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Unusual Visitors: Snakes Invade Delhi’s Flooded Areas, Homes, and Offices during Monsoon


With the monsoon at its peak, the apocalyptic-like sight of snakes and other slithery reptiles having a field day in the city has been widely reported by concerned residents.

Wildlife SOS, Delhi’s only rescue helpline of its kind, has received over 100 distress calls since this month after panicky residents spotted the creatures in their homes, parks, offices and even warm car engines.

On Wednesday, the NGO rescued a seven-foot-long Indian rock python – one of the largest witnessed in the city – at the Air Force Station in south Delhi’s Tughlakabad area.

The creature was resting in the grass outside the mess building when it was spotted by Air Force officials.

t was safely extricated and put under observation, and will soon be released in the wild, said members of the NGO.

There is no need to be alarmed, say snake catchers, as most of the serpents were non-venomous wolf snake, red sand boa, rat snake, kukri, royal snake.

A few cobras were found in some instances. Most sightings have come from green south Delhi areas such as Sainik Farms, Chhatarpur, Vasant Kunj and Panchsheel Vihar.

A few were also found nesting in other parts of Delhi like Model Town in the northwest of the city, which boasts of a lake.

According to ecologists, not just snakes but even monitor lizards have been found roaming parts of the Capital because the rain that floods their burrow also provides an more readily available food, like rats.

Professor Sanjay K Das, a herpetologist with the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Dwarka said, ‘Delhi was a part of the Aravalli hill range and it is rich in herpeto fauna, which includes amphibians and reptiles.

‘Particularly the lizards and snakes found in Delhi resemble Rajasthan’s topography.

‘More than 11-12 species of it are found in our campus itself.’ Environmentalists say sightings of snakes will decrease after the onset of the hibernation period.

It’s not just the slithering serpents that may spring a surprise on you, but big lizards as well.


‘I have seen Delhi’s local monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis) on big roads, slipping in and out of the storm water drains along the pavements,’ Das said.

‘That is their favourite nesting place in urban settings like this, I believe.’ Kartick Satyanarayan, cofounder of Wildlife SOS, pointed out that snakes are middle-level predators and essential for any ecosystem as they help get rid of pests and rodents.

‘Without them, rats will spoil food grains and other essential items.’

But growing habitat destruction and encroachment is rapidly blurring the lines between cities and forests.

Consequently, the wildlife living in proximity to such expanding areas has no choice but to forage or seek shelter in urban habitats, he added.

His NGO has most recently received calls for a five-foot-long rat snake from a Model Town house, another rat snake from a house in Talkatora, a 3.5-foot-long young python coiled up next to a religious idol at a Sainik Farms residence, a five-foot cobra from an office in Vasant Kunj and another five-foot cobra from a residence in Noida, among others.

A common sand boa was also found at an office in Panchsheel Vihar. ‘Our task is to make people understand that their apprehensions about reptiles are ill founded and promote compassion and kindness towards the plight of these misunderstood beings,’ said Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS.

Kartick expressed cheer at the fact that people have become aware enough to consider calling experts instead of trying to deal with the matter themselves, or resorting to killing the snakes.

‘Our team has professionals who are trained to handle such situations efficiently,’ he said. ‘In case people come across reptiles or wild animals in their vicinity, we request them to call our 24-hour rescue helpline for assistance.’


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