I read this article last year, so anything new from Oun Sambath and Cham Roeun?

It's already 2011, so their both 11-year-old by now, anything new?


Roy Joss July 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

Let's be clear. God does not exist because God is Dog backwards. Nobody workships a backwards dog, so there is no God. God is only what we make him to be.


Singh July 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I am a Hindu and I believe that there is a spiritual connection with this boy and the Phython. Before these morans judge, they need to read their Bible again. God's message to man, is, not to judge, for he is the judge. I am so tired of all of the bullshit.

Religion is man made. It is there for the lost souls that needs something to hold on to. If you are a true Christian, you would know that a person's actions determines whether they are a Christian or not.

I am so tired of the people that shows up at my door with the Bible to tell me about God.

I have one question for the "Christian prosecutors" out there. What makes the Bible better than the other religious books. . . Kuran, Bhagavad Gita, the Torah etc?

In the meantime, not because you do not understand something, gives you the right to spill filth about it.


Edgardo'x September 17, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I’m tired of all christians .. The bible hides a lot of real truth, in fact, for me god is not real .
I seriuosly belive the spiritual bonds between the snake and the boy, is wonderful


Zaj Kub November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Good real happening I hope to see them both someday
think the snake realli love the boy so they love each other so much guys
everyone should be happy for them b/c it is wonderful


Zahid Hasan January 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm



Forest-Hermit February 7, 2012 at 7:32 am

I’m a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka. I’ve seen already some time ago videos in YouTube
(check < Boy'sBestFriendPython.05_Feb_08.flv>
< Cambodian_boy_plays_with_his_20_foot_long_pet_python.flv >
< SnakeBoyHugsKisses+SleeptsWithGiantPython.flv >
and many more.
There is a difference between the earlier and the later videos. In the earlier you see Sambath much more drawn to the snake. Later he wipes his nose after the snake touched him there. I’m afraid the boy will get bored or even repelled of this nice pet.
In the forest where I live are also some Pythons. They are absolutely harmless for humans. More dangerous are Cobras or other small vipers. But none is dangerous if you pretend to be a stone. Snakes do not bite stones. Hehe. And after short time the snake is bored and goes away. Believe me. Do not kill them. They belong to the biological chain. And therefore they are brothers and sisters of all. Look deeply into it and you will understand.
For Visitors to Cambodia: The name of the village is Sithbou about one hour South of Pnomh Pen (capital). More I didn’t figure out. If you were at that place please contact me here with the newest situation-report. I love that family including Chomran.
That man who took only the Christian Bible as reference did not read the Bible properly and maybe never checked any other belief of the world. The world is big and in Internet you can find everything … except Metta, Muditha, Karuna and Upekkha. THAT you have to cultivate by yourself. Like a small plant until it becomes a big strong tree. I study this already 20+ years
May all of you be happy.


Israel March 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I dont believ dis at all……one day d snake will start to pick dem one by one and finish dem all. i just pity d boy.


CHRISTY March 16, 2012 at 10:43 am

the comments aimed against phillip are scary and bullish. what happened to freedom of expression? everyone here reacted based on what they learned and experienced? that is thesame with philip. it is scary that in this modern day and age, any mention of bible, God and Jesus are met with persecution and anger.
back to the boy ang the python, it is weird, wonderful and downright suspense! what is the update?


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