Wildlife SOS on Tuesday rescued Himalayan trinket snakes, rat snakes in Srinagar amidst the coronavirus lockdown.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has driven people off the streets, calls involving urban wildlife have increased, the Wildlife Department said in a statement.
“People faced with such encounters are reaching out to Wildlife SOS for help,” they said.
Rescuers from the wildlife conservation NGO have been on their toes recently, due to multiple snake sightings across Srinagar.
Earlier this week, the Wildlife rescue team received an emergency call from the Lalit Grand Palace Hotel about two snakes that were spotted in their front lawns.
Aaliya Mir, who heads the Wildlife SOS centres in J&K, rushed to the location with necessary rescue equipment including transportation units and protective gear. A closer look confirmed that the snakes were Himalayan trinket snakes, a non-venomous species that is native to India, Nepal and China. They are terrestrial snakes, usually found in low heights, dense vegetation etc. and feeds on rats, small mammals and lizards.
A third trinket snake was rescued from a house in Gupkar Road, just a few kilometres away from the hotel.
In another incident, a 6-foot-long Rat snake was found in a bakery unit in Industrial Estate, Khanmoh. The snake was nestled between the rafters on the factory roof and had to be carefully eased out by the Wildlife SOS rescuers.
The Rat Snake is a non-venomous species and is popularly known as ‘Dhaman’ in northern India. It is often mistakenly believed to be venomous, because of its resemblance to the Cobra snake and typically large size. Rat snakes are commonly sighted around urban settlements.
Aaliya Mir, Manager & Education Officer - J&K Projects, Wildlife SOS, said that they are getting regular calls about snakes sightings in and around Srinagar and have rescued over 10 snakes in the past month. “We are happy to see that instead of taking matters in their own hands, more and more people are calling our helpline. Snakes are often demonized and misrepresented, but in reality, a snake only reacts when forced to defend itself. Nonetheless, it is extremely important to take certain precautions while dealing with snakes, especially those that are venomous,” she said.