Did you already know that the Malabar Pit Viper, a venomous snake present in evergreen, semi-evergreen hill forests and plantations in Kerala, can seem in almost 15 totally different color morphs — from greenish to golden yellow to brown and golden brown hues? Or that, opposite to assumptions, there has not been a single recorded case of a snake chew casualty in Kerala from the King Cobra, the world’s longest venomous snake?
These, and plenty of extra, fascinating nuggets of data will be present in Snakepedia, an exhaustive cell app devoted to snakes in Kerala. The software is the results of years of painstaking analysis and documentation by a various staff of scientific medical doctors, scientists, photographers and wildlife fans settled in numerous corners of the globe on a purely voluntary foundation.
While there have been cell apps up to now which have explored snake species within the state, Snakepedia is probably probably the most exhaustive and user-friendly platform, serving to to coalesce not simply primary data of snakes for the typical layman, but in addition a variety of particulars reminiscent of first assist for chew instances, contact numbers of rescuers and hospitals and breaking myths and superstitions round snakes. The app, promoted by the likes of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and state finance minister TM Thomas Isaac, has predictably racked up near 25,000 downloads on PlayStore in simply 4 days of its launch.
Dr Jinesh PS, one of many key brains behind the app, stated, “We have been hearing news of children dying in snake-bite cases due to unscientific reasons. That’s on one side. On the other side, people bring the snake that they beat to death to the hospitals along with snake-bite victims. That’s totally unnecessary because in India, 99.99% of deaths as a result of snake bite are due to just four species of snakes: Krait, Cobra, saw-scaled viper and Russell’s viper. The antivenom to the poison of all these snakes is the same, so there’s really no need to identify the species of the snake. There’s no difference in treatment, only symptoms and test results matter.”
“So on one side, there are deaths of people and on the other side, snakes get killed for no reason. It was in this context that we decided to build the app as part of creating awareness. From 2014-15, we have had a Facebook group with around 30,000 members where discussions about snakes and bite cases regularly take place. We also have two WhatsApp groups of emergency doctors working in hospitals in Kerala where we help to identify snake bite marks for further diagnosis and treatment. When the doctor realises that it’s the bite of a non-venomous snake, there’s a sense of relief,” he stated, stressing that folks should not delay searching for medical assist at hospitals in case of a snake chew.
While the concept for Snakepedia first cropped up round 5 years in the past, the venture picked up tempo particularly within the final one 12 months, with medical doctors like Jinesh, settled in Australia, coordinating with a big staff of snake specialists, photographers and designers in Kerala over WhatsApp teams and Google Meet video calls. They pored via present information of in-house specialists and numerous scientific journals to doc round 105 species of snakes generally discovered within the state.
They are categorized on the premise of venomous and non-venomous snakes, look-alikes and the habitats during which they’re discovered. Information on every species consists of figuring out marks, their numerous color morphs (if any), standing of conservation, common measurement, habitats, distribution and look-alikes. Text is out there in each English and Malayalam together with audio hyperlinks. Photographs, sourced from numerous areas of the state, accompany the data. There are even podcasts on matters like anti-snake venom, first assist for chew instances, methods to keep away from snake-bites, remedy protocol and breaking down in style myths and superstitions related to snakes.
In a bid to make the app extra accessible to the general public, the staff has additionally inbuilt an ‘ask expert’ device the place folks can add pictures of snakes or chew marks for the aim of identification or pose common queries.