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Snakes have been associated with myths and curiosity, apart from being an object of fear due to the possession of incomplete and/or inappropriate knowledge. The probable reason for this may be their cold appearance due to the possession of eyes without lids, limbs and earless form, serpentine movements and fluidly cold feel. Moreover the bites of some, but not all of them, are venomous with lethal impacts. This has resulted in the development of an unwarranted fear amongst most people. We are totally ignoring the basic fact that snakes form a part of an essential food web of nature. Breaking of the web can have direct and/or indirect impacts on the survival of the human species.
Any information on snakes, whether it is based on myths and/or scientiﬁc knowledge, is subject of curiosity and of great interest to the reader from any ﬁeld. There have been writings on snakes even in ancient global literature, especially Indian literature. First author M.S. Pradhan got the inspiration from the writings of Gharpurey, Deoras, Daniel, Whitaker and Captain. Moreover while in service, his interest in snake species grew with the training programme on snake studies which he undertook at the Zoological Survey of India, DRC, Jodhpur. He was also involved in identiﬁcation and advisory services on snake species identiﬁcation for more than twenty years during this service. The services were extended to various authorities ranging from individuals to different law enforcing agencies. He has learnt through experience that even today misbeliefs about snakes are strong in the masses. Hence the authors have decided to make a fresh attempt and try to compile the available information to them in one place in order to help removing these misbeliefs.
The present compilation includes a current checklist of 291 Indian snake species, systematic account and conservation status of Indian snake species, in addition to information on morphology, behaviour, and uses and misuses of snakes species. It also highlights accounts of misbeliefs, blind faiths, myths and mythology about snake species. The latter is mostly based on earlier work published by different researchers. The work has been individually acknowledged at relevant places. The authors are hopeful that the present book will help the readers in understanding snakes and their behaviour and also in developing respect for snakes.