Kerala snake ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇʀ Vava Suresh sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇs yet another cobra ʙɪᴛᴇ

Vava Suresh, Kerala’s famous (and controversial) snake expert and wildʟɪꜰᴇ conservationist, has been ꜰɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ for his ʟɪꜰᴇ for the last few days at the Intensive Care Unit of Kottayam Medical College Hospital from the latest ʙɪᴛᴇ he had received while ᴄᴀᴛᴄʜɪɴɢ a cobra in Kottayam.

He has reportedly ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ over 50,000 snakes so far, and is said to have been ʙɪᴛᴛᴇɴ by ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs sɴᴀᴋᴇs around 300 times. He has even figured in National Geographic and Animal Planet channels. The “Snake man of Kerala”, as Suresh is fondly called, has ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ more than 190 king cobras.

Vava Suresh said: “I started ᴄᴀᴛᴄʜɪɴɢ snakes when I was 12 years old. If I knew anyone’s family had snakes, I would go there to ᴄᴀᴛᴄʜ snakes and release them into the forest. When I was 27 years old, I had ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ a total of 38,000 sɴᴀᴋᴇs, 3000 times ʙɪᴛᴛᴇɴ by snakes and 292 times of which are extremely ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴᴏᴜs sɴᴀᴋᴇs such as vipers, cobras… I’ve had 9 ʟɪꜰᴇ-ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴɪɴɢ situations requiring a ventilator, and 7 times in the intensive care unit. On those occasions, I faced ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ.”

The 48-year-old was ʙɪᴛᴛᴇɴ by a cobra on January 31 when he was trying to ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ the snake from a human haʙɪᴛat in Kottayam. Suresh rushed to sᴀᴠᴇ the cobra from another hospital, where he was recuperating following an ᴀᴄᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ, after a frantic call. In 2020, he ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇᴅ for his ʟɪꜰᴇ on a ventilator for days after a viper ʙɪᴛ him.

This is his “second birth”, Suresh told the media after coming out of the hospital. Suresh thanked minister V N Vasavan for the timely intervention to rush him to the Government Medical College Hospital in Kottayam. The minister was present to see off Suresh from the hospital on Monday.

The 47-year-old said that though he had been ʙɪᴛᴛᴇɴ by snakes 16 times, never before had it become this ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟ for him, and thanked the doctors for the treatment he received at the medical college hospital. Suresh said his return was the result of the excellent coordination of the various departments of the hospital as well as the prayers of the people.

Often criticised for his seemingly unsafe snake-ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ practices, Suresh said that he would try to be more careful in his future missions but alleged that there was a ᴄᴀᴍᴘᴀɪɢɴ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ him from some corners.

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