The Temple of Pythons is a site of historical and modern symbolism and spiritual practice in Ouidah, Benin.
The snakes are a major totem for followers of Vodun, a religion practiced by groups of people within West and Central African nations such as Ghana, Togo, and Benin.
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Snakes are important religious symbols and are highly respected.
According to reports, a rainbow serpent named Dan is an important deity that serves as a middleman between the living and the spirits.
The serpents play a large role in the spirituality of Ouidah.
Reports on the internet showed that the king of Ouidah took refuge in a forest from those seeking to kill him during a war in the 1700s.
When he was in hiding, pythons emerged from the forest and prevented him from being captured.
To commemorate their role in his protection, he ordered the creation of three monuments.
Ouidah’s Temple of Pythons is a concrete building topped with a clay roof.
Inside, there’s a pit filled with dozens of snakes from a species known as the Royal python either slinking around or tangled together. It is reported that approximately sixty pythons make this temple their home.
The snakes aren’t fed, though they are let out about once a week to prey upon chickens and mice and they occasionally make their way into local homes, where they’re treated as ordinary guests before being returned to the temple.
The snakes are harmless and visitors are permitted to hold them.
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