Mysore, Nov. 2 (KMC) – Snake enthusiast Shyam, aptly nicknamed as Snake Sh-yam, expressed joy for being presented Rajyotsava Award.

Snake Shyam, whose original name is M.S. Balasubramania, has become a household name for Mysoreans and elsewhere and is so popular that the first thing they think of when they see a stray snake is, not to reach for a stick, but to call Snake Shyam. There might be very few people in and around Mysore who do not have his cell phone number.

Shyam rescues and rehabilitates snakes and educates the public about them. He is also sometimes consulted by local hospitals to identify a species of snake prior to treating a snakebite victim. A street in City is named after Snake Shyam in recognition of his work and has dedicated its first "urban forest" to him and fellow environmentalist Hyder Ali Khan.

Shyam was born to M.R. Subbarao and A. Nagalakshmi Mirle in K.R. Nagar. By profession, he was a driver, transporting children to school. Since 1982, he began to be frequently called upon to retrieve snakes that had encroached on people's properties, a job for which he receives no pay. Called multiple times each day, Shyam uses a pillowcase and a badminton racket without strings to net the snakes, which he then releases into the forest.

Though Shyam has only been bitten four times in his rescue work, he has developed an allergy to antivenin and so, has to be very careful not to get bitten.

His knowledge of snakes — he can identify 28-30 local species of snakes — is from personal experience and through reading.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, he said that he had caught nearly 23,000 snakes since the past 15 years. "With the award, my responsibility has been increased," he said.

Snake Shyam can be contacted on Ph. No. 94480-69399.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore