Slay not, save snakes

Simit Bhagat

True, the rains had many of us cooped up in our homes. However, the torrents also had some creatures in the wild being ousted from theirs. Snakes, for one, caused panic among many in the flood-hit areas, as they became uninvited guests because water had forced them out of the snake-nests.

In all shapes and sizes, rescue teams from animal welfare organisations and individual snake-rescuers, literally, had their hands full with numerous creepy crawlies.

Anguish calls came from across the Western suburbs of residents wanting to get rid of the snakes that had slithered into their homes.

Informs Zeeshan Mirza, a snake-rescuer from Andheri, “In fact, Marol had almost become a snake park after the heavy downpour, displacing a large number of snakes. I have rescued around 30 snakes from areas such as Dahisar, Borivali, Malad, Aarey Colony in Goregaon, Behrambaug in Jogeshwari, Four Bungalows, Marol in Andheri and other places. Most rescued snakes were harmless and non-venomous, which were released far away from residential areas, once caught.”

Seconds snake-rescuer Rajendra Koli of Madh, “This monsoon has already seen me rescue around 50 snakes from areas such as Pali Hill, Madh, Andheri, Borivali, Dadar and even Chembur. On an average, we get around four snake rescue calls everyday in monsoons.”

The flooded Mahindra Nagar at Malad East had varieties such as Rat Snakes and Cobras being caught. Says snake-rescuer Niranjan Karnad of Malad East, “Rains cause snakes to be displaced from their burrows, as rainwater seeps into it.

Secondly, since there is no dearth of prey during this time of the year, they are spotted quite often. Last week, I rescued a four feet long cobra near a school at Mahindra Nagar, besides a few Rat Snakes and Chequered Keel Backs.”

Most rescued snakes were rat snakes, cobras, Russell’s Viper, Wine snakes, Chequered Keel Backs and some other species. Appeals Karnad, “People should not panic, when they see a snake, as most of the species found in the city are non-venomous.

However, compounds must be kept free of weeds, shrubbery, debris, bamboos, as they are a good place for reptiles to hide.”

Prominent venomous snakes found in the city are Cobras, Russell’s Viper and Saw Scaled Vipers, and can be identified by snake-rescuers once informed. For instance, cobras when disturbed raise their hood, which has the typical ‘V’ mark that distinguishes it. Contrary to popular belief, it does not attack unless disturbed. The Russell’s Viper is brownish, and has diamond-shaped scales. The Saw Scaled Vipers are small, with triangular heads and prominent scales all over the body.

Call if you spot a snake

Zeeshan Mirza: 9819990684
Rajendra Koli: 9322402450
Niranjan Karnad: 9869124540

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