The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
Authors: Ramesh Roshnath & Nithin Divakar
Abstract: Snakes are feared but largely misunderstood by the public. In India, a country with ancient cultures and traditions, snakes were historically worshiped and their habitats were protected as sacred. However, over time these values have shifted to non-conservative approaches, even with people killing snakes on encountering them. This attitudinal change is an indication of knowledge erosion. A closed-ended survey was conducted for 300 randomly selected people in Kerala, India in the age range of 21-55 years to discern their skills in identifying common snake species, and evaluate their attitudes and knowledge about the importance of snakes in the environment. The study showed a lack of knowledge among the responders regarding snakes. Common snakes were not familiar, venomous and non-venomous snakes were mis-classified, and a lack of knowledge about post-bite treatment was observed. Therefore, there is an urgent need for planned conservation education and awareness programmes to build a snake-friendly society. A better understanding of snakes will supplement conservation in the future, and can minimise human-snake conflicts.
Keywords: snakes, conservation, identification, awareness