Thursday, 26 September 2013

Snakes

The Meditator Guidebook to Burma is in its final stages! As the guide gets closer to publication, we will begin to share excerpts of what yogis may expect... some sneak previews of what is to come. Here is an excerpt from the "Health" chapter on the incidents of snakes in Myanmar:
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Myanmar has one of the highest rates of deaths resulting from snakebites in the world. Poisonous snakes reportedly kill hundreds of people annually, most often in rural areas. Most of the country’s snakes are found in the Delta and Dry Zone areas. They particularly prefer thick grass, so yogis should not walk in such places only wearing sandals (which is actually most of the time one is in Myanmar); instead, wearing shoes and bringing a walking stick to serve as one’s advance guard in advised. Even if just stepping outside your residence for a quick jaunt to the toilet, make sure to carry a flashlight If you are bitten, immediately seek medical attention. Some people may choose to bring a snakebite extractor kit as well, but this is not so common.

The king cobra is known as the most poisonous snake in Myanmar. However, this large, black and white reptile is not particularly aggressive. Much more dangerous are Russell’s Vipers, which cause an estimated 1,000 deaths per year, approximately 70% of the snakebite deaths. However, these are only the “reported” figures, and actual incidents are probably higher.

Joseph Slowinski, a respected American herpetologist, died in 2001 in Northern Myanmar after suffering a bite from the Banded Krait (ngan taw kyar), a story told in Jamie James’ book The Snake Charmer.


An original illustration drawn by one of Shwe Lan's volunteer meditator artists