The dos and don’ts in rescuing a poisonous snake

The bite of a poisonous snake being rescued can be more vicious than that of a snake in the wild, said herpatologist and specialist in venomous snakes like the King Cobra, Murthy Kantimahanti.

Conducting a training programme for forest officers and rescuers in safe ways to catch venomous snakes organised by the Save the Snakes and Forest Department here on Wednesday, Mr. Murthy said snakes had full control over the dosage of poison they could release with each bite. The cobra had enough venom in its glands to kill 20 persons and a King Cobra to kill a 100 people.

He said if a snake bites four persons, all of them should be treated immediately. In the wild, snakes release limited amount of poison per bite, but if they get a chance to bite a snake rescuer they “pump all the poison in their glands” because they were in a state of panic, Mr. Murthy explained. It was therefore important for the rescuers to be cautious.

Teaching the trainees the “PVC pipe and bag technique”, Mr. Murthy said the snake catching rod should not be used to pin the snake to the ground. That would only irritate that reptile and make it more dangerous. Giving a list of dos and don’ts, Mr. Murthy told the rescuers never to touch the cloth bag or put it in their lap after putting the snake inside. There had been occasions when rescuers were bitten through the bag. It should be kept away from those sitting in the vehicle.

The snakes should be released not too far away from the place rescued but away from human habitation. If the snakes were released very far away they would have a problem re-adjusting, he explained.

Some non-poisonous snakes “mimicked” the patterns of poisonous snakes to keep at bay predators. The Wolf Snake had the same pattern of bands on its body as the deadly Krait and the harmless Green Vine Snake looked very similar to the poisonous Bamboo Pit Viper. To the untrained eye, the non-venomous Common Sand Boa and the python look like the deadly Russell’s Viper. Similarly the non-venomous rat snake which was a friend to man was mistaken for the poisonous cobra.

DFO N Ramachandra Rao said the number of calls about snakes to the Forest Department was on the rise. This would help the forest officer explain to the people which snake was venomous and which was not. Snake Saviours Society founder Kranthi Chadalawada gave tips about how to rescue snakes from farm houses and fields.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 7:26:15 PM |

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