1 of 10 For centuries, the Irula tribe in southern India have been snake catchers. They still catch snakes but only to extract venom which is used to make life-saving anti-venom serum. (Text and photos: Geeta Pandey)
2 of 10 This team has an unlikely snake catcher. Surya, five, is learning the tricks of the trade from his parents.
3 of 10 The team looks for snakes in bushes and shrubs, searching for signs such as markings, skin and droppings.
4 of 10 The hunters get lucky - a five-foot-long cobra is pulled out of its resting place, hissing.
5 of 10 It is quickly put inside a cloth bag, which is tightly knotted.
6 of 10 A pleased group poses with its trophy. The catch will fetch 1,000 rupees ($23), a considerable sum in these parts.
7 of 10 The catch is brought to the Irula Snake Catchers' Association's venom-extraction centre near Madras.
8 of 10 More than 100 snakes are kept in earthen pots in a rectangular pit. Cups of drinking water are placed inside.
9 of 10 Snakes have their venom extracted three times at the centre before they are released back into the wild.
10 of 10 The venom is processed and the residue sold to pharmaceutical companies to make the anti-venom serum.