16 July is observed as World Snake Day every year. The main purpose of this observance is to spread awareness about snakes worldwide. Snakes are certainly not among the most loved animals on our planet. Sadly, the fear and hatred towards snakes are often guided by misconceptions and ignorance. Nevertheless, snakes are important. In fact, there are many reasons why we should really care about their existence.
World Snake Day, thus, gives us all a global opportunity to join hands and contribute towards the conservation of snakes. Many events are organized across the world on this occasion to spread the positive messages about snakes.
History of the World Snake Day
The origin of this day is not known. It is not officially recognized by the United Nations or any other International Organization. However, most organizations working towards the cause of snake conservation have been celebrating the World Snake Day on 16 July every year.
The main purpose behind observance of this day is to spread awareness about the snakes and lay emphasis on the immediate need for their conservation.
Importance of the World Snake Day
Just like other wildlife, snakes also are negatively impacted by climate change, disease, and habitat loss. However, the conservation issues and survival difficulties of snakes are hardly discussed. This is partly due to a prevailing negative attitude towards snakes and partly due to ignorance. This fear and ignorance act as the biggest barriers against the snake conservation efforts.
Be it about maintaining the food web balance or natural pest control, snakes are essential contributors. However, they are hardly respected or appreciated for their contribution. Therefore, it becomes very important to make people aware of the characteristics and significance of snakes in totality. The observance of World Snake Day is an important yearly event in this regard. The day plays a critical role in spreading awareness about snakes globally.
Interesting Facts About Snakes
- Snakes shed their skin once a month. This process helps them in getting rid of parasites and it’s also important for their body growth. The shedding of skins by snakes called is ecdysis.
- Scales on snakes’ bodies play a critical role in trapping the moisture. This helps the snakes sustain in the arid regions. The scales also play an important role in reducing friction and in ease the movement.
- Snakes have internal ears and they respond to movement not sound.
- Antarctica is the only continent where there are no snakes. This is because snakes cannot survive in places where the ground stays frozen year-round.
- Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles that can externally control their body temperatures.
- Snakes can sense heat signals. Their heat vision helps them in locating warm-blooded prey.
- Each year, 2.7 million people around the world suffer a serious snakebite envenomation.
- Only 200 snakes species (around 7% of the total species) can either kill or significantly wound a human being. These are medically important species.
- There are over 3000 species of snakes in the world. As per the World Health Organization, only 600 species are actually venomous.
- As per the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 12 % of the total snake species falls under the threatened category. This means that the population of threatened species is on the verge of decline.
- While most snakes lay eggs, there are some species which also give birth to the young ones, e.g., sea snakes.
- Bill Haast, famously referred to as the “snake man”, had been bitten 172 times by snakes (as of 2008) but survived every time. His blood was widely used for medical research. He survived for over 100 years!