Snake rescuers found a rare red sand boa just 700 metres away from the Metro III car shed in Aarey Colony; the species is known to be used in black magic rituals and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Act
Snake rescuers encountered the rarest of rare species of snakes in Aarey Colony on Wednesday, where they found a red sand boa quite close to the Metro III yard site in the area. Considered to have supernatural powers, the species is widely sought for use in black magic rituals and is now shielded by Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The snake rescuers found this four-foot-long red sand boa lying on the road in the vicinity of Filter Pada, towards the Marol side of Aarey Colony. It can fetch over R1 crore on the black market, depending on its physical characteristics
Around 12 noon yesterday, Kaushalendra Dubey and Prabhu Swami, volunteers at SARRP (Spreading Awareness on Reptiles & Rehabilitation Programme) received a call about a snake at Filter Pada, near the Marol side of Aarey. When they reached there, they found a red sand boa (Eryx johnii) about 4 feet long, lying on the road about 700 metres from the Metro car shed site.
The non-venomous snake is rarely found in Mumbai, as its natural habitat is in muddy areas under forest cover. It is famously called a two-headed snake, as its tail is rounded and resembles its head. Because of its appearance, it is considered to be lucky, and is much sought after for black magic rituals as well. Illegal trade of the snake continues to flourish, despite it being protected under law.
A red sand boa can fetch anywhere between Rs 2 lakh to over a crore, depending on its weight, colour and other features. Apart from its supposed supernatural powers, according to snake researcher and rescuer, Kedar Bhide, sand boas are burrowing snakes and feed on rodents, thus helping farmers safeguard crops as well.
“In my 12 years of experience, this was only the second time that I rescued this snake. We found it in Aarey Colony, on one of the roads near the Metro III car shed site,” said Dubey, who, along with Swami, rescued the reptile and handed it over to the Forest Department officials. The department will now release the snake in its habitat.