BENGALURU: Bengaluru, which once was celebrated as the Garden City, had 21 species of snakes. But, now the count of species has come down to two. Thanks to rapid urbanisation and concretisation, snake species in Bengaluru are nearly extinct, which is an indication of global warming, say experts.
India has 270 snake species of which 65 are poisonous. Bengaluru is home to 21 species including four poisonous ones, but now only two species Rat Snake and Cobra are widely seen in city limits. “Bengaluru has become a concrete jungle, which has eaten into their natural habitat. Around 99 per cent of snakes seen here are now rat snake and cobras. Even these are seen because of trash, where rodents are plenty,’’ said Sharath Babu, a wildlife expert.
“On an average, we receive 200 calls a day but not all are genuine sightings. We may catch 25 snakes a day in summer, when heat brings them out, or in monsoon, when rains flood their burrows. But snakes are now being hatched out of season. Usually they are hatched at the end of summer, but we got a call about baby snakes even last week. Seven were found inside a two wheeler,’’ he said, adding that this was the result of climate change.
Wildlife rescuer C S Nagabushana said that snakes are important because they feed on rodents and mice. “If numbers of rodents grow unchecked, they will destroy crops. There was a time when we could spot pythons in Bengaluru, but now they have moved to outskirts such as Bannerghatta and Jigani. Venom in snakes is used not just to make antivenom but also to make many life saving drugs to treat cancer, leprosy and blood clots,” he added.
Snake species found in city
Indian spectacled Cobra, Russel Viper, Saw scaled Viper, Common Krait, Red sand Boa, Common sand Boa, Banded Racer, Rat Snake, Vine snake, Bronze back, Trinket, Cat Snake, Checkered Keel Back, Olive Keel Back, Wolf Snake, Shield Tail, Beaked Worm Snake , Blind Snake, Cat Snake, Striped Keel Back