Let’s forget our fears to save endangered snakes


TEHRAN – Global warming caused by climate change, over-hunting, killing and over-harvesting of snake venom are having devastating effects on the species’ population.

July 16 happens to be World Snake Day, albeit unofficially. Planet Earth is home to more than 3,500 species of snakes, of which only 600 are poisonous. Yet these swaying, tubular reptiles are almost universally misunderstood — and only a handful of dedicated conservationists try to protect them.

Barbad Safaei Mahroo, a biodiversity specialist, said nearly 85 different species of snakes are known in Iran.

One of Iran’s most special snakes is the spider-tailed horned viper, which hunts with its spider-like tail, he noted.

In terms of appearance and diversity, around 90 species of snakes have been identified in Iran.There are also types of sea snakes in Iran, which are among the most interesting snakes due to their habitat. Mountain vipers are also very important because they live in the mountains and in the colder regions of Iran, they play a very important role in the field of controlling other animals.

Snakes have great diversity in the country. In terms of appearance and diversity, about 90 species of snakes have been identified in Iran and are among the richest species among vertebrates. Some are up to two or three meters long, while others are very small in size and look like earthworms, but have vertebrae and are classified as snakes.

Stating that snakes, like other animal species, die when the forest is destroyed or a fire breaks out, he said that a study conducted in West Kordestan province in 2013-2015 shows that the diversity of reptiles in areas that suffer from fires, including snakes and lizards are greatly reduced, and this can also be extended to the rest of reptiles.

Most reptiles are more interested in tropical regions and research has shown that they have more diversity in these regions, but temperature changes in recent years due to industrial development and climate change, have significant destructive effects. because a snowy and cold environment favorable to mountain vipers has suddenly changed to a dry or semi-hot environment, which is considered an unsuitable habitat for this species and which causes habitat fragmentation and will eventually lead to extinction of the species.

The extinction of snakes causes irreparable damage to ecosystems

Malnutrition and habitat changes have also led to many destructive ecological effects, he lamented.

In Iran, most poisonous snakes are threatened with extinction because they have been killed by humans, and unsustainable exploitation to use their venom to prepare serums has continued for many years and had a significant impact on their population.

However, small species such as worm snakes and Eirenis have survived extinction because they are not used for their venom and people are not afraid to kill them, he said.

Snakes are creatures that sit at the top of the food pyramid and hunt other animals, so removing them from the wild can cause an outbreak of insects and rodents, which can be very harmful, he said. declared.

Snakes are a great help for farmers and gardeners as they can keep rodents and insects away from gardens, he pointed out, expressing hope that Iran’s habitats will not get sick as the The absence of snakes will cause irreparable damage to ecosystems.

Just like other wildlife, snakes are also negatively impacted by climate change, disease, and habitat loss. Snakes help maintain food web balance, they act as a natural pest control, and they are essential contributors to maintaining balance in the natural food chain.

But the need for their conservation and their survival issues are hardly discussed, partly because of a prevailing negative attitude towards snakes and partly because of ignorance. Fear and neglect are the biggest obstacles to snake conservation.
World Snake Day offers a great opportunity to let go of your fears and let the precious species live.



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