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These photos of India's snake catching tribe will terrify and amaze you

Catch Team | Updated on: 13 December 2016, 19:29 IST

If you suffer from ophiophobia, the fear of snakes, India isn't really the best country for you. With over 200 species of snakes spread across the length and breadth of the country, the chances are you'll come across them at some point.

In this photograph taken on November 11, 2016, Indian snake catcher Vedan of Irula snake-catchers cooperative scout for snakes in the early hours of the morning at Vadanemmeli village, on the outskirts of Chennai. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)
A small scythe, a crowbar and a bundle of canvas bags are all that Kali and Vedan carry when they venture into the fields of southern India to catch some of the world's deadliest snakes. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)

But while most of us would run terrified from snakes, one Indian tribe on the outskirts of Chennai run toward them. For generations the Irulas, a tribe that has traditionally been marginalised, have specialised in hunting snakes to sell their skins. Now, with the passage of time and the advances of science, they have also become an invaluable weapon in the fight against snake bites.

In this photograph taken on 11 November, 2016 Indian snake-catcher Kali (R) places a sawscaled viper into a cloth bag, caught in the paddy fields during scouting in the early hours of the morning at Vadanemmeli village, on the outskirts of Chennai. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)
In this photograph taken on 11 November, 2016 Indian snake catcher Kali prepares a cobra for the extraction of venom at the extraction center of the Irula snake-catchers cooperative on the outskirts of Chennai (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)
An India snake catcher displays the fangs of a Russel Viper at a venom extraction centre of Irula snake catchers Industrial Co-operative society in Chennai on 11 November, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)
In this photograph taken on 11 November, 2016, an Indian snake-catcher extracts venom from a cobra at the venom extraction center of the Irula snakecatchers cooperative on the outskirts of Chennai. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)

Without the slightest hint of fear they handle even the most venomous of snakes, flirting with death with the utmost calmness. Their efforts, tracking, capturing and harnessing the venom of snakes has made them a leading supplier of antivenom to hospitals across the country.

In this photograph taken on 11 November, 2016 an Indian snake catcher displays cobra venom at the venom extraction center of the Irula snake-catchers co-operative on the outskirts of Chennai. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)
In this photograph taken on 11 November, 2016 India snake-catcher Vedan fixes a piece of leather over a glass jar as he prepares for venom extraction at the Irula snake-catchers cooperative on the outskirts of Chennai. (AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR)

Photo Curation by Sehar Qazi

First published: 13 December 2016, 19:29 IST
 
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