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All About Indian Snakes: Myths and Facts

M.S. Pradhan (Author) S.S. Talmale (Author)

Snakes have been associated with myths and curiosity, apart from being an object of fear due to the possession of incomplete and/or inappropriate knowledge. The probable reason for this may be their cold appearance due to the possession of eyes without lids, limbs and earless form, serpentine movements and fluidly cold feel. Moreover the bites of some, but not all of them, are venomous with lethal impacts. This has resulted in the development of an unwarranted fear amongst most people. We are totally ignoring the basic fact that snakes form a part of an essential food web of nature. Breaking of the web can have direct and/or indirect impacts on the survival of the human species.

Any information on snakes, whether it is based on myths and/or scientific knowledge, is subject of curiosity and of great interest to the reader from any field. There have been writings on snakes even in ancient global literature, especially Indian literature. First author M.S. Pradhan got the inspiration from the writings of Gharpurey, Deoras, Daniel, Whitaker and Captain. Moreover while in service, his interest in snake species grew with the training programme on snake studies which he undertook at the Zoological Survey of India, DRC, Jodhpur. He was also involved in identification and advisory services on snake species identification for more than twenty years during this service. The services were extended to various authorities ranging from individuals to different law enforcing agencies. He has learnt through experience that even today misbeliefs about snakes are strong in the masses. Hence the authors have decided to make a fresh attempt and try to compile the available information to them in one place in order to help removing these misbeliefs.

The present compilation includes a current checklist of 291 Indian snake species, systematic account and conservation status of Indian snake species, in addition to information on morphology, behaviour, and uses and misuses of snakes species. It also highlights accounts of misbeliefs, blind faiths, myths and mythology about snake species. The latter is mostly based on earlier work published by different researchers. The work has been individually acknowledged at relevant places. The authors are hopeful that the present book will help the readers in understanding snakes and their behaviour and also in developing respect for snakes.

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About the authors

M.S. Pradhan

Born in 1947 in Nagpur (Maharashtra State, India), Dr. M. S. Pradhan completed his earlier part of education upto Post-graduation in Zoology from Nagpur University. After successful doctoral studies on Bombay rats, he joined Zoological Survey of India, Pune, in Dec. 1976. After serving in various capacities in this premier organization for more than thirty years, he proceeded on superannuation in 2007. He was looking after mammals section during his entire service carrier. His assigned tasks were to conduct taxonomic research activities in small mammal species with special reference to rodents, chiropteran and insectivore species, to prepare inventories of mammal species from various assigned protected/non-protected areas in addition to the routine curatorial duties. His involvement in wildlife and EIA studies has also been noteworthy to such an extent that the law enforcement authorities including judiciary and educational institutions are consulting him in matters related with these subjects in mammalian and reptilian taxonomic identifications even after his superannuation. He has conducted/participated in more than 100 extensive faunistic surveys of long and/or short durations of protected and/or non-protected areas in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka States. The focus of his studies were concentrated mainly on mammal species of Western Ghats. While in service he has successfully completed independent research project on Chaemotaxonomic studies of rodent species from Wetsern Ghats. Some of the conclusions from this project led him to revise taxonomic studies of Genus Bandicota. Further, MOEF, New Delhi, funded project assigned to him resulted in a publication of a book on Validation of Threatened Mammal species of India. He has published, independently and/or jointly, more than 120 articles in scientific journals of national as well as international repute. He is one of the authors of four books published by Zoological Survey of India. Dr. Pradhan was Officer-in-Charge of Western Regional Station, Pune, for almost six years from 1996-2001. He retired as Scientist-SE (Jt. Director) from Zoological Survey of India on 31st January 2007.

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S.S. Talmale

Dr. S. S. Talmale is presently working as Assistant Zoologist in Zoological Survey of India, Central Zone Regional Centre, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. He did his M.Sc. from Nagpur University and completed Ph.D. (Zoology) from University of Pune on the title small mammal diversity in Maharashtra State under the guidance of Dr. M. S. Pradhan. He has contributed about 40 research papers on different faunal groups and two occasional papers on Indian small mammals.

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Bibliographic information

Title All About Indian Snakes: Myths and Facts
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.10.2015
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Nature Books India
Language: English
isbn 9789382258162
length vi+366p., Illustrations; 23cm.