Mumbai: Red sand boas worth lakhs rescued from Aarey, Andheri

The rare snakes command a high price, as they are believed to possess supernatural powers

On one hand the government authorities are leaving no stones unturned to prove that Aarey Milk Colony is not a biodiversity hotspot, on the other locals and eco-warriors are gathering as much proof possible to prove the authorities wrong.

Snake rescuer Kaushalendra Dubey displays the red sand boa he rescued from Aarey Colony
Snake rescuer Kaushalendra Dubey displays the red sand boa he rescued from Aarey Colony

In the latest episode, two red sand boas were rescued separately — one from Aarey Milk Colony and another from Andheri (West).

Both the snakes were later handed over to the officers from Thane Forest Department (FD). The market value of the rare boa is pegged at anywhere from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore — depending on its size, weight and colour — as it is believed to possess supernatural powers and is used in black magic.

Commenting on the incident, snake rescuer Kaushalendra Dubey said, “While passing through Aarey, I saw that a few people had gathered near the road and were looking at something. Upon inspection, I learnt that it was a red sand boa. A few of the onlookers were trying to catch it. I told them to back off or else I would call the police, following which they fled the spot. As a precautionary measure, I rescued the snake and immediately informed the local police and forest officials.”

Similarly, another red sand boa was reclaimed from Andheri (West) and was handed over to the Thane FD.

Expert speak
“Code named ‘double engine’, there is a huge demand for this snake in the black market because of the belief that its has supernatural powers. We need to spread awareness on a larger scale so that the snake doesn’t fall prey to superstitions,” said an environmentalist.

Did you know?
A non-venomous snake, red sand boa is rarely found in Mumbai Its natural habitat is in muddy areas, under forest cover. Due to striking similarity between its head and tail, it is commonly known as ‘two-headed snake’

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