How to coexist with snakes

…Continued from from Snakes in India – Angels in disguise

Snakes in India - King Cobra Venomous
King Cobra Venomous

Relocating snakes will not solve the problem, as there is no guarantee that you will not see another snake in its place. Besides, chances of the relocated snake’s survival are bleak. And even if it manages to survive, we are introducing a new predator to another place that could cause damage to the ecosystem. Snakebites do take place just like road accidents. If you are not cautious while crossing the road or riding/driving chances are you will meet with an accident.

So prevention is always better than cure!

If you live in an area with thick vegetation in the surroundings, there will be a possibility of snakes’ presence, so exercise caution.

  • Never walk outside in the dark without a flashlight
  • Don’t walk through tall grass without checking in front of you
  • Don’t stick your hand in the fuse box without checking first or blindly jump into a hedge to retrieve a ball

It’s generally a good practice. It doesn’t have be a snake always; there could be a scorpion for all you know.

Symptoms of snakebite

Snakebite leaves a characteristic mark of a single or double fang, especially if it is a venomous one.

  • Pain and swelling at site or the entire limb
  • Frothing or drooling
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle rigidity (stiffness) and fever
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Person may become drowsy, dizzy and may lose consciousness

How to handle snakebite?

Here is what wildlife expert and conservationist Gerry Martin had to say:

Snakes in India - Malabar Pitviper Venomous
Malabar Pitviper Venomous

As always, it is really important to do the things right if you are in a situation where someone has been bitten by a snake.

  • Firstly, stay calm! As trivial as it may sound, it makes everything from the victim’s ability to deal with the situation to your ability to make decisions much better. Panicking aggravates the situation by circulating the venom-mixed blood throughout the victim’s body.
  • Try your best to immobilize the victim. Don’t spend too much time on this. Simply put the limb in a sling or even just get the patient to lie down if you can.
  • Go straight to a hospital. Along the way, keep an eye for any symptoms such as blurry speech, droopy eyes, swelling and back pain. Knowing what symptoms appeared when will help a good doctor deal with the treatment.
  • The only known cure for a venomous snakebite is the anti-venom serum that needs to be administered intravenously under medical supervision. Do not go to anyone who claims any other form of remedy. Do not tamper with the wound. You cannot suck out the venom. Doing anything to the bite could cause a lot of damage. Do not tie a tourniquet!

Finally, if you leave your prejudices behind and look at snakes, you’ll see snakes are pretty creatures too. You’ll find them in interesting sizes, shapes, colors and patterns. After all, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Mamta Naidu
I’m a Hyderabadi living in Bangalore. An IT professional and when I’m not doing IT stuff you’ll find me spending most of my time around horses and snakes with a camera dangling around my neck. A wildlife enthusiast, kicked about anything that has to do with conservation, wildlife or otherwise. I also love to trek and travel the world. Mighty and addictive Himalayas is my favorite place in the world. I capture my experiences and express my feelings through photography and writing.