Snake rescue up by 30% from last year in Mumbai, claim rescuers

Members of various organisations across the city claim to have collectively rescued 200 snakes since August 1, 20 of which were Indian rock pythons

It appears that the October heat is not only getting the better of Mumbaikars, but also the city’s reptilian fauna. According to snake rescuers from the city, volunteers from various organisations have rescued 200 snakes of 35 different species since August 1. They also mentioned that the number of rescued Indian rock pythons, 20, is almost twice for the same period between August 1 and October 10, 2013.

A SARRP volunteer with the six-feet-long Indian rock python he rescued from the premises of Whistling Woods International Film School at Film City in September.
A SARRP volunteer with the six-feet-long Indian rock python he rescued from the premises of Whistling Woods International Film School at Film City in September. File Pic

Herpetologists claimed that the sudden increase in python rescues was due to the rising temperature, and that October is the reptile’s breeding period. Most of the pythons were rescued from Dahisar (East), Borivli (East), Kandivali, Malad and Goregaon (East).

“Post-monsoon, number of rescues across the city has increased by 30 per cent. Until last year, we would get at least six calls a day. But this year the number has risen to 8 to 10 calls a day,” said Santosh Shinde, president of NGO Spreading Awareness on Reptiles and Rehabilitation Programe (SARRP).

Similarly, volunteers from Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) rescued 52 snakes between October 4 and 10. Almost 90 per cent of the rescue calls were made from Mulund. All the rescued snakes were registered with the Forest Department before being released into the wild.

“Snakes were rescued from residences, societies and even from switch boards in Mulund. Recently, a 4-ft-long Forsten’s cat snake was rescued from the meter room of a society on October 10. It was children who spotted a snake on the society premises and alerted their parents, who called the RAWW helpline to initiate a rescue instead of harming the reptile,” said a RAWW volunteer.

Similarly, volunteers from Plants and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) attended numerous rescue calls from the western suburbs. Most of the snakes they rescued were non-venomous rat snakes.

Prabhu Swamy, a PAWS rescuer from western suburbs, said, “Snakes are cold-blooded animals and hunt for warmer places to raise their body temperature. And look for cooler places upon overheating. We have been receiving frequent calls from Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregaon and Borivli."

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