Friday, February 1, 2008

Protection against snakes

While in Kerala last month I happened to briefly visit a pineapple farm. The rows and rows of the plant was a lovely sight. Almost all of them had mature fruits ready for plucking. In fact, the harvesting was due a week later.

One strange thing I noticed was long pieces of old fishing nets strewn on the ground at several places on the plantation. The owner of the farm explained to me that the nets were cheap and efficient snake traps. The reptiles get entangled in the mesh as they crawl along.

He went on to explain that the method offered effective protection against snakes. He has arrangements for collecting discarded nets from fishermen; they cost next to nothing. According to him often, in the mornings, snakes are found trapped in the net.

I think this line of defense against reptiles is a good idea. Perhaps it is already well known, but is new information to me

I have heard it said that snakes shy away from places where there are tulasi (basil) plants but could not find any authority to rely on. However, in the United States there is a product named Snake Away. It is a repellent which is claimed to keep reptiles away by its odor. The University of Florida has, reportedly, tested and certified it under the EPA Testing & Protocol. Perhaps basil has similar properties.

There is a useful FDA sponsored article on snakebites by John Henkel titled For Goodness Snakes. You can download it at:


Also see: Mushrooms, fungi: Useful information


Sunita Mohan said...

Believe me, tulsi doesnt keep snakes away. I've got this patch of land in my garden which has got quite a few tulsi bushes and that just happens to be the regular thoroughfare for all the resident Russell's Vipers. Plus a few visiting ones, I suspect.
Velliammachi used to swear by this creeper which had a strong garlicky smell. She was so sure of its snake-warding properties that I planted one near a fence here. No luck, I'm afraid. I've seen cobras slithering over that fence right under this creeper.
So far the only preventive I could come up with was to keep the whole place clear of debris or low-growing plants where the snakes could conceal themselves. And of course, to make sure that our place is not attractive to the snakes natural food, such as rats, frogs, etc. Thats really tough but not impossible.
Having a couple of dogs running around the place also helps because they spot / sniff out the snakes and keep them away.
The fishing net idea sounds a good one to try out but I wonder who's going to catch the snake once its entangled? Or do they wait till its dead?

Unknown said...

Sunita, it is an interesting comment. My detailed response is in today's post:
Snakes: If you catch one, what do you do with it?

Thanks for the prompt.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why there is a need to catch the snakes or impede them unless they are trying to eat people.

Sunita Mohan said..., in my part of the world, I live on a farm that is quite cut off from emergency medical facilities. We have farm workers working in potentially dangerous proximity with extremely venomous snakes and no access to anti-venom(the nearest hospital with anti-venom is about 2 hours away).
Plus, we also have our small children running around in the same surroundings. Naturally, our instincts are to keep them as far away from harm as possible.
So I make sure that my home and garden is not a very attractive place for snakes.
I have had a cobra almost tagging my son while he was playing. I have also had my husband accidentally stepping on a rat-snake when walking in the garden.
I dont have any problem with the non-venomous snakes - we have a massive rat-snake that is a real beauty. It even slithers up 30-ft tall coconut trees after nesting crows. But the resident cobras and Russell's Vipers really worry me.No, we dont catch them or try to get rid of them. We just keep our distance and try to make sure that they do too.
Unfortunately Nature has done such a great job at camouflaging them that you could almost step on a Russell's Viper before you even realise it is there. True, they dont eat people. But if you've ever seen the effect of a Russell's Viper's venom on a person, you wouldnt want one anywhere near your loved ones.

padmaja said...

best bet are dogs ,my kutti daschund was a great one for sniffing out snakes and barking them at bay till the snake babu or the herpetologist came and took it away.

Unknown said...

Padmaja, thank you for the comment. I am sure that the information you have provided would be useful to others.

padmaja said...

hello sir thanks for ur reply.In fact I like and admire ur writings and
thoughts.I am a housewife with a lot of time on my hands. I have written a
novel but u know new writer , no one cares. So it is still with me. Sigh.
Now I am thinking of releasing a newsletter about the area I live in. Is it
done ? Are their any legal formalities attached ? Please tell me as I do not

Unknown said...

Padmaja, you deserve congratulations. Completing a novel, whether good or bad, is an achievement by itself. Don't be too sure that no one would bother. Publishers are on the look out for creations by new writers.

What I suggest that you ask a few of your friends who have the reading habit evaluate your work. If they genuinely like it, contact a publisher. I can give you some names.

Writing about people, places and things that one knows is the ideal thing to do. As long as you dont defame one and are not offensive, I don't see any problem.

All the best.

padmaja said...

Oh vow , I could cry. First time getting a positive reply. Most of my friends have read and approved of it but well.... If you could help that would be heaven. Thanks for ur reply any way.

Unknown said...

padmaja, suggest you visit the following site about your novel:
There would be other websites also dealing with publication.
My email id is given on the blog in case you wish to contact me directly.

padmaja said...

Will do. thanx.U r an angel

Chris Jacson (aka Artifact) said...

The best way I have found to protect my self from snake bites and to give me a bit of peace of mind is to wear snake protective clothing such as(snake proof gaiters being my favorite form as they are the least restrictive and least warm. With all of the traveling you do I would be considering getting a pair as under developed countries tend to have a lack of antivenin on hand, as well as other medical equipment.