Majority of snakes are harmless and even beneficial to men and are of great economic importance. The various aspect of snake as an animal of economic importance are:
In rodent control: Snakes feed on rodents-rats, mice and squirrels which are pests of crops as well as stored products. Thus the problem of rat control is very serious because of the tremendous loss caused by them at every stage of the crop like in the fields, farm and store houses. Some tree snakes feed on grasshoppers. Now in the emphasis of agriculture development and production, the rat control is of great importance and as such the role of snakes in this context assumes significance. Russells’ viper has a great liking for rats. Similarly in America the economic vale of rattle snakes has been realized due to their destruction of rabbits, squirrels and grasshoppers. Before applying any method of control, consideration should be given as to the aspect to find out whether loss by rodents to agriculture is greater or danger from snakes to human life.
Live snakes and snake skin: Live snakes are in great demand and are purchased for various purposes like venom extraction and other requirements. The snakes are even exported to foreign countries for exhibition shows, zoological gardens and manufacture of leather goods. Some families also depend for their livelihood on exhibiting snakes and they are known as snake charmers. In some cultures snakes are worshipped and offered milk etc. The skin of snakes are in great demand and are exported in various countries. In west European countries the leather products of snake skins are very popular. They prepare belts, wallets, purses, combs and cigarette cases, tobacco pouches and cufflink heads. In addition to these other articles prepared are sports jackets, caps, shoes, and even neckties. In Brail and Sao Pando books also bound in snake skin.
Snakes as food: Snakes eaten in any countries of the world. It is eaten in China, Burma and in many parts of rural and tribal India. The gall bladder of snakes is utilized for making wine and also some medicines. It is eaten raw as an aphrodisiac. In Japan wine is prepared in Snake Institutes. In USA canned garter snakes are sod as food. Rattle snake meat is rated to be most palatable. The eggs of snakes are also eaten.
Snake fat: Use of snake fat for medicinal purposes is very well recognized in ancient medical practices. Snake oil therapy has been used since ancient times. Viper snake oil was recommended for some medicinal purposes particularly for massage o knee in gout and arthritis and even on other joints. In Europe rattle snake oil is favored for such purposes. The oil is also used for relief of frozen limbs, bruises, aches and sprains and to absorb tumors or swellings.
Snake venom: Snake venom is in great demand for the manufacture of antivenin. It is also used in poisoning arrows by primitive tribes.