‘Russell’s Viper’ fear grips farmers in Pabna char areas

Published : 02 Jun 2020 09:59 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 10:16 AM

The endangered ‘Russell’s Viper’ snake has appeared in the char areas of Pabna. One of the most venomous snakes in the world can be seen in the crop fields, bushes and even at home in the Padma chars.

Meanwhile, due to lack of availability of antidotes, Deputy Commissioner Kabir Mahmud has advised the people of the char areas to work cautiously ahead of the upcoming monsoon season.

Experts believe that these venomous snakes may move to populated areas during the coming monsoon. And because of this, the ordinary farmers of the char region of Pabna are in panic.

Selina Khatun of Barapara village in the middle of Sara union of Ishwardi upazila was bitten by a snake at her house on Saturday night. The family members killed the snake and brought it to the hospital with along with the patient. 

Although doctors did not recognize the snake at first, with the help of environmentalists, the snake was confirmed to be Russell’s Viper. However, despite being a victim of the snake, Selina fortunately survived as according to the doctors the snake was not able to inject poison to her body.

Following the incident, an expert team of the administration visited the Padma Char area of Kamarpur in Dogachhi Union of Pabna Sadar Upazila on Monday morning on the instructions of the Pabna Deputy Commissioner. After crossing the river there, they went about three kilometres and talked to the farmers.

Local farmers and eyewitnesses said that different species of snakes including new insects are being seen in the char. Last year poisonous insects were seen and now snakes are being seen. They said that several people have recently come to work in this char and have been bitten by snakes. Pabna General Hospital Senior Consultant Abu Saleh Mohammad said, “In the last one month, this snake, which is the fifth in the world in poisoning and the first in the list of quickness, has been seen more than once in the Padma chars of Sadar and Sujanagar upazilas.

This venomous snake can spread to the surrounding localities during the monsoon season. So, awareness needs to be raised in the char areas. There is not enough antidote for this snake at the moment.”

Government Edward College, Associate Professor of Zoology. Tozammel Hossain said, “I have visited the char areas several times with the district administration after hearing about this snake. We have not seen that snake yet. However, I have learned that several people have been bitten by this snake. These snakes can move very fast and breed faster than other snakes. Farmers in the char region have to work carefully.”

Roxana Mita, chief assistant commissioner (land) of the Pabna deputy commissioner’s inspection team, said the huge char area of the Padma is one of the places where cattles roam. During the dry season, a variety of crops are grown in this char region. Last year, poisonous scorpions were seen in this char. This time we are hearing about poisonous snakes. Farmers are advised to work by wearing gumboots.

She said the deputy commissioner would take necessary steps for the safety of farmers in the char area.