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Sympathy for the Devil? Not Exactly — Snakes Deserve Compassion Too

WILDLIFE SOS: ‘Snake charming has long been associated with “tradition” and religious veneration in India… Festivals such as Nag Panchami see devotees flocking to Shiva temples to pay homage. Inevitably, people show up to take advantage of the believers; some even put snakes on display to collect money at these temples. If the attendees knew what these snakes have had to endure to be made “safe for handling,” people might think twice about supporting the activity…

Snakes are often poached from the wild and mutilated to provide “safe” entertainment. The fangs of venomous snakes like cobras are crudely crushed with metal pliers and their venom glands are gouged out or punctured. This is not only barbaric and excruciatingly painful, it’s also a prolonged death sentence by effectively destroying the snake’s only means of catching prey, digesting food, and defending itself. Starvation is a slow death for a reptile, but if their venom glands are crudely ripped out or punctured, poisonous snakes usually die much earlier from infections. And this is the best they can hope for…

Non-poisonous snakes fare no better; their mouths are often stitched shut, which makes eating impossible. For the short duration of their lives (usually only a few weeks after this point), these harmless snakes are kept in cramped cane baskets, generally picking up parasitic infections from their own feces. The cane baskets are dark, denying these animals any sunlight — which is helpful for ectothermic creatures like snakes to thermoregulate and carry out basic metabolic functions’. SOURCE…

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