On World Snake Day…
“Slytherin!” shouted the sorting hat. The boy was not happy to be joining the table, of silver serpents though it could his stepping glory to being invincible. —JKRowlings Harry Potter series.
Snakes, are mysterious, terrifying, ambassadors of vice, propagators of victory they are beautiful and scary and an important link in biodiversity.
This reptile is honoured on 16th July through The World Snake Day. Though the origin is obscure, given our fascination for snakes it is legit that we give it a day and honour it.
It is celebrated both in the virtual and real world. Snake lovers rejoice in their common fascination. This was launched in 1967 at a Texas snake farm and debuted into the pop culture in 1970 through a song by the famous rock band the Ramones. Its tourist appeal has gradually grown and has become a must stop destination for road trips in this region.
NGO’s involved with snakes, environment, biodiversity capitalize on this dedication to create awareness programs about snakes for the general public. The snake day contributes to the conservation of this misrepresented reptile. Snakes are found everywhere except Antarctica. About 1/4th the world snake population is venomous and they would rather stay away from human contact.
Despite of being glamorized for snake charmers, and as a snake-territory India is home for four venous snake species.
Snakes are part of every mystic cult and religion. Snakes play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling rodents and pests. For a while there was a fad of having an exotic snake as a pet, but this leads to the species becoming endangered or being introduced to a new area by mistake causes an upset in the ecological balance.
The snake day could be a great time to introduce people to dealing with snakes and snake bites. India has four snake parks, the best being the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park at Katraj Pune. Where 22 species of snakes, including Indian Rock Python, King Cobra and Russell’s viper. There are about 150 snakes in the park. The Park conducts awareness programs during Nagpanchami to stop the ill treatment of snakes.
The Parassinikkadavu Snake Park at Kannur is a snake researcher’s paradise and is 2kms off the NH17, this park houses, the spectacled cobra, King Cobra, Krait, Pit Vipers, and Python. The park conducts live show where trained experts play and interact with snake so that various myths about the snakes can be eradicated. It has been proposed to start the snake venom laboratory here, to cater to research.
The Guindy National Park houses the Guindy snake park. It has a collection of snake species such as King Cobra, Pythons and Vipers. It was formerly known as the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.
The Bannerghatta Snake Park 21km away from Bangalore, houses the crocodile park, the Butterfly Park and the Snake park. For those who are not comfortable with snakes the Bannegatta Snake Park also has elephant rides and other adventure activities.
The snake day dedication is about honouring diversity, for diversity is the survival factor for the community itself. A community of hundred million species can survive anything short of global catastrophe, within that hundred million will be thousands, that could survive a global temperature drop of twenty degree – which would be lot more devastating than it sounds. Within that hundred million will be thousands that could survive a global rise of twenty degree. But a community of hundred species or a thousand species has almost no survival value at all.
images courtesy Google Images.