|A wandering snake can be trapped using simple household items, Kedar Bhide tells marketing professional Sagar Nahar (in blue)
Movies like Anaconda make 26- year-old marketing professional Sagar Nahar go white as a sheet. He wrote to Mirror, curious about how snakes are rescued, and in the hope that close proximity with a slithery serpent would help him overcome his fear. “Snake sightings were an everyday occurrence when I was growing up in the Ichalkaranji town of Kolhapur district.
Our house was near a farm. We spotted snakes like you spot cows along Mumbai’s streets,” said Nahar. “I was made to believe that snakes hunt humans. That’s where my fear comes from,” he says.
On reaching the home of Kedar Bhide, snake conservationist and founder of Reptile Rescue and Study Centre, Nahar was apprehensive. Then Bhide walked up to a cupboard and fished out rubber replicas similar in size and feel to the actual creatures.
“I pick them up when I travel to the US and Europe. Snakes are protected under The Wildlife Protection Act 1972. I can’t pose for a picture with a live one,” he smiled. Holding one out for Nahar to touch, Bhide said, “Real snakes are calm and non-violent. Snakes, in fact, attack only when disturbed or cornered.”
“The idea of revengeful snakes is a nonsensical one created by the Hindi film industry,” he added. We headed out to the mangroves near Bhide’s Charkop apartment complex, where he explained that the rescue method for all snakes that wander into a neighbourhood is simple — secure the snake safely in a bag, and release it at an appropriate location. It helps to have information about the particular species’ habitat to ensure its survival.
For instance, a tress snake will not survive if released in the plains, and a river snake is sure to die if left in the bushes. Bhide asked Nahar to carry a pillow cover, a one-litre plastic bottle, a badminton racket or a long stick, and six clothing line clips. “You don’t need hitech equipment to capture a snake.
Household articles prove just as effective,” said Bhide. Placing the green-and-yellow rubber replica on the ground, Bhide asked Nahar to cut the plastic bottle in two halves.
“We are trying to create an artificial hole for the snake, into which we will direct it with the racket. Dark places make a snake feel secure,” he explained. Nahar tied the pillow cover to the open end of the bottle, and placed the mouth a few inches away from the reptile.
A similar trap can be created by destringing a badminton racket and attaching a pillow cover around its rim using cloth clips. “Make sure that you maintain a distance of at least four feet from the head of the snake, and approach it without making any aggressive movements.
Snakes cannot jump, so don’t panic,” Bhide assured Nahar. Mumbai is home to 46 known species of snakes, and 50 per cent of all venomous snake bites are dry bites.
“Half the time, snakes don’t end up injecting venom into the victim because they don’t take it to be a meal,” said Bhide.
That put Nahar at ease, as he gently manoeuvred the replica snake into the pillow cover through the plastic bottle, and secured it with a tight knot. “Suddenly, snakes don’t feel as dreadful as they did before I met you,” said Nahar, smiling at Bhide.
► The idea of revengeful snakes is a nonsensical one created by the Hindi film industry