activist jamal alamwasi
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

Saving Palestine's snakes:

Activist Jamal Al-Amwasi

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Activist Jamal Al-Amwasi

Ramallah deals with severak snakes
Ramallah – Sona Adeek

Ramallah deals with severak snakes Ramallah – Sona Adeek Comfortable, calm and completely in control - Jamal Al-Amwasi from Betunia, Ramallah deals with severak snakes (may of the "krait" variety common to Palestine) pn a daily basis. Amwasi tells Arabstoday he has been fascinated by the reptiles since childhood. The environmental activist, who owns around a hundred snakes, tells Arabstoday: “I have learned by myself and since childhood to catch snakes and examine them, open their mouths and see their fangs, differentiate between the venomous ones and the non-venomous,” adding “most snakes in Palestine look alike, only their colour, and prints on their skin – whether circles, squares, or rectangles – make them distinct.” Amwasi, whose house in a popular neighbourhood in Betonia is filled with snakes, says that non-venomous snakes eat venomous ones and the smaller ones too. “I know how to differentiate between the venomous ones and the others. This I learned by myself and it led me to convince doctors to leave anyone who was bitten by a snake because once I saw a Palestinian youth who was bitten by a snake but it was not venomous.” Amwasi then called the hospital where the youth was and told the doctors not to give him any vaccine. There are several snakes present, in different colours and sizes. One of them, an anaconda, is more than six metres long. Amwasi's children, however, deal with it in such strange ways, riding on its back without any problem and playing with it.   Amwasi made his personal number public through social media and on a number of local and international platforms to help in case of a snake is found anywhere. He had helped several families in Ramallah get rid of them or capture them. As told to Arabstoday, he once reached a house where the residents were in extreme panic as a snake entered one of their rooms. He headed to the room, and amazingly captured it in a manner that impressed everyone. Said the "snake-charmer": “Most Palestinians fear kraits, they are large in size and black, although not venomous. They eat venomous snakes and are not affected by their poison. Palestinians do not know the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes because venomous snakes are widespread in Palestine and some of them can kill a person with one small bite.” Jihad, who also works for the Palestinian government, breeds his snakes and the animals he owns like rats, dogs, turtles, and other reptiles in a small caravan in his house garden which he securely closes and conditions at a temperature suitable to the animals inside. In addition to this, he is careful to breed chicken and rabbits to feed those snakes. Claiming that he knows all the types of snakes in Palestine, Amwasi explained that each region had a distinct variety. Some are common in Negev, or the Al-Naqab desert, some in Ramalllah and others in northern Palestine.   In one of the small incubation chambers, lies a beautiful coloured snake in red, black, orange and white hues with amazingly attractive stripes. Amwasi’s dream is to discover an anti-body or treatment for snake poison. “Each person I see who was bit by a snake, I know what type of snake bit them and whether it’s from the north, centre of Palestine or from Al-Naqab. All I hope for is that we have a medicine for snake poison.” About their reproduction, Jamal says that after four trials he succeeded in producing small snakes, and they reproduced incredibly fast after. Finally, Amwasi assured that he doesn’t keep non-venomous snakes but sets them free in nature to eat the venomous ones. He warns, however, against coming in their way.

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