The very thought still gives 23-year-old Rupesh Pawar a light shudder.
On Sunday evening, the Byculla resident was watching television at his one-room home at Patanwalla Road when he saw a snake slithering on the floor of his house.
He realised that the baby serpent was the highly poisonous Russell’s Viper.
“It’s not a new thing for me. I used to catch snakes in this area during monsoon,” said Pawar. “I will hand it over to the authorities.”
Pawar said people had seen snakes crawling out of the zoo as the authorities dump garbage behind the slums.
Social worker Mahendra Gawde threatened that locals would protest if the zoo authorities did not take steps to ensure that wild animals stay within the zoo premises.
“We will launch a search operation in the area,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Zoo) Chandrashekhar Rokde.
Rokde, however, was unable to identify the serpent. “This python is not poisonous,” he said, refering to the Russell’s Viper.
Sunish Subramaniam of the Plant and Animal Welfare Society identified the serpent as a Russell’s Viper. “It is highly poisonous,” he said.
Snakes are usually spotted around in Borivli and Goregaon in the western subrubs and Malabar Hill in south Mumbai.
During monsoon, professional snake-catchers claimed to have rescued between 400 and 450 snakes.