Cambodian reptile cafe slithers into people’s hearts

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This is the bizarre reptile cafe where customers can sip on coffee while getting up close and personal with snakes, iguanas and scorpions.

The cafe is a first for Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and comes hot on the heels of popular cat cafes in the city.

The owner, Chea Raty, launched the business to revamp the skin-crawling reputation of lizards and snakes and convince haters that they are simply misunderstood.

A customer takes a selfie with a ball python at the reptile cafe that has just opened in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh 

A customer takes a selfie with a ball python at the reptile cafe that has just opened in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh 

A customer takes a selfie with a ball python at the reptile cafe that has just opened in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh 

The cafe is a first for Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and comes hot on the heels of popular cat cafes in the city 

The cafe is a first for Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and comes hot on the heels of popular cat cafes in the city 

The cafe is a first for Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and comes hot on the heels of popular cat cafes in the city 

As well as snakes, customers can also get up close and personal with other animals including iguanas, lizards and scorpions

As well as snakes, customers can also get up close and personal with other animals including iguanas, lizards and scorpions

As well as snakes, customers can also get up close and personal with other animals including iguanas, lizards and scorpions

Chea Raty, the owner of the cafe, launched his business to revamp the skin-crawling reputation of lizards and snakes

Chea Raty, the owner of the cafe, launched his business to revamp the skin-crawling reputation of lizards and snakes

Chea Raty, the owner of the cafe, launched his business to revamp the skin-crawling reputation of lizards and snakes

Customer are free to enter the cafe and buy a coffee. They can then request which type of reptile they would like to sit with 

Customer are free to enter the cafe and buy a coffee. They can then request which type of reptile they would like to sit with 

Customer are free to enter the cafe and buy a coffee. They can then request which type of reptile they would like to sit with 

While stroking the scaly neck wattle of an iguana, the 32-year-old told AFP: ‘They will love them like I do.’

The walls of his cafe are lined with lit-up glass tanks containing snakes of various lengths and colours, while a bright macaw screeches in the corner.

Some visitors look hesitantly at the cages, others are bolder in their embrace of the creatures.

There’s no entry fee, so visitors can order a coffee and request a sit-down with a serpentine friend from one of the tanks.

A customer sips on a cool drink while a ball python wraps around his left arm and he holds an iguana in his right hand

A customer sips on a cool drink while a ball python wraps around his left arm and he holds an iguana in his right hand

A customer sips on a cool drink while a ball python wraps around his left arm and he holds an iguana in his right hand


A female customer holds a ball python up for the camera

A female customer holds a ball python up for the camera

She gives the snake a gentle pat as she enjoys her coffee

She gives the snake a gentle pat as she enjoys her coffee

A female customer holds a ball python up for the camera, left, before she gives the reptile a gentle pat as she enjoys her coffee

The walls of the cafe are lined with lit-up glass tanks containing snakes of various lengths and colours as well as other creatures 

The walls of the cafe are lined with lit-up glass tanks containing snakes of various lengths and colours as well as other creatures 

The walls of the cafe are lined with lit-up glass tanks containing snakes of various lengths and colours as well as other creatures 

An ice tea for a young customer instantly becomes a cool object for a yellow-and-cream-coloured ball python to twist its body around.

A woman giggles as an albino python creeps from her shoulder and wraps behind her head.

Nearby, a bearded dragon iguana perches on a table while a man gently pets it.

Customer Y Navim was wary at first of a corn snake, an orange-coloured serpent that kills its prey through constriction. But it was soon resting on her palm as she sipped her coffee.

‘This cafe is quite unique,’ the 22-year-old said. ‘I’ve never seen some of these reptiles before. They are beautiful and scary.’

To critics who say the animals should be left alone in the wild, Mr Raty says his human-bred creatures 'cannot survive there'

To critics who say the animals should be left alone in the wild, Mr Raty says his human-bred creatures 'cannot survive there'

To critics who say the animals should be left alone in the wild, Mr Raty says his human-bred creatures ‘cannot survive there’

Women, Mr Raty says, are providing an unexpected boost. 'They put the pythons around their neck, take selfies, and they are happy'

Women, Mr Raty says, are providing an unexpected boost. 'They put the pythons around their neck, take selfies, and they are happy'

Women, Mr Raty says, are providing an unexpected boost. ‘They put the pythons around their neck, take selfies, and they are happy’

One customer at the reptile cafe puckers up to give a green iguana a kiss. Business is still slow-going at the cafe due to the common fears of snakes and lizards

One customer at the reptile cafe puckers up to give a green iguana a kiss. Business is still slow-going at the cafe due to the common fears of snakes and lizards

One customer at the reptile cafe puckers up to give a green iguana a kiss. Business is still slow-going at the cafe due to the common fears of snakes and lizards

To critics who say the animals should be left alone in the wild, Mr Raty says his human-bred creatures ‘cannot survive there’. All of his cafe creatures are imported from Thailand.

Business is still slow-going due to the common fears of snakes and lizards.

But women, Mr Raty says, are providing an unexpected boost.

He says: ‘They put the pythons around their neck, take selfies, and they are happy.’


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