By Bilal Kuchay
A seven-year-old boy has left his parents terrified by befriending three deadly snakes.
Devesh Adivasi, seven, sleeps, bathes and eats with his snake best friends – and he even messages the slithery reptiles skin with oil.
The schoolboy from Pathada Village, Madhya Pradesh in central India began his unusual friendship with the non-venomous snakes four years ago.
Since then, he is often seen playing within the courtyard of his home when he is not attending school.
Devesh’s bizarre friendship with the reptiles has left his parents, father Raghunath Adivasi, 45, and mother Muniya Adviasi, 38, terrified as they find it hard to keep their only child away from the snakes.
Raghunath said: “We have tried everything to keep him away from the snakes.
“We have explained that snakes are not meant to be friends. It is dangerous but he doesn’t listen to us.
“Four years ago Devesh woke up from a dream about snakes, we didn’t think much of it but in the morning he ran into the jungle and returned with two snakes.
“When we came back we were shocked to see him playing with the reptiles.
“He had the snakes all over him but they did not bite him.
“Since that day, he often wakes up telling about the dream. He catches the snakes from the jungle, keeps them with him for a few days and then puts them back.”
Devesh is friends with at least 15 snakes and villagers claim to keep their kids away from him, many believe Devesh’s unusual friendship is unique.
Villager Yogendra Pratap Singh Bundela said: “We have seen him playing with the snakes for four years. It doesn’t surprise us anymore. We know the snakes don’t harm him.
“But the other children are scared of these snakes. They don’t play with him or go near to Devesh when he is surrounded by his friends. But we don’t mind them playing with him when he is in school.”
While the snakes have never harmed Devesh, doctors claim his unusual friendship can have a prolonged adverse impact on his future.
Dr MPN Khare, general surgeon at district hospital said: “This is really bizarre.
“Whether venomous or not, snakes are not meant to be pets. And a child playing with a snake, feeding it and sleeping with it can be very dangerous for his mental health.
“Only 30% snakes are venomous. But whether it is a dog or a snake, their basic instinct is to bite when they sense danger.
“Even if these snakes have not bitten him yet, it is very much possible the snakes might bite him someday while he plays with them.
“Even if they are non-venomous, the bite can scar him for life. It can install a fear that can affect him psychologically.”