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Two children with snakes in washtubs | by Pondspider
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Two children with snakes in washtubs

When we reached the village in the lake we saw two children paddling their washtubs towards us. This was wierd enough but then we saw that they also had snakes. I shudder to think about the animal welfare implications...


Tonlé Sap, Cambodia’s Great Lake, lies south of Siem Reap. It is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.


The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year's heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake. For most of the year the lake is relatively small, around one meter deep and with an area of 2,700 square km. During the monsoon season, however, the Tonlé Sap river, which connects the lake with the Mekong, reverses its flow. Water is pushed up from the Mekong into the lake, increasing its area to 16,000 square km and its depth to up to nine meters, flooding nearby fields and forests.


It was a great trip. We set off down the river in a long tailed boat and passed numerous houses built on tall stilts until we arrived at the floating village on the edge of the lake which is home to many ethnic Vietnamese people. Once at the village we stopped off at a large floating shop/restaurant, looked at the farmed crocodiles and had a drink. We were approached by children paddling washtubs and holding snakes!


We enjoyed seeing another side of Siem Reap – it’s not only temples!

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Taken on December 20, 2010