mobile - desktop
3 months for $50.00
News & Events:
Inviato da Wes von Papinešu on Dicembre 10, 1999 at 15:54:12:
GOA NOW (India) May 99 Snakes Alive (Rahul Alvares)
India has been the land of snakes and snake charmers for centuries, and many Indians worship the snake. Yet these creatures are feared by many and this results in their being treated with great cruelty, often for the benefit of unsuspecting tourists.
Before I go any further, let me tell you India has 238 species of snakes. Of this only a fraction are poisonous and only four fatal. The Cobra, Krait, Russel's Viper and the Saw-scaled viper make up the 'Big Four'.
Most snakes have bad eyesight and are actually deaf, responding only to vibrations from the ground. They use their tongue to detect prey and enemies but are scared of humans and will try to escape if confronted. If you confront a snake, don't kill it. Even the Big Four will be most happy to slither away from you! Stories of revengeful snakes are just that -stories! Snakes' brains are so small they do not recall much that happens. They live by their instincts instead. If you do see a snake, you can call 278740 and I will come to collect it, care for if it is sick or hurt, and release it back into the wild.
So, back to tourism and snakes. Snake charmers are found in places like the Anjuna flea market and Old Goa's St. Francis Xavier Church. Here tourists are attracted to posing for photos with 'deadly snakes' or watching snake dances.
The snake charmers are poor folk who catch snakes and exhibit them to make a living. They usually have 2-3 cobras, a python and a rat snake. Since cobras are venomous their fangs are brutally removed and their poison glands cut-so much for deadly creatures! Without their glands the snakes starve to death which may take anything up to seven months. Most foreigners are under the impression that the snakes are being charmed by the music.
Charmed, my foot! Snakes sit up as a defensive reaction to the torture they are put through. It is pure self defence from a frightened and stressed creature.
Other snakes fare no better. Pythons have their mouths stitched together so they cannot bite those provoking them. Some snakes are force fed eggs and milk, food they would never eat in the wild. This keeps them on edge and therefore moving -a happy snake would much prefer to be lying still. Even in the best zoos snakes die from mistreatment. If you want to help put an end to this needless cruelty, please do not encourage the snake charmers with your patronage. If they stop making money, these cruel tricks will be no more. Remember it is an offence to catch, hunt, kill or keep snakes. If you want to know more about snakes, read about them and visit snake parks where they are cared for properly. Do your bit to discourage these cruel practices. Holiday photos are the real illusion here-these are neither dangerous nor charmed creatures, just very unhappy ones.
(Snake-catcher and lover, Rahul has written a book, Free from School, an account of his time out with snakes and crocs. Ö Your teenage kids will simply love reading it.)