A seven-year-old boy has been filmed playing, eating and sleeping with three deadly snakes, sparking concern for his safety.
Devish Adivasi even bathes with the cobras and spends time rubbing in massage oil into their skin.
The schoolboy began his bizarre friendship four years ago, much to the shock of his parents Raghunath and Muniya, 38, who are concerned the boy could be bitten.
His dad, from Pathada Village in central India, 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.”
He added: “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.”
His parents think he is “friends” with about 15 different snakes.
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.”
Another villager added: “We initially thought that the boy is going to get killed, but he is happily playing with the reptiles and it has now become a common thing for us as we see him play with the snakes every day.”