I remember an incident which I read in the news few months ago. It was a snake rescuer who had been bitten by the Cobra which he loved so much that he risked his life to save it. So did the snake not recognize his savior’s love?
In rural India, the betrayal of a friend or a trusted persons often compared to the behavior of a snake that bites the hand that feeds it milk. Both analogies are myths. Neither do snakes have any understanding of human love, nor do they drink milk.
My journey with these beautiful reptiles began when I found myself fascinated about these creatures in a process of exploring myself. And when I decided to know more about them and their importance in the eco-system, I joined this NGO called ‘Friends of Snakes Society (FOSS).’
Snakes make a significant proportion of the middle order predators that keep our natural ecosystems working. Without them, the numbers of prey species would increase to unnatural levels and the predators that eat snakes struggle to find food. The feeding habits of snakes act as a natural form of pest control.
WHY I LOVE SNAKES:
We are all aware of how much prejudice exists against snakes and the people who keep them. These innocent creatures have often been relegated to roles as scary monsters in horror flicks.
I wanted to challenge that view, so I asked some of the personnel of FOSS if they’d be willing to have me as a volunteer of their organization and they readily agreed.
FOSS is a non-profit organization working for the conservation of snakes. Their objectives are:
- To carry out various conservative practices to save snake population, including rescue and relocation of snakes that enter human space.
- Education and awareness programs, eradicating myths and misconceptions about snakes and supporting the local forest department in curbing anti-poaching activities.
- Herpetological research and development.
MY JOURNEY WITH SNAKES
I started learning more about snakes from the members at FOSS and few weeks later, they started teaching me to handle non venomous snakes. I have handled many species like the Boas, Rat snakes, Common Trinket, Green Vine snake, Bronzeback Tree snake, Checkered keelback, to name only a few!
One fine day, there arrived a rare species ‘yellow collared wolf snake’ – one of the actively defensive non-venomous snakes which bit me on my finger while I was trying to handle it. My first bite ever! My resulting apprehensions were quickly negated by fellow members, who assured me that they had experienced bites from various non-venomous species too, as part of the training, rescue, and other operations. However, the case is very different for bites by the venomous species. Specific instruments and precautions are necessary for handling venomous snakes.
This is my journey so far. I think snakes are just beautiful! I really love just seeing, touching, and handling them. It feels so good to have them crawling around my arm and over and into my rolled sleeves.
Although I’m still a little scared now, I’m sure I will gradually lose the fear completely in the coming days.
Sathvik Pingali is currently pursuing his BBA. He is very passionate about photography, blogging, and travelling. He loves nature (to the point of obsession!) and that’s what’s led him to join FOSS. He aspires to be a successful manager and smart investor in the near future.