The Forest Dept that is supposed to rescue snakes remained unreachable; lifeguards, volunteers saved the poisonous reptile

An unexpected visitor at Juhu beach on Saturday left revellers running for cover.

Chaos reigned for over 45 minutes at the beach in the vicinity of hotel Tulip Star at 4 pm on Saturday, as a freshwater snake found its way to the sandy shorefront.

D Bunty Rao, a lifeguard at the beach said, "The moment the snake was spotted, people ran around screaming. They called out for the lifeguards. When we reached the spot, we saw a snake that was about as long as two arms put together."

Rao claims the snake was not an easy one to catch, and left them scampering across the sands trying to catch it. It was finally caught 45 minutes later.

Rao and his colleagues Om Prakash and Rohit Sharma used sticks but caught the snake without causing any harm to it. The snake was placed in a box, and put into a bucket.

Then, the lifeguards began to contact various animal organisations to retrieve the reptile.

"We called Karuna Society for Animals and Nature, and they put us onto someone from the Forest Department.

When we called him up, he said he was out of town and gave us another number to call on. We tried various numbers for over an hour. Finally, we got in touch with Anikit Vyas, a volunteer with Spreading Awareness on Reptiles and Rehabilitation, who said he would take the snake. The snake is a poisonous one, so we were mindful that no one is harmed," recounted Rao.

The lifeguards took the snake to veterinarian Dr Gaurav Sharma, who confirmed that the snake was a poisonous freshwater snake and not indigenous to the beach.

A spokesperson for Karuna Society for Animals and Nature said, "We cannot accept it. It's the Forest Department that rescues reptiles."

The snake was finally released last night into the forest near the Aarey Milk colony in Goregaon.