Come summer vacations, hostels and dormitories resemble haunted houses. However, the students at University of Hyderabad (UoH) who have vacated the premises over the vacations are in for a surprise.
At least once a week, one can see snakes and wild boars either in the surroundings of the hostels or inside the buildings.
On Sunday morning, a non-venomous rat snake entered the A block of the men’s hostel causing panic among the students who rushed around seeking help.
Immediately, a member of Friends of Snakes Society was called to the spot for damage control. A few minutes of search finally led to the capture of the wandering reptile which has since been moved to a safe place.
This however is not the first time that life forms other than students have made their presence at hostels. Almost everyday, one can see wild boars and monkeys around the hostels.
Most of the time, students move away from them as there is no other way to deal with the animals. Rarely a van comes along to catch the animals and transport them to less populated areas of the campus.
However, sometimes the snakes are killed by security and students due to the fear of being bitten by them.
Though UoH campus is home to rich bio diversity including rare birds, animals and other life forms in a sprawling campus. the university is responsible for protecting them. To that effect, the universities auhtrities have taken up a campaign about saving animals.
Officials have identified some of different snakes inhabiting the campus and have displayed few posters with the pictures of the reptiles at various spots to spread awareness. The posters mention about more than 15 different species including the information on whether they are venomous or non-venomous species. The campaign though has done little to sensitise those around in terms of dealing with the situation and reptiles are still stoned most of the times due to lack of knowledge on part of security personnel and students.
Amjad Basha, president of the student union at UoH said, “All the snakes are not venomous. They do not harm us unless we try to harm them. The posters in front of the student canteen and library clearly distinguish between the two. It is unfortunate to hear that snakes are still killed.”
But students have a different view on this subject. “If the snake enters the hostels during daytime, it is easy to identify and call the snake catchers. However, one cannot be certain at night and malfunctioning street lights around the hostels makes the problem worse” said a student.
As the awareness program has been ineffective in bringing about a change in attitudes of the people, officials are thinking of different ways to save the wildlife on campus.
Professor Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, the vice chancellor of the university said, “We advise students to call security if they find snakes in hostels. We are also planning to create some special wildlife corridors in the campus exclusively for animals and birds where entry of people will be banned, so that animals and birds can enjoy the natural habitation.”