Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Urban Indian Snakes

Snakes adapt to a variety of urban environments, feeding on human commensals and using the artificial burrows and crevices created by construction, and in the greenspaces created for urban dwellers. The following story is being carried by The New Indian Express.
MYSORE: More than 25 different species of snakes have been spotted in Mysore city. Snakes are frequently found on the streets and other public localities. The population of cobras is rising in the city.This has kept Snake Sham, Pradeep and other snake catchers busy as they have been getting many calls to catch snakes in and around the city.The rescue calls often come from new layouts like Dattagalli, Rajeev Nagar, Revneu layout, Srirampura, J P Nagar, Ramakrishna Nagar, Hebbal, Saradar Valabai Patel Nagar and other areas in the city. The Infosys campus is one such area where Snake Sham alone has caught 485 snakes.Though, there are about 270 species of snakes in India, there are more than 25 species in the city including venomous and nonvenomous species like the Trinket, Sand boa, Tree snake, Green Vine, Racer, Wolf, Buff Striped, Keel Back and Rat snakes.There are also venomous snakes like the Cobra, Viper, Saw Scaled Viper and Krait snake. These snakes are sizeable in number in lush green and largely vegetated areas.According to Snake Sham, who has caught more than 24,015 snakes since 1997, more than 60 per cent of the snakes caught are Cobras.He said that greenery, availability of food like rats and frogs, water and the temperature are the reasons for the vast snake population in city.Sham says that there is only a remote chance for the decline in snake population in the city as one snake alone can lay as many as 20 eggs at once and a Viper gives birth to over 50 young ones.The movement of snakes in the city is recorded to be the highest during the summer months and these professional snake catchers get numerous rescue calls at this time of the year. Six pythons were caught around the city and have been presented to the Mysore Zoo. Sham feels that the residents should be careful at night, keep their lights switched on, have a mesh for windows and doors and avoid dumping waste in car sheds. The catchers feel that the belief to not kill a Cobra is a major reason for the increase in its population.

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