Instead of killing snakes, residents should seek the services of snake catchers of the Forest Department to tackle the problem of snakes in their neighbourhood, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden R. Sundararaju said here on Tuesday.

Speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition on snakes at the Government Museum in Egmore, Mr. Sundararaju said “No one is permitted to kill or catch snakes without the permission of officials concerned. Rapid urbanisation is contributing to extinction of many species of snakes.”

Urbanisation and residential development on the outskirts of the city had led to the shrinkage of the habitat of snakes, he said. “The snake catchers with our department catch the snakes in residential neighbourhood and release them in the wild,” said Mr. Sundararaju.

“The exhibition has been organised to create awareness among students on snakes,” said T.S. Sridhar, Principal Secretary, Commissioner of Archaeology and Commissioner of Museums. The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. till February 8.

As most people are not aware of the significance of snakes in making the country successful in agriculture, they try to kill the snakes, he added. “Snakes control the number of rats. The loss of agriculture produce, because of rats, would rise considerably if snake species become extinct,” he added.

“Specimens of more than 50 species of snakes are on display at the exhibition,” said R. Balasubramanian, Curator-Archaeology, Government Museum. The exhibition would help in identifying the venomous and non venomous snakes in the country, said J.R. Asokan, Curator-Zoology, Government Museum.