When we see a snake, our natural reaction is to scream and run as far as possible from the hissing creature that we assume is full of poison! Vava Suresh on the other hand embraces snakes, loves them and enjoys their company.
He hangs some of the largest snakes on the planet around his neck like an ornament. He holds the King Cobra like a friend and he kisses the snake like a child.
His love for the reptiles was born when he was 12 and captured a baby cobra and kept it hidden in his house to study his behavior. Suresh is 40 now and has rescued over 30,000 snakes so far.
He quit his schooling to understand and rescue snakes. He not only works to preserve and rescue the species but also spreads awareness among people about snakes and their behaviour, and preserves their collected eggs until the hatching period.
He has dedicated his life towards capturing poisonous snakes from the human populated areas and then releasing them into their natural habitats. Even though he has no professional training in this field, Suresh, purely through his curiosity and love towards the reptiles, has become a “go to” man when it comes to snakes.
The Forest Department, after noticing his extra ordinary skills, offered him a government job in a snake park set up in Kottur forest area near Kattakada in Thiruvananthapuram. But Suresh declined the offer as he believed that he would not be able to help society the way he wanted to if he was employed.
He does not use any equipment to capture the snakes, and mostly does it himself with his hands which have suffered various accidents and have survived 266 poisonous snake bites. He has rescued 17 King Cobras which is considered to be one of the most venomous and dangerous snakes in the world.
A dangerous Cobra bite cost him one of his fingers which he had to get surgically removed. His right palm had to be skin grafted after a snake bite in 2012. His body is considered to have developed sufficient antibodies against snake venoms after suffering various snake bites.
“Snakes have been a part of my life ever since childhood. I actually don’t know how I fell in love with them. As a child I had seen people brutally killing snakes. That instilled sympathy for the creature in my mind. At the same time, idols of serpents in temples made me feel that they have some divinity and should be protected,” Suresh says. (Source)
He receives around 15-20 calls every day from people to catch snakes in residential areas. Apart from King Cobras he has rescued over 7000 Indian cobras, 1600-1700 vipers and 150 kraits.
“If you are bitten by a snake, do not panic. Fear causes variations in blood pressure, which might lead to a heart attack. Immediately visit a hospital,” advises the ‘snake man’.
Suresh was declared the winner of ‘Vocational Service Award 2011’ instituted by the Rotary Club’s Thiruvananthapurm division. Watch him catch a deadly cobra in this video:
While we sit here and read about this hero, he is out there catching another poisonous snake and giving it a natural habitat.