Teach people what to do if they see a snake

I read with regret that there are still cases of animal abuse in Singapore despite the fact that we are a highly educated and civilised society that desires to actively promote animal welfare ("Dead python found on walkway 'a possible abuse case'"; Nov 3).

The fear engendered by snakes is understandable, and the reaction of many people is to kill a snake on sight.

But even venomous snakes have an important role to play in the food chain and ecosystem. For example, they check the population of pests like rats.

In some countries, snakes found in people's homes are caught and released deep into the forest, far away from human contact.

However, many people here are clueless as to which authority to call if they find snakes.

We would expect to see more snakes in our urban areas as more forests are being cleared for residential and commercial developments.

It might be good if the authorities could conduct short courses or print brochures on how to identify if a snake is venomous, and how to administer basic first aid if someone gets bitten by one.

In this way, people would not react with fear when they do come across a snake.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)