Snakes of Nepal

Snakes of Nepal

Nepal has surprisingly large diversity of poisonous and non poisonous snakes. They are active during summer season. The biggest of the sub-continent include Indian Rock Python that may grow close to 10 meters in length. King Cobra the biggest poisonous snake is rare and found in Chitwan. The other non poisonous includes the rat, cat, tree, garter, sand boa and worm snakes. Poisonous include the common cobra, Pit vipers, vipers, and craits. Banded crait is supposed to be more venomous but are very docile. Some ethnic communities of the eastern Terai worship them.


  • Snakes are deeply rooted in Nepalese culture and tradition. The snake has an important place as a divine power in Hindu and Buddhist traditions and features in the epics such as the Mahabharata. Hindu people worship the king of snakes (Nag) in the snake festival (Nagpanchami) that is celebrated in July in mid monsoon. They believe that by doing so snakebite can be avoided and rain will be assured for their crops. Colorful posters of snakes are pasted on the main door of the house and milk and money are offered to the priest and snake charmers to feed the snake. The fang of the snake is recognized as symbol of power and is featured on the throne of His Majesty the King. It is said that any one who wishes to harm the King, will be punished by the snake.
  • In a developing country like Nepal accurate data is very hard to obtain. Snake bite is a common event in many rural areas where transportation and medical facilities are grossly inadequate. Most of the trained health workers are urban based where snakebite is rare. Therefore faith healers play a major role in the treatment of snakebite. Death not infrequently occurs before the victim is brought to the hospital. Existing epidemiological data in Nepal are scarce and rely exclusively on hospital registrar analysis, which underestimates the true impact of snakebite in the community 5, 6,7,8,9,1011,12. According to report from Ministry of Health, Nepal, 497 snakebite cases were treated with anti snake venom (ASV) in 200113. However it does not include the cases treated by various NGO’s, Private sectors and army institutions. We carried out a hospital based survey in 10 hospitals in Eastern Nepal in the year of 200011. There were 4078 cases of snakebite (407/Hospital/Year) of who 379 had signs of envenomation. The CFR varied among the centre surveyed from as low as 2.82% to as high as 58% (Mean= 21.37%). Similarly high numbers of snakebite cases are reported of lately from Western Nepal12. In one hospital, 240 cases in one year were recorded of whom 37 of them had features of systemic envenomation. A baseline epidemiological study was conducted from1980 to 1985 in 15 district hospitals in collaboration with WHO14. During this period 3189 cases were treated. 144 victims died (CFR: 4.5%). It was estimated by WHO that more than 20,000 people are bitten by snake and one thousand die from snakebite each year in Nepal.

Snake Bite in Nepal

This blog has been created to alert people to the high incident of death by snake bite to the people of Nepal. It is hoped that as more people become aware of this situation, solutions will be found to reduce the number of deaths by snake bite to the Nepalese people

The Himalayan Times – Experts harvest deadly snake venom – Nepal

The dreaded Matabuey, a snake so fearsome its name means “ox killer,” has a deadly bite that immobilizes its prey in minutes, making it the kind of creature generally to be avoided.

But far from steering clear of the legless lizards, researchers at the world leading Clodomiro Picado institute in Costa Rica are avidly cultivating them, along with hundreds of equally-venomous vipers.

Scientists raise the deadly reptiles to harvest their venom, the key ingredient in the massive quantities of life-saving antivenom produced by the institute each year from some 800 snakes.

Reptiles of Nepal

Reptiles of Nepal (List)

NHBS – Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal

Presents an up-to-date view on Nepal’s herpetofauna. General chapters cover aspects of zoogeography, herpeto – ethology and conservation. Each species is treated comprehensively, including the essentials of morphology, ecology, systematics, and zoogeography. The geographic distribution of each species is presented in two ways: in a grid map of Nepal and in a regional map.

Reptiles in Royal Chitwan National Park

Some 19 species of snake occur in the park including king cobra Ophiophagus hannah, green pit viper Trimeresurus albolabris, common krait Bungarus caeruleus and Indian python Python molurus (V). Other notable reptiles are mugger Crocodylus palustris (V) (declining from at least 200 in 1978 to 70 in 1986/1988), gharial Gavialis gangeticus (E), Indian starred tortoise Geochelone elongata and monitor lizards Varanus spp

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