Snakes in India – India has often been called the land of Snake charmers by the westerns. However, lately, our Prime Minister Modi Ji made a difference saying “India is no more only a land of snake charmers rather even downgraded and plays with a mouse in computers and rules the whole software world from India to Silicon Valley”.
Snakes in India
He perfectly described the India in just one statement but the fact can’t be denied. India certainly houses unnumbered of various species of snakes that are essential to the environment but to some extent, are harmful to human beings.
Unnumbered of people die just because of snake bites yearly. Arguably, the snake is the only creature that can be found in all types of environments from the plain earth to mountains, trees, deserts, fresh water and even in the ocean.
Generally, people have a terrifying fear of snakes but it is said that the snakes don’t harm anyone unless they are provoked.
Types Of Snakes
The legless, carnivorous, and dangerous reptile so-called snake is classified in two categories- poisonous and non-poisonous. Within these two categories, over 2700 species of snakes are found on the earth of which only 270 are considered to be poisonous.
Antarctica is the only place on the earth where not even a single snake is found. Talking about India, more than 270 species of snakes has been sighted and only the few of them are considered to be venomous.
All snakes don’t possess venom glands and the one who possesses falls under the poisonous category. Its bite is fatal to human beings. Snakes are of different colours, sizes, and capabilities. A snake can grow only up to 3.5 inches or it can grow up to monstrous 30 feet.
It’s all about the species of that particular snake. Most species of snakes can swim and climb.
Food and Feeding of Snakes
All snakes are carnivorous by nature but the food preference varies from species to species. Generally, they eat rodents, insects, and lizards and thus save ecosystem from the harmful rodents and the pests. Sea snakes feed on fishes and Pythons usually prey on the birds and medium-sized mammals.
And the King Cobras? They eat other snakes. Maybe, that’s why they the most venomous. All snakes have the capability to store up the food in their stomach. Therefore, they prey once in a while. Snakes depend on their tongue to sense the smell and pick up the scent that’s why they keep flicking their tongue out.
Mythological importance of snake in India
The existence of snakes on the earth dates back to around 135 million years ago. Snakes are definitely lethal creatures but in some religions, they are held in high esteem. In Hinduism, Snakes represent divinity, eternity as well as materiality. Indian snakes especially the Nagas are worshiped as a God with an open heart.
They are offered milk, prayers, and respect. According to Indian mythology, there are innumerable reasons and stories to worship the serpents. The prominently held view behind worshiping the snakes is that they are associated with both Lord Shiva and Vishnu. In India, in almost every temple, there is a statue of the snake beside the Gods.
Not only this, according to Indian Vedas, there is also a world of snakes exist and is called Nagalok. Many Hindus believe that all the omens and the evils can be removed or lessened just by performing the ‘Naga Puja’. In India, the devotion for snakes is to the extent that in 2006, a 30 years old lady got married to a snake, Naga.
Poisonous snakes in India
India’s tropical conditions and the dense forests make it a fitting home to a wide array of giant, venomous and terrifying snakes. Out of 270 species, around 60 are the lethal ones including six highly venomous and deadly species. Once they bite anyone, there is no way to save the life.
The Indian Krait is so deadly that its one bite can kill 60 people. While other poisonous snakes can also cause to paralyzing the muscles, respiratory, failures and cardiac arrest. According to the records, every year around 20000 people dies due to snake bites in India.
Below take a look at the six deadliest snakes in India.
- Indian Cobra, Spectacled Cobra
- Indian Krait
- Russell’s Viper
- Saw-scaled Viper
- The King Cobra
- Indian Pit Vipers
Non-venomous snakes in India
As we know India houses approximately 10% of the total snake species found on the earth but all are not the poisonous.
Some are the deadliest, some are the lethal while some are also non-poisonous. The one, who doesn’t possess venom glands, doesn’t have any poison. In fact, the majority of snakes found in India are not harmful. Here is a list of major non-venomous snakes found in India.
- Common Rat Snake
- Wolf Snake
- Checkered Keelback
- Green Tree Vine
- Common Cat Snake
- Common Sand Boa
- Indian Rock Python
- Common Trinket
- Banded Racer
- Common Bronzeback
Scientific facts about snakes
When it’s a matter of snakes, the whole thing goes around the myths. Science has nothing much to say about the snakes.
According to myths, countless bizarre and unbelievable facts are related to snakes. They are true or not? Only God knows. Let’s see what science has researched and concluded about the snakes.
- According to Indian mythology, the five-headed or seven-headed snakes are also found. The snake-bed, in which Lord Vishnu lies, has seven heads. We all know that but science vouch that maximum two-headed snakes have been sighted on the earth. Now, it’s not sure whether they are still in existence or gone extinct.
- As per science, in snake charming performance, snakes don’t respond to the sound, but to the movements. Researchers say when they don’t have ears, how can they respond.
- Flying snakes are still a heated matter of debate. Many people claim that they have seen flying snakes. Thanks to the science which made this thing clear. According to the researchers, there is no specific species of flying snakes exist rather some snakes have the capability to keep their body in the air long enough to 24 meters before falling down on the ground. In between this distance, they swing their body and hang from one branch or object to other.
- Snakes are unable to close their eyes and can’t even blink. They sleep with their eyes open.
- Snakes couldn’t survive in cold zones.
- Snake’s sense power is too strong. They sense the approaching of human or animals by detecting the vibrations in the air and on the ground.
- Snakes are capable of opening their mouth up to 150 degrees.
In India and other neighboring countries, snakes are the very revered reptiles. Many people avoid killing them.
Even snakes refrain from human beings and don’t cause any harm unless you’re not teasing them. In Indian Vedas, Puranas, Myths or whichever religious book you see, snakes are regarded as the God and hold a very strong religious significance.
So, no one can deny the Epics. We can’t stop treating them as a God and worshiping but please be careful. A snake is a snake after all.