Snake enters water treatment plant to beat the heat

Agra, April 1 (IANS) With temperature rising steeply, several cases of reptiles venturing out to look for cooler hideouts, have been reported from rural areas of Agra.

A four-foot-long Rat snake was rescued by the Wildlife SOS after it was found inside the Jeoni Mandi water treatment plant (Jalkal Vibhag) in Agra. The snake was kept in observation for a few hours and later released back into the wild.

A wild life official said, “As summer arrives across Northern India, various reptile species are being forced to venture out of their natural habitats and seek reprieve in cooler places.”

In one such incident, the staff at Jeoni Mandi water treatment plant stumbled upon a Rat snake in the filter bed area. The Wildlife SOS team was soon alerted to this sighting on their 24-hour rescue helpline (+91-9917109666) and a two-member team was dispatched to the location. The Jeoni Mandi plant is the oldest and largest supplier of potable water in the city.

Raghvendra Singh, Safety Officer said, “As the Yamuna river is located nearby, we often find snakes and monitor lizards in the plant premises. We keep the Wildlife SOS helpline number on our emergency contact list and their team always manages to carry out such rescues very efficiently.”

Rat snakes (Ptyas mucosa), also known as the Oriental rat snake, are a highly adaptable species and are commonly found in urban areas. They often wander into human habitation due to depletion of natural prey base. However, due to their resemblance to cobras, this species is often misidentified as the highly venomous snake and is met with hostility and fear.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “As the temperature keeps rising, these snakes will be forced to venture out of their natural habitat to find reprieve from the heat and exhaustion. Since reptiles are cold-blooded their body temperature varies with that of the environment, therefore they are unable to self-regulate their temperature if they get too warm. Snake sightings increase during this season so we request people to report any such incident on our helpline.”

Baiju Raj M.V, Director Conservation Projects for Wildlife SOS, said, “We often receive calls from Agra Water Works (Jalkal Vibhag) about snake sightings in the premises. Although non-venomous, the rat snake is quick and easily excitable, and may bite if threatened. Therefore, our team had to be cautious while approaching the snake as they wanted to avoid cornering or alarming it.”

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