First thing, DO NOT PANIC !!! As mentioned before, there is more than 95% chance that the snake, you have seen, is completely harmless !!! Even if the snake you have encountered is venomous, it is not going to attack or bite unless and until provoked.
Given 50% chances, any snake, even if it’s venomous, will always try to run away. Remember, snakes fear humans much more than humans fear snakes. Only if the snake gets cornered having no escape route, or you move towards it, or attempt to disturb it or pick it up, the snake can attack. Still, no snake is going to run after you to bite.
There is no chance of getting bitten is you do the smartest thing at the moment: Just, stand still or move slowly away from the snake. Maintaining safe distance, you can try to identify the snake, but in any circumstances, DO NOT DISTURB or DO NOT HANDLE the Snake. (Read why you must not)
What to do next depends on the location of snake.
- If you have spotted the snake outdoors in a (sort of) wild area, like streets far from hostels/quarters (say, 50 meters is far enough), near the ponds, hills (like tanki-top, view-point) or fields/bushes/grasslands away from inhabited regions, just let the snake go on its way, and do not bother it at all.
- If you have spotted the snake outdoors, but very near your hostel/other buildings, the snake is not likely to stay there and will flee away or it can simply be chased away. If interested, maintaining safe distance, note the body color/patterns, approximate length etc to identify the species later.
- If you have spotted the snake inside your hostel(mostly ground floor), the snake will either flee away if it finds a escape route or will try to hide himself along some corner/ object, inside a crevice/hole if there Call the security guards as soon as possible and let them tackle it. Maintain safe distance and just watch the snake till the required person arrives at the site. Have somebody watching the snake (if you have to move away to give a call). This is important as once lost, it can be difficult to relocate a snake.
Generally, the snake gets encircled by the people, trying to have a good look of the snake. This is a common mistake people do, in excitement, which must be avoided. Blocking the escape routes for the snake leaves it no other option than being offensive.
Sometimes, the scared snake tries to hide itself along some corner or beneath something, rather than running away. In such case, it can safely be directed away on the way out using a sufficiently long stick. Or If you simply tap on the ground, sensing the vibrations, the snake will always move away from the source of vibration.
Only in few cases of small/young snakes, when the snake has hidden itself and is too scared to move, simply drag the snake gently with a broom/stick into a plastic dustbin. Cover the lid of the dustbin so that the snake can not escape. Take the snake away and release it carefully a bit far from the hostels. The snake will immediately move away.
Maintaining Safe Distance
If you are at a distance more than 3-4 times the body length of the snake, you are sufficiently far away from the striking range of the snake and have more than enough time to react back (if the snake, somehow, moves towards you). Remember, keep good distance from the snake and do not walk towards it, the snake will not have any reason to go offensive.
In case of Road-killed snake
There are chances of encountering a road-killed snake (run over by some vehicle). Even if it’s dead, do not try to pick it up or touch the snake near the head. It has being recently observed that in some cases of venomous species, even after few hrs of death of the snake, venom-injecting mechanism remains active and the venom of that snake can still be effective. Though it’s very rare to have a situation with all mentioned conditions full-filled, but why take chances. The snake is already dead and so, there is nothing to worry about.