Snake gets spine back, thanks to surgeon

Veterinarian in A.P. carries out spinal surgery to save a six-month-old injured cobra

May 08, 2018 10:56 pm | Updated May 09, 2018 03:53 pm IST - Kakinada

In a country that has one of the world’s highest number of fatalities caused by snake bites, the fear of snakes is a psychological reflex. It typically translates into violence every time the reptile makes a surprise appearance around a human being.

But in a pleasant twist to what could have been a predictable tale of yet another serpentine intruder being beaten to death, a snake lover in Jangareddygudem in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district managed to save the life of a six-month-old cobra by quickly getting a veterinary surgeon to perform surgery on its spine.

Snake Saver Society (SSS) founder Chadalawada Kranthi got a call on Sunday night about a cobra in the bedroom of Brahmananda Rao, a farmer in Ramachandrapuram, 2 km away. He rushed to the village on his two-wheeler. On his way, he got another call informing him that the cobra had been badly beaten with a stick.

First aid

At Mr. Rao’s house, he found the snake’s spine had been broken. Its intestines had spilled out. “Since it was night, I took the snake home and gave it first aid. The next morning it was still alive. Surgery was required, so I took it to the veterinary hospital in Nidadavolu. The surgeon, Moturi Rama Koteswara Rao, operated on the cobra for over an hour. The shattered spine was tied together with sutures and the stomach was stitched up after the intestines were stuffed back in,” Mr. Kranthi said.

Back in the wild

The snake is now in the care of Mr. Kranthi, who has worked for over seven years to protect the reptiles. “Jangareddyguddem is full of snakes. When I was young, I took the buffaloes out for grazing, I would see plenty of them. I started playing with them, holding them by their tails. Later I caught snakes for a livelihood. Today, I release them into the forest,” he said. Most of the snakes he catches are cobras and vipers. Awareness about the importance of protecting snakes has grown in this small town, he said. “These days, if anyone finds a snake in their house, they call the SSS.”

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