Monday, April 25, 2005

Hisss story may repeat in summer

Hisss story may repeat in summer!
The Times of India

BANGALORE: A brave young man got the shock of his life recently, when the "sand boa" that he had bagged near the Bangalore Airport, turned out to be a Russell's Viper. Soon, he handed it over to People for Animals (PfA). As the summer wears on, snakes have become more visible and herpetologists caution against bravado.

During the last 50 days, reptile conservationist Mahommed Anees rescued at least 177 snakes from different localities of the city, mostly from water tanks, toilets, gardens and drainages. As the summer advances, the number of snake rescue calls have increased and the rescuer is kept busy.

There are two reasons for the increase in the visibility of snakes, says Anees, "Usually summer is the mating season for snakes. The potential snakes send ‘scent' messages to locate their partners. Once the partner is found, they come out of the ground for mating. Secondly, snakes are cold-blooded. Once the water dries up, they move to residential areas seeking water tanks, sewages and gardens."

Though the number starts increasing from January itself, April is peak time, he adds.

So is it only Bangalore that holds allure for snakes? "It's everywhere, but here in Bangalore, it's more prevalent because of the temperature. The mercury fluctuates between 28 and 32 degree Celsius, with a humidity of 80 per cent to 90 per cent, which is built up in burrows. This is the ideal condition for snakes to incubate."

Another reason is the presence of vacant plots. "Snakes are shy by nature, they prefer to be in calm places like Airport Road, Cubbon Park, Palace Ground, and Yelahanka Air Force Station.

For areas like Bannerghatta Road, Peenya, Hebbal, Banaswadi, Jalahalli, Banashankari, this is a daily phenomenon. Snakes can easily creep into private premises through open pipelines, rat burrows, leaking taps and drainage.

With several drains connected to Ulsoor lake, open drains have become home sweet home for them. Through the pipes, they move from one place to another and eventually land up in homes," says Anees.

The species of snakes too differ. From the cobra to the Russell's Viper, ratsnakes to Saw-scaled Vipers. Snakes commonly found and trapped by the rescuers include both venomous and non-venomous varieties. The cobras are the most common ones to be found in Bangalore.


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