BENGALURU: Abhishek Thirumurthy is a final year student of Nature Science in St Joseph’s college. A fun fact about him is that he is a snake rescuer and till date, the 21-year-old has rescued over 500 snakes in the city.He has been a member of People For Animals (PFA), an organisation that caters to animal’s welfare throughout the country. Abhishek, an ardent Rajnikanth fan was fascinated with one of Rajnikanth’s movie scene, where a snake is rescued. So when his sister’s house had a snake visitor at Banneghatta, he did not hesitate to rescue the snake even though he was just in seventh standard.
“That was a very foolish thing to do. Chances of snake biting me was high,” says Abhishek. “I was an impulsive teenager. If I had to tell my younger-self anything then it would be not to rescue snakes without identifying them,” adds Abhishek.But ever since then, he rescued snakes without letting his family know about his deeds. A year later his parents found out when he had to rescue a snake from his own house. He says his mother panicked and gave a definite “No” saying that the job is too risky. His father encouraged him to follow his passion and get professionally trained.
After the episode, he met professional snake rescuers and trained under them, including Jayaraj S, who is the current BBMP official of wildlife rescue department.“Do you know that a plate of rice we eat is possible because of snakes?” questions Abhishek. “Snakes play a major role to ensure good crop and harvest. If snakes were not present then 25 per cent of the crop produce would be lost to rats and insects,” he answers.But he also believes that rescuing any animal is a good deed. “I see no difference in rescuing a crow or a snake,” says Abhishek. Snake has captured his fascination since he was a child and shares that rescuing snakes make him happy.
The snakes found in homes and construction sites are mostly released half a kilometre away from where they are found to ensure snake’s habitat. “The snakes usually come from forest and woods that are quite nearby the location they are found at,” says Abhishek. For almost all his ventures that has been the case and majority of the snakes have been rat-snakes. He has rescued russel viper once, which he says was so close to bite him on his chest.
During his initial days as a snake rescuer residing in Bannerghatta Road, he used to get calls every second day. For his class 11 and 12, he moved to Tamil Nadu and changed his number. It has been three years since he has been back in the city and now the only people to approach him to rescue are through personal connections and BBMP.
The last snake he rescued was a week back in HSR Layout. “Because of rapid urbanisation, the snakes are either lost or have moved further away from the city so I get lesser rescue calls than before,” says Abhishek but changing his number cannot be ruled out as one of the reasons.
Abhishek does not charge for his rescue service but adds that he is open to donation for PFA.