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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on February 19, 2001 at 14:36:30:
THE HINDU (Chennai, India) 19 February 01 Getting to know city snakes (P. Oppili)
They are worshipped, feared, hated, loved, exploited, and some times exterminated.
Snakes draw extreme reactions. Those who view them in perspective, recognise that they are vital links in the natural balance of creatures.
In a bid to remove misconceptions about the reptiles, the Madras Snake Park Trust has brought out two posters along with a booklet on these reptiles. Funds for the project were provided by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development. Developed and designed by the Trust, the posters depict and highlight the features of the common snakes of Chennai.
The world over 2,750 species of snakes are found of which 244 are found in India. The longest among them is the reticulated python, measuring nearly 840 cm.
Bites from cobras and kraits cause swelling, slurred speech, salivation, breathing difficulty and blurred vision. Immediate treatment is to prevent the patient from getting excited and avert exertion. Chanting an incantation or use of snake stones will not have any effect except to increase the confidence of the patient, points out the poster.
Talking about the Chennai environs, there are 19 species of snakes found in the city. Except the cobra, most of the others are non-poisonous, it says.
About 12,000 posters of snakes have been printed and will be distributed to middle schools in and around the city, where children and people encounter the reptiles, the Snake Trust Director, Dr. V. Kalaiarasan, says.
Already, the Trust has been conducting awareness programmes in middle schools in Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and a few city schools, says Mr. R. Rajarathinam, Deputy Director.
The Trust also held a `Teacher Training Programme', to facilitate the spread of information from the teachers to the children. Under the programme, so far 750 teachers have been trained, they said.
Each poster is priced at Rs 5, and the distribution will be completed before this financial year.