The art of handling snakes with love

Leo Fabian holding a snake in his hand near Rajiv Gandhi Square.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

Several heads turned at the Rajiv Gandhi Square signal as a man on a two-wheeler stopped for the red light, holding a snake in one hand and expertly manoeuvring the vehicle with the other.

Once the lights turned green, Leo Fabian, a hotelier in the city, rode off to the Forest Department to hand over a rat snake that he had caught while on his way to work.

For Mr. Fabian, who works as general manager at the Hotel Villa Des Gouverneurs, it is second nature to catch/rescue all sorts of snakes, from the highly venomous vipers to rat snakes, that stray into city lanes.

He hands the rescued reptiles over to the Forest Department or releases them back into shrubbery on the outskirts of the city.

His lack of fear about serpents is something he picked up in childhood from his father, S. Marshal, who was army man who taught the family to love and coexist with all life forms.

“Handled with the right mix of caution and care, they are no threat to humans. We must learn to correlate the sighting of a snake in an urban environ with the systematic destruction of greenery that has forcefully evicted these reptiles from their natural habitats,” said Mr. Fabian.

Snakes stray into the city because humans have relentlessly damaged their natural homes and once that perspective is understood, killing would not be the default response, he said.

Mr. Fabian has caught and rescued some highly venomous species of snakes such as vipers and cobras across the city, especially the sprawling campus of Jipmer, earning quite a reputation as a snake-catcher.

“However, there is a certain way to catch a snake...you begin with the tail and turn it around quickly manually or with a stick to immobilise it before your hand goes anywhere near its fangs. Once the snake senses that you are not going to hurt it, you will be surprised to find it responsive to your handling,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:24:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/the-art-of-handling-snakes-with-love/article36506905.ece

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