Snakebite Mitigation Program
More than 50,000 people die each year due to snake bite in
India and Eastern Ghats is no exception. The World Health Organization classified
snake bite as one of the most neglected tropical diseases in 2017. Besides, several
other snake species are either killed or run over by vehicles almost every day in many
parts across the region. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address these threats
through appropriate site-specific interventions and generate awareness among all
It is very important to note that only four species of snakes living in the Eastern Ghats
are responsible for the high number of serious and fatal snakebites. These are:
Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja), Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), Common Krait
(Bungarus caeruleus) and Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus), referred to as the Big
Four venomous snakes of India. There are no recorded human deaths by King Cobra
bite in the Eastern Ghats, partly because it is a rare species and also because it is a
very intelligent and alert species which knows how to avoid humans.
Most people are unaware of the fact that the King Cobra is a snake eater and targets
large species of snakes including cobras, kraits and vipers and thus is a very important
controller of these snakes which kill so many people.
The rural communities in the Eastern Ghats are mostly poor with marginal economies
and without proper literacy. Lack of knowledge and access to technology makes them
vulnerable to indecisive actions in the event of a human-snake encounter. Appropriate
capacity building measures can result in a behavior change which is mutually beneficial
to both humans and snakes. Therefore, a win-win situation could be achieved.