[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
In pictures: India snake hunt
Irulas set out for a hunt
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)
Five-year-old Surya is a member of the group
2 of 10
This team has an unlikely snake catcher. Surya, five, is learning the tricks of the trade from his parents.
Looking for snakes
3 of 10
The team looks for snakes in bushes and shrubs, searching for signs such as markings, skin and droppings.
King Cobra
4 of 10
The hunters get lucky - a five-foot-long cobra is pulled out of its resting place, hissing.
Bagging the catch
5 of 10
It is quickly put inside a cloth bag, which is tightly knotted.
Posing with their trophy
6 of 10
A pleased group poses with its trophy. The catch will fetch 1,000 rupees ($23), a considerable sum in these parts.
Venom extraction centre
7 of 10
The catch is brought to the Irula Snake Catchers' Association's venom-extraction centre near Madras.
Pots with snakes
8 of 10
More than 100 snakes are kept in earthen pots in a rectangular pit. Cups of drinking water are placed inside.
Extracting venom
9 of 10
Snakes have their venom extracted three times at the centre before they are released back into the wild.
Anti-venom powder
10 of 10
The venom is processed and the residue sold to pharmaceutical companies to make the anti-venom serum.




PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific