KOTTAYAM: In an attempt to record the species of snakes in Kerala, the department of Forensic Science at Kottayam Medical College, Kottayam, will open a photo gallery of snakes in the college premises. The exhibition of snake varieties, to be commenced on Thursday, apart from being a repository of information on snakes, will also be of immense help to the medicos in identifying the snakes and the type of venom, the medicos opined.The exhibition will give valuable information on snakes in Kerala. There are 101 species of snakes out of which five species are sea snakes. Among the 96 species of land snakes only 14 species are harmful to humans. Venom of Vipers and Pit Vipers (Family Viperidae) are haemotoxic. Spectacled Cobra, King Cobra, Common Krait and Coral Snakes are neurotoxic. There are 14 species of mildly venomous snakes which include vine snakes, cat snakes, flying snake and mud snakes.
“Usually the mildly venomous snakes are not harmful to humans. The rest of the species (68) are non-venomous. There are many non-venomous snakes which mimic the venomous snakes. It is very difficult to differentiate between venomous snakes and their mimics,” said Dr Jinesh P S, senior resident at the Forensic Department.
Jinesh added that swift identification of snake in causalities will be helpful in diagnosis and treatment. “In many occasions, doctors in the causalities find it difficult to identify the species of snakes and nature of their venom,” he said.
The photographs are collected from many eminent research workers in Ophiology and Taxonomy.