Friends of Snakes

There are over 250 species of snakes in India but in fact only 4 of them can do you any serious harm. We learnt this recently at a presentation given by a Hyderabad association called The Friends of Snakes Society.

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So, yes, snakes do have some friends but I must admit I am not one of their biggest fans. Here are a few of the interesting things we learnt at the hands-on show.

Most people are terrified of snakes and their first reaction if they see one is to panic. If you see one, you can be sure it has seen you too and will do its utmost to get away from you, they are not naturally aggressive animals and give various sorts of warnings before they attack (hissing, raising their heads, rattling their tails…), if you should really get too close for comfort. Most people get bitten because they surprise a snake, in long grass for example, farmers are by far the main victims, they disturb snakes while working in the fields.

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Up to 30% of the crops in India are lost to rodents: rats, mice… Snakes are a vital part of the eco-system because they eat the rodents that wreak the damage. This is also the main reason why snakes venture into the streets and around houses – as there tends to be a lot of rubbish lying around, rats are common and the snakes are attracted by them, not the people! So the best way to keep your garden snake-free is to keep it clear of any refuse.

The Friends of Snakes society get about 20 calls a month from people who have found snakes in their garden and want them removed, when the weather gets really hot, the reptiles are attracted into the cool, freshly watered plant beds. The Friends capture the offending snakes and take them out into the country to release them although they do keep a few in stock (see the photos) for their presentations. Their rescue service costs 350 R. Last year the 130 members rescued 5000 snakes in and around Hyderabad.

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There are various types of water snakes too – apparently there is no problem if I come across a snake in the water at the swimming pool because none of the freshwater snakes are poisonous, however at Christmas in Goa, we should be more careful because all the saltwater snakes are deadly poisonous. The chances of our coming face to face with one are pretty small though because they are not very common.

There are “only” 4 species of venomous snake in India: Common Krait, Common Cobra, Russell’s Viper and the Saw-Scaled Viper. They did show us 3 out of the 4 but I’m not sure I would really recognize them again (apart from the Cobra, by far the most beautiful and least aggressive) so I’ll just ring the Friends if I see any around our building! We do also have a resident mongoose who must live somewhere round the back of the building so I’m sure I can count on him too.

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The man who presented the snakes had been bitten several times himself both by poisonous and harmless snakes. A non-poisonous snake bite just needs disinfecting, rather like an insect bite. Should you be unlucky enough to be bitten by one of the bad guys, if left untreated, death will follow in between 6 and 20 hours, depending on the amount of venom injected by the snake. Antidotes do exist and are stocked in all the hospitals, so unless you are really out in the wilds, you should be able to get treatment. Mind you the presenter had lost 2 fingers to his snake friends, he was bitten by poisonous snakes on 2 occasions and the venom had already damaged his fingers beyond repair by the time he got to the hospital and the fingers had to be amputated.

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9 Responses to “Friends of Snakes”

  1. Rutika Says:

    Hi

    If we have a snake in the house or around it in goa, is there anyone we can contact for catching the snake?

    Please let me know.

    Thanks
    Rutika

    • bevinindia Says:

      If you are in Hyderabad, you can call the Friends of Snakes Society, my husband has already used their services a few times at his company, they ask for a small fee
      Address
      Flat Number 116, SaiPuri Colony, Sainikpuri P O, Sainikpuri, Secunderabad – 500094
      Contact Information
      Telephone: 93913-30997, 2711-2719 (Rajkumar)

  2. T.G. Venkatnarayanan Says:

    Unfortunately your telephone numbers are out dated. Please update the correct number.

    9160509540 and 9160509570 these two numbers I believe belong to Nehru zoological park and they are also not working! So, what big thing you guys are doing without updating your
    contact numbers. Be serious if you have really the mind to help people who get panicky when they see the slithing thing around their garden.

  3. bevinindia Says:

    New phone numbers for Friends of Snakes in Hyderabad:

    92462 76253
    97004 87563

  4. Yugandhar Says:

    Unfortunately, Raj Kumar ( founder of the society ) died recently from malaria.

    http://telugufirst.com/ap-news/editors-choice/1111-mosquito-kills-friends-of-snake-society-rajkumar.html

  5. bevinindia Says:

    Yes I heard about Raj Kumar’s death, such a shame, we will regret him. However Friends of Snakes appears to be living on as a tribute to him.

  6. Avinash Says:

    Friends of snakes – Rescue helpline
    83742 33366

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