Myths, Misconceptions, And Misrepresentation Of Reptiles

Be it by means of stories, media, or society, reptiles have held a advanced representation since time immemorial. The Harry Potter franchise released us to the monstrous giant snake, the basilisk, haunting the Hogwarts College of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Lord Voldemort was also acknowledged to have held a pet snake ‘Nagini’ who helped him ascend back again into electric power. One more e book loved and go through by children of all ages, The Jungle Guide, has a character named ‘Kaa’, who is an Indian Rock python. As the antagonist, the enormous snake with a massive hunger makes an attempt to eliminate the major protagonist, Mowgli.

Several movies portray reptiles as evil creatures. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Plainly, snakes do not get a lot enjoy in pop society, do they? Reptiles are villainised and represented as evil people, typically involved with dark magic. The fear of snakes is inculcated suitable from childhood, by evil characterisation. This not only skews our perception of these animals, but hampers any conservation initiatives that reptiles are in dire want of. 

Reptiles acquire a unfavorable notion from the general public as some of them are venomous. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Reptile Awareness Working day falls on the 21st of October and this year, we are getting a instant to bust some widespread myths that revolve around reptiles! 

Reptiles rank ‘lower’ than other animal groups.

A basic belief that reptiles by some means rank ‘lower’ than other animals like birds and mammals is simply acknowledged by us. Nevertheless reptiles are ectothermic (or chilly-blooded) in nature, we generally fall short to fully grasp that they innately rely on their environment for temperature regulation. By this, they stop up conserving electricity, which is further more allotted to other important pursuits these types of as reproduction. 

Reptiles evolved about 300 million decades back and have tailored to many habitats. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Avni Gupta]

Evolution does not necessarily mean just one species supersedes a different and will become “better” than the previous. When birds and mammals may possibly look far more desirable to the community, reptiles, which originated over 300 million years ago, are as state-of-the-art as any other team. 

Turtles and tortoises are the very same.

Turtles belong to the group of reptiles, alongside with lizards and crocodiles, and are closely related to tortoises. With the earliest fossils courting back to 220 million decades back, turtles and tortoises are amid the oldest teams of animals on Earth. However, there are some key capabilities that can enable a single distinguish concerning turtles and tortoises. Listed here are some: 

While individuals commonly confuse turtles with tortoises, they are very various from 1 another. [Graphic (c) Wildlife SOS/Avni Gupta]

Snakes are just lizards with out legs.

Although one particular could imagine that snakes are basically lizards that lack legs, the two are fully one of a kind animal groups. It is accurate that snakes advanced from a lizard-like creature that had legs, and that the two are closely relevant. On the other hand, snakes are more than just lizards devoid of legs — they have distinct digestive mechanisms, muscle techniques, and other physiological systems. While most lizards have 4 legs, only some are limbless. These reptiles have fleshy tongues, ear holes, and movable eyelids, which the snakes deficiency. 

Lizards and snakes are intently related, having said that incredibly distinctive – both of those, morphologically and physiologically. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Lenu Kannan]

Turtles make fantastic animals.

Several turtles like the Spotted pond turtles and Indian Star tortoises from the Indian subcontinent are illegally traded to be retained as pets. In actuality, these species are shielded beneath the Wildlife (Safety) Act, 1972. Inspite of this regulation, individuals keep on to invest in turtles to be saved at dwelling as animals. 

The Red-eared slider is a non-indigenous species to India but is commonly offered as a pet because of to its little sizing and beautiful colouration. On the other hand, as it grows into an adult, the slider is produced into a nearby h2o human body from the residence aquarium. Missing any normal predator, the animal multiplies and thrives in quantities, therefore invading methods eaten by the native wildlife. 

Pink-eared sliders are held as pets thanks to their appealing colouration. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

Snakes consume milk and can dance.

The practice of snake charming is prevalent all through Shravan (an auspicious thirty day period in the Hindu calendar), when snake charmers use snakes to denote their association with Lord Shiva. This apply is nonetheless common despite snake charming currently being banned underneath the Wildlife (Safety) Act, 1972. Snake charmers make snakes ‘dance’ with the movement of their flutes. In truth, snakes absence external ears, so, they can’t hear the seem of the flute as we do.

Cobras are commonly utilised by snake charmers because of their hood. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Kunal Malhotra]

Thanks to their inner ear bones, snakes are able to detect small frequency vibrations and airborne soundwaves. When flutes are played by snake charmers, they are likely to reply to these vibrations. A Cobra only raises its hood as a self-defence procedure and is witnessed replicating the motion of its menace, a flute in this situation. 

Milk is presented to snakes by equally devotees and snake charmers. Even though milk is a purely natural meals for mammals, it is not a aspect of a reptile’s all-natural diet regime. Cobras, rat snakes, and pythons are poached from the wild, deprived of basic necessities, and forced to eat milk. Biologically, snakes are basically not able to crack down the milk enzyme, which at some point results in an infection, poisoning, and even loss of life.

Cobras are regularly employed by snake charmers because of their hood. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

Snake bites can be treated with traditional medicine.

The only powerful remedy for a snake bite is the well timed administration of the anti-venom serum with the proper dosage. Other unconventional techniques, which are centered on myths and misconceptions, these as placing a incredibly hot iron rod on the chunk or seeking to suck out the venom by making a gash, only trigger extra hurt to the victim. 

Below are some do’s and don’ts of snake bite. [Graphic (c) Wildlife SOS/Teesta Mukherjee]

Reptile pieces have medicinal houses.

Eggs, meat, blood, oil, shells, pores and skin, bones, and other elements of reptiles are often exploited. This is to give meals and supplies for creating resources, ornaments, religious objects, and medications. On the other hand, most of these procedures have no scientific basis in anyway and severely threaten the reptile populations.

Turtle eggs and meat is eaten commonly across the globe. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

From the Gujarat and Lakshadweep shoreline, eggs of turtle species are extracted to procure oil for beauty merchandise. With the booming trade of eggs and turtle meat as delicacies, colourful shells for ornaments and animal extracts to heal ailments, the testudine species are going through a grave risk of overconsumption. Monitor lizards are also closely poached each for their skin and meat. Their pores and skin is applied for percussion devices and their meat and system areas are made use of as an aphrodisiac in Chinese standard drugs and soup preparations.

Watch lizards are heavily traded for their use in the drugs marketplace. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Reptiles engage in no job in the setting.

Reptiles are nature’s pest handle who assistance sustain the ecological balance by maintaining the prey populace, these types of as amphibians, birds, bugs, and little mammals, at bay. Though snakes consume reptiles, amphibians, and birds, lizards hold insect populations in check. Turtles and tortoises also hold the ecosystem thoroughly clean and are an crucial component of the food web. 

Reptiles are an critical aspect of the ecosystem. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Debunking myths by raising recognition is a essential phase to initiate a dialogue towards wildlife conservation. An boost in urbanisation has resulted in the unfortunate decrease of reptile habitats, top to recurrent encounters of human beings with reptiles. Wildlife SOS conducts recognition and instruction workshops to dispel myths and misconceptions encompassing reptiles, and to disseminate details about the species so that male-reptile conflict can be mitigated. For over a decade, Wildlife SOS and GSPCA (Gujarat Modern society for Avoidance of Cruelty to Animals) have jointly performed programmes to sensitise persons about snake conservation in Vadodara, the most the latest 1 remaining with the employees of Hindustan Petroleum after the recurrent visit of snakes in just their manufacturing unit premises was reported.

Each yr, the 24-hour rescue hotlines operate by Wildlife SOS get hundreds of calls from inhabitants who report reptiles currently being existing on their premises as perfectly. Our rescue staff has the abilities to tackle distressed reptiles in any specified predicament. In circumstance you encounter an animal in distress, call the subsequent Wildlife SOS rescue helplines:

Delhi NCR – +91 9871963535

Agra & Mathura in Uttar Pradesh – +91 9917109666

Vadodara, Gujarat – +91 9825011117

Jammu & Kashmir – +91 7006692300, +91 9419778280