Eyefish Media Films

The snake rescuer, Snake Shyam, with a fistful of snakes.

Photo: Kent W. Dahl©

The Snake Has Gone

Residents in the Indian city of Mysore have a problem. Venomous snakes are slithering into their dwellings day and night. Like in other Indian cities, snakebites and scary encounters are increasing, as the urban concrete jungle encroaches on the natural habitat of the reptiles.

Formerly people had two choices:

Kill the snake – or run.

Today most of the 800.000 million inhabitants of Mysore in the state of Karnataka prefer a third option. They call the fearless Snakes Shyam, who started catching snakes in 1999.

Hissing and spitting cobras are his specialty.

Although having bagged more than 23,500 snakes when the filming took place, Snakes Shyam does not see himself as a snake catcher.

He is a snake rescuer.

When driving his motorbike to a snake infested home, his foremost mission is to save a snake. As most snakes do not have money, he does not charge for removing a snake. However, he does accept voluntary donations from relieved house owners.

Contrary to traditional Indian snake catchers, Snakes Shyam does not kill the snakes or use them for street performances.

Snakes Shyam is a nature lover.

His body heavily tattooed, hands loaded with big rings and his neck full of chains, Snake Shyam is easily recognizable. When riding his motorcycle in the streets of Mysore, people from all walks of life salute the friendly and good-natured Snakes Shyam.

Due to his dangerous work, and good deeds, the charismatic Snakes Shyam has become a celebrity in his own right. Often featured in the media, he is constantly being asked to participate in various events.

The title of the film

The title of the film is a pun on a traditional Indian saying.

When people say, »Saap Chala Gaya« in Hindi, (The snake has gone),

it means that a problem has been solved.

Running time:

Approximately 30 minutes.

Copyright: Kent W. Dahl


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