Mumbai: 10-ft snake causes panic in Babulnath school

Students of BKM High School in Babulnath spot 10.5-ft-long non-venomous rat snake slithering on canopy outside classroom; 20-year-old snake catcher rescues it

Shubham Bendre with the 10.5ft-long rat snake. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Shubham Bendre with the 10.5ft-long rat snake. Pic/Bipin Kokate

A 10.5-ft-long non-venomous rat snake caused a panic last morning in BKM High School in Dady Seth lane, a quiet, upscale residential nook of Babulnath, when it slithered across a canopy abutting a classroom window. A school alumnus and snake catcher had to be called to rescue the non-venomous snake and release it into the forested area near the Hanging Garden.

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Three students of Std IX spotted the snake around 8.30 and raised an alarm. “The school was open from 8.30 am to 10.30 am for the final oral examination. Three students saw the snake, which slithered across the canopy and moved towards the school compound through a gap,” said Meghna Osahan, school administrator.

She said it caused a panic for some time in the classroom. “The situation was brought under control and students were asked to continue with their examination. Later, the teacher and I called one of our former students who works with the local police in rescuing snakes.”

Ex-student to the rescue
The alumnus, Shubham Bendre, reached the school around 9 am, and found the snake stuck inside a small pipe. “After rescuing the snake, I waited for it to calm down first and then released it into a forested area near the Hanging Garden,” said the 20-year-old college student who has taken after his father in rescuing snakes.

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He speculated that the snake had ventured into the residential areas owing to rising temperatures. “Malabar Hill and Babulnath are verdant. So, sighting of snakes is very common here. But the recent spike in temperature could have made the snake come out in search of a cold shelter. Recently, I rescued four snakes from near the school,” said Bendre, a resident of Malabar Hill.

Previous scares
While school principal Shobhana Anand said no snake had ever been sighted this close to the premises, the locality has survived snake scares. In October last year, residents of Dady Seth Lane spotted two snakes in the vicinity and summoned a snake catcher. The first time, a snake slithered into the first floor home of a resident in Garden View building, which is very close to the school. A snake catcher, Yogesh Panhale, from Byculla managed to catch it.

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Just a day or two later, a venomous, 4-ft-long black cobra was spotted in Tej Kiran building, which adjoins BKM School. Panhale caught that one, too.

At the time the snake was spotted, there were 300 students on the school premises.

With inputs from Hemal Ashar

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