Sumatran Spitting Cobra
SUMECO has rescued hundreds of snakes in Bukit Lawang and outside Bukit Lawang, we always prioritize safety and proper handling. Our snake rescue program is not for entertainment, but purely for the sake of ecology and human safety. The tourism activity that is involved in herpetology study, will definitely provide a strong contribution to our operational efforts on the ground. SUMECO receives many calls from villagers who may need our help with snake removal. It’s very important for us to be always ready to respond to the call quickly.
We always offered education to those who needed a basic knowledge of snakes, as the snake has become a strong part to the Gunung Leuser National Park ecosystem, our collected data has shown there are many species of snakes found inside and outside Gunung Leuser National Park as the natural element of its biodiversity.
Snake handling is a dangerous activity that should only be undertaken by trained professionals in controlled environments. It is important to prioritize safety and follow proper procedures to minimize the risk of injury or harm to both humans and the snakes involved. Here are some general guidelines for snake handling:
1. Training and experience: Only individuals with proper training and experience should handle snakes. This typically includes herpetologists, professional snake handlers, and other experts who understand snake behavior, species identification, and handling techniques.
2. Personal protective equipment (PPE): Always wear appropriate PPE to protect yourself from potential snake bites. This may include thick gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and sturdy boots. Additionally, some handlers may choose to wear snake-proof leggings or snake gaiters for extra protection.
3. Snake identification: Ensure that you can correctly identify the species of snake you are handling. Different snake species have different behaviors and venomous/non-venomous characteristics. Proper identification is crucial for knowing how to handle the snake safely.
4. Proper tools: Use appropriate snake handling tools to minimize direct contact with the snake. These tools may include snake hooks, tongs, or tubes. They allow you to control and manipulate the snake while keeping a safe distance.
5. Approach with caution: Approach the snake calmly and slowly, avoiding sudden movements or loud noises. This helps prevent startling the snake, which could provoke it to bite or exhibit defensive behaviors.
6. Grasp behind the head: If you need to handle a venomous snake, use a snake hook or tong to gently pin the snake’s head to the ground or hold it behind the head. This immobilizes the snake and prevents it from striking.
7. Support the body: When handling a snake, provide support along its body to avoid injuring its spine. Use your free hand or additional tools to support the snake’s body weight.
8. Avoid excessive force: Do not squeeze or put excessive pressure on the snake, as this can cause injury and stress. Handle the snake gently and with care.
9. Secure containment: Ensure that you have a secure container or enclosure to place the snake in once you have finished handling it. This prevents escape and reduces the risk of accidental bites.
10. Seek medical attention: In the event of a snake bite, seek immediate medical attention. Even non-venomous snake bites can lead to infection, and venomous snake bites require prompt medical treatment.
Remember, snake handling should only be performed by trained professionals under controlled conditions. It is always best to observe and appreciate snakes in their natural habitats without attempting to handle them unless you have the necessary expertise and authorization.
Snake rescue operations play a central part in our wildlife rescue work. Hundreds of snakes have been successfully rescued and returned to the wild since 2014, more than 65 of these were king cobras.
We provide a 24-7 call service for snake rescue. It covers 7 villages, where the villagers can contact us if they find a snake inside residential buildings. Besides king cobras and pythons, we have also rescued other venomous snakes such as vipers, kraits, spitting cobras, and rat snakes that are considered to become pests or harmful animals by villagers.
All rescued snakes will always be released into the rainforest far away from human settlements to minimize the chance of future human-snake conflicts. Although king cobra and python rescues have contributed to the majority of our snake rescue work, we are committed to the rescue of all snake species. In addition to wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, we also provide education and awareness programs to local villages and rangers. Part of these programs covers snake ecology and raises awareness of the importance of snake conservation.
We understand that people in the region may see snakes as a danger, so we discourage people from killing them, and contact us instead to carry out the rescue. However, every rescue operation comes at a financial cost, and funds are much needed to ensure we can carry them out in addition to our other daily operations.
Human-snake conflict refers to situations where humans come into conflict with snakes, typically due to concerns over safety, property damage, or fear. This conflict can arise in both urban and rural areas and is influenced by factors such as habitat encroachment, improper waste management, and lack of public awareness about snakes. Here are some key points regarding human-snake conflict:
1. Habitat encroachment: As human populations expand, natural habitats are often encroached upon, leading to increased encounters between humans and snakes. Urbanization, deforestation, and agricultural activities can disrupt snake habitats, forcing them into human-populated areas.
2. Fear and misunderstanding: Snakes are often misunderstood and feared by humans due to their reputation as venomous and dangerous creatures. Lack of knowledge about snake behavior and species identification can exacerbate fear and misconceptions.
3. Agricultural and livestock concerns: Snakes sometimes pose threats to agricultural activities and livestock. Venomous snakes may prey on farm animals, leading to economic losses for farmers. Additionally, crop damage caused by burrowing snakes can impact agricultural productivity.
4. Safety concerns: Venomous snake bites pose a significant risk to human health and can be life-threatening if not promptly treated. In regions where venomous snakes are prevalent, safety measures and education about snake awareness and avoidance are important.
5. Waste management: Poor waste management practices, such as improper disposal of food waste or trash, can attract rodents and other small animals that serve as prey for snakes. Consequently, this can increase snake populations near human settlements.
6. Conservation considerations: While snake-human conflicts can arise, it is essential to balance the need for human safety with snake conservation efforts. Snakes play important ecological roles, such as controlling rodent populations and maintaining balanced ecosystems.
To address human-snake conflict, the following measures can be taken:
a. Public education and awareness campaigns to promote understanding and dispel myths about snakes.
b. Implementing proper waste management practices, including secure trash bins and rodent control measures.
c. Developing guidelines for construction and land development that consider snake habitats and minimize habitat destruction.
d. Creating snake-friendly habitats and wildlife corridors to facilitate the movement of snakes away from human settlements.
e. Training and capacity building for wildlife officials, snake handlers, and first responders to handle snake encounters safely.
f. Encouraging the use of snake-proof fencing or barriers to prevent snakes from entering residential or high-traffic areas.
g. Establishing helplines or services to assist in the safe removal and relocation of snakes when encountered in residential areas.
It is important to involve local communities, wildlife authorities, and experts in developing comprehensive strategies to mitigate human-snake conflict while ensuring the conservation of snake species.