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Foresters on toes as snakes stray into human habitats

The continuous downpour and waterlogging have brought sleepless nights for the wildlife staff in Chennai as the number of snakes entering the residential plots in the city's residential pockets has doubled in the past week

Foresters on toes as snakes stray into human habitats
A view of waterlogged Anna Main Road-Jawaharlal Nehru Road Junction


“The number of stray and rescue calls received at the wildlife headquarters and rescue centre at Velachery surged by 20 to 30 per cent in the past two weeks and our staff are now working round the clock attending the stressed wildlife,” said K Dhanaskaran, forest range officer, city wildlife rescue headquarters, Velachery.

"Most of the calls are from south Chennai areas located close to the areas near marshland, water bodies and reserve forests. Calls are common from Velachery, Pallikaranai, Medavakkam, Madipakkam, Ekatthuthangal, Guindy and Tambaram," the ranger said.

"Most stray calls are related to snakes and every month we attend 250-300 calls during summer and the calls surge to above 400 during monsoon. Rat snakes top the list followed by Cobra and Bronze backed snakes. Kraits and Vipers are rare," the ranger explained.

According to the wildlife sources, barn owls, spotted deer and monkeys are the other common animals that stray during floods and climate change. The animals after the rescue will be under quarantine for a few days and are later released into the reserve forests located in Chengalpet and Kancheepuram districts. Accidents related to spotted deer and stray migratory birds are also handled by the foresters and there are also calls from north Chennai where mostly it is the snakes that stray into the neighbourhood.

In the past, Chennai wildlife headquarters and the Tambaram range office have handled the rescue of python, jackal, crocodile and anteater. Over the recent years the rescue of small mammals like palm civet, mongoose and river turtles have reduced in the Chennai region owing to urbanisation, sources said.

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