ANDHRA PRADESH

Charming his way with snakes

COOL CUSTOMER: Rajkumar with a python during an awareness programme in Vijayawada. PHOTO: RAJU V.

COOL CUSTOMER: Rajkumar with a python during an awareness programme in Vijayawada. PHOTO: RAJU V.  



G. Ravikiran

Rajkumar goes about creating awareness about reptiles



Rajkumar offers tips on how to respond to snakebite emergenciesHe has formed the 'Friends of Snakes Society' in Hyderabad



VIJAYAWADA: A reptile enthusiast since childhood, he jumps at the hiss of a snake and befriends them. The flashy fangs, scaly skin and hissing sounds are a perpetual attraction for him. His hobby has only become stronger over the years, making Rajkumar an amateur herpetologist. Observing the general aversion to snakes among many people, he is on a mission to remove these fears and misgivings and create awareness about snakes, especially among children. During programmes at different places, Rajkumar offers tips on how to quickly respond to snakebite emergencies.

On an invitation from a local school, Rajkumar was in the city recently and brought with him dozens of snakes both venomous and non-venomous kind. 'Soft natured', 'warm' and 'friendly' is how he describes them, and says that he likes the work of endearing snakes to people. Along with several like-minded people, he formed the 'Friends of Snakes Society' in Hyderabad.

Rajkumar gave a demonstration at Kennedy School here and also before the elite audience at the district conference of Rotary International district 3020 at Andhra Loyola College.

Harmless nature

Explaining the harmless nature of snakes, especially the non-venomous ones, Rajkumar dwelt upon several reasons as to why people need not get panicky when bitten even by a venomous snake. Anti-venom drugs were available at all places these days, he said, and remarked: "I was bitten by different kinds of snakes 21 times. I have plenty of experience with snakes. That is why I like to go around and remove the fear of snakes from people's minds." Holding a python, Rajkumar explained its features and habits to curious onlookers at the Rotary conference. The 10-year-old, 15-kg python looked composed in its master's care. Cobras, Russel Vipers and tree snakes were part of Rajkumar's show.

Snake park

Rajkumar was happy that the Government of Andhra Pradesh was extending cooperation in setting up a snake park near Shamirpet. In his view, a full-fledged park would create necessary facilities for research on reptiles. Rajkumar said his visits to various zoos abroad gave him an idea of how to set up a snake park. At Bronx Zoo, New York, he had the opportunity to see Anaconda, a 25-ft and 200-kg reptile.



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