The Diversity and the Ecological Status of Snakes in Kerala Region-A View to Prioritize Conservation Measures
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Dileep Kumar R., Anaswara Krishnan S., Laladhas K. P. and Oommen V. Oommen
Snakes are ecologically significant reptilian groups, but very little measures have
been taken towards exploring their diversity. Kerala, located at the southern tip of the
Indian subcontinent has a countable richness in snake species, approximately 104 species
including endangered and endemic species. Even though there is an abundance of species
diversity, a critical turn down in the population of many snake species has been
encountered and it is necessary to tackle this threat of decline in population. Snakes as a
whole have very little commercial value as compared with other group of animals. The
various ways in which they are exploited tend to be limited to specific regions or to a few
species. In addition to exploitation, habitat destruction and pollution are the most serious
threats affecting their diversity. The physical structure and thermal properties of the
inhabiting sites are crucial to these ectothermic creatures; and so the continuous decline in
the quality of habitat is the fundamental cause that makes these species vulnerable.
Extended analysis of species-habitat associationship is crucial for effectual and targeted
conservation planning and management. The critical limitation found in conservation
planning is the nonavailability of statistics on population size of individual species and their
habitat requirements. This chapter provides an overview of the distribution and the
ecological status of snake species in Kerala and also highlights the threats and possible
conservation strategies for protecting their diversity.
Snakes, diversity, anthropogenic, ecology, ecosystem, ectothermic,
hotspot, parthenogenic, predator, prey, conservation, Western Ghats.
Centre for Venom informatics, University of Kerala, Kerala- 695581.