Bitten by snake? Check this phone app for guidance

They are creatures that inspire fear and fascination in equal measure.

But most of all, snakes are misunderstood.

Now, a new mobile application has been developed to help educate people in Singapore about the different varieties found on their doorstep.

For example, it tells users what to do if they have been bitten by a snake or seen one in their garden - with staying calm the most important thing.

Bite victims should also remain in a sitting position, with the bitten limb below the heart.

The app - to be launched by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) - also features photographs to help the public identify local snakes, including venomous ones.

But there is no need to be too worried as most of Singapore's species do not have poison in their bite.

The Republic has "an abundance of wildlife" - including about 70 types of snakes - said conservation and research director Sonja Luz of WRS, which manages attractions such as Jurong Bird Park.

"Being a rescued wildlife centre, we receive many snake donations throughout the year, many of which arrive in a state that suggests that they have been unnecessarily hurt by people who are scared of them," she said.

"We want people to understand snakes and their value in the ecosystem, and to know that they are not inherently dangerous when treated with respect."

The app will be launched on Saturday at the Festival of Biodiversity. The two-day event at VivoCity aims to celebrate Singapore's natural heritage and promote awareness of biodiversity in the city state.

It will end on Sunday.

leepearl@sph.com.sg

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