Snakes continue to instil a deep-rooted terror in people that many reptiles cannot parallel. If you come across a snake inside the comfort of your home, understandably your first instinct would be to panic. However, amidst our internalised angst we cannot forget that snakes are living beings worthy of our compassion. Monsoons in India bring about a much-needed escape from the jarring summer heat, but with burrows, drains and culverts flooding up across cities, many ophidians have been stripped of their homes.
India has over 350 unique species of snakes, of which only 60 are venomous. Isolated from their environments, these helpless reptiles are unable to navigate unfriendly terrains. They seek shelter on higher grounds, often ending up inside your homes. The Wildlife SOS team has rescued snakes from the most bizarre locations, from car wheels and aeroplanes to the Taj Mahal!
Read more about them here: https://wildlifesos.org/chronological-news/top-ten-unusual-reptile-rescues/
With the country experiencing heavy downpours and strong gusty winds, snake sightings are on the rise. If you do encounter a snake in your home, here’s what you should do:
- Leave it alone: Snakes are generally shy and will not attack unless provoked. It’s best to not violate their territory and let them be. Instead, carefully get everyone including your pets out of the room immediately. Shut the door and fill the gap underneath with a towel, then call for assistance.
- Never attempt to catch or scare the snake: Most snakes only attack when agitated or provoked. If you attempt to capture a snake, chances are that it will act defensive and bite in retaliation so it’s best to steer clear. Moreover, not everyone can identify venomous snakes from non-venomous ones so why risk the odds?
- Keep an eye on its movement: If you see a snake outside, carefully observe where it goes. If it’s heading for the bush or an open paddock you probably won’t see it again. If it enters your house or goes into a shed or under a vehicle, immediately let the authorities know.
- Be alert: If you have tall grass or dense shrubbery around your house, make sure to trim them periodically. Also, avoid accumulating rubbish around your area. Rats and mice are a snake’s go-to prey, so it’s best to clean up and control rodents on your property.
- Do not panic if bitten: If you are ever bitten by a snake, try to sit as calmly as possible. When you are still, your heartbeat is measured. This regulates the speed at which the venom moves around your body. If you have access to a first aid kit, wrap a compression bandage around the bitten limb, starting just above the fingers or toes and moving upwards on the bitten limb as far as can be reached, without covering the bite or call an ambulance. Go to the nearest hospital as soon as you can. All government hospitals are mandated to carry polyvalent anti-venom for all the big four venomous snake species found in India. Always make it a point to remember what the snake looked like so you can tell your doctor.
- Call for help: When you spot a snake do not attempt to take matters into your own hands. The best thing to do is contact wildlife experts like Wildlife SOS or the Forest Department and wait for them to arrive. Describe the snake in detail over the phone or try and send a picture so they can guide you accordingly.
Wildlife SOS runs a 24-hour hotline in Delhi NCR: +91-9871963535, Agra & Mathura in Uttar Pradesh: +91-9917109666 & Vadodara, Gujarat: +91-9825011117. If you come across any wild animal in distress, please alert our rescue team on these numbers as soon as possible.
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