BENGALURU: Snakes are bio-indicators, says rescuer Rajesh, adding many aquatic snakes do not survive because of the poor water quality. “The saw-scale vipers need a rocky terrain and open land. Common krait live in paddy fields with loose, moist soil. As these are now not found in the city, these species have become extinct here.” Rajesh N, known as Rookie Rajesh, an independent rescuer, adds that people panic when they see snakes, pelt stones and kill them.
“Snakes don’t bite unless they feel threatened. People should not disturb them or try clicking selfies with them,” he says. Many snakes also die run over by vehicles, he adds. Urban snakes cannot be easily relocated. “Rescued urban snakes are released into a conducive habitat,” says Sharath, refusing to give a specific location. Rookie Rajesh adds he doesn't attend many rescue calls because “the snakes are usually found in their natural habitat”. These reptiles are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. “We have to follow certain protocol while we rescue and release them,” says Rajesh from BBMP, adding, “We cannot release a tree snake into water... These urban snakes cannot survive if we release them in forested areas because they do not know how to hunt there." Keerthan from PFA, adds that snakes are found in the places where there are rodents, hence in the city.
Rajesh explains, “Humans generate waste, which draws rodents, which draw snakes. That's the cycle.” The snakes are territorial like dogs. “They know where to stay, feed and find water. Once, they are relocated,
they find it difficult to survive,” says Keerthan.