I have always had an eversion to crowds of people so a trip to the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is always a challenge. Not only is it shoulder to shoulder with fellow shoppers, if it rains - a common occurence in Bangkok - the entire market floods and then you are shopping in several inches of water. The 35-acre market has more than 8,000 stalls and a typical weekend draws 200,000 people all looking for a bargain.
However, this market is of particular interest because it includes a wide selection of wildlife, given the crowds it is the only reason I would attend more than once. In fact I have visited the market several times and am amazed as to the number of squirrels with collars and leashes pinned to vendor's shirts. Of course there are dogs, cats, birds, and many fish. But their are also many amphibians and reptiles for sale. Some are the typical pet shop species, boa constrictors, corn snakes, and iguanas. But, others have plastic bottles filled with unusual snakes, lizards, and frogs - often located under the counter. Here its possible to encounter a Cryptelytrops venustus or a Naja sputatrix. But perhaps most surprisingly some of the large, rare softshell turtles of the Mekong drainage, like Chitra and Peltochelys are forsale from aquariums.
|Cryptelytrops venustus, not from the market.|
Nijman V, Shepherd CR (2011) The Role of Thailand in the International Trade in CITES-Listed Live Reptiles and Amphibians. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17825. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017825