Rare two-headed cobra rescued in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun
Uttarakhand forest officials have rescued a rare two-headed cobra from Kalsi forest division of Dehradun district.
Adil Mirza, who has been rescuing snakes for the last 15 years and now works with the forest department, said the forest department got a rescue call about a small cobra in an industrial unit premises in Vikas Nagar area of the district on Thursday.
“DFO Kalsi instructed me to go and rescue the cobra. When I went there, I was surprised as it was a two-headed spectacled cobra. In my 15 years as a snake catcher, I have never come across such a specimen. It is a very rare snake,” he said.
Mirza said the length of the cobra is around one-and-a-half feet and it seemed less than two weeks old.
BB Martolia, DFO Kalsi, said the rare cobra has been sent to a rescue centre at the Dehradun zoo, where veterinary doctors will check it. “After doctors check it, it will be decided whether to release the snake or keep it for a study. Such snakes rarely survive in wild,” he said.
Vipul Maurya, wildlife expert from Wildlife Institute of India (WII), who has been part of the state forest department’s herpetological surveys in the state, said it is a very rare specimen. “Till now, I have not come across any such specimen in the state. This is also called bicephally and is caused by some genetic mutation. Very little is known about such snakes, whether they survive in the wild for long or not,” he said.
Due to the ongoing monsoon season, snakes are being spotted in and around residential areas in the state.
Earlier this year, a team of researchers from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, led by scientists Abhishek Das and Amit Kumar from WII had confirmed the existence of a rare black-bellied coral snake, the smallest of the cobra family, which was spotted in the forests of Nainital and Mussoorie.
Last year, a rare red coral kukri snake was spotted thrice in Uttarakhand’s US Nagar and Nainital districts and rescued by forest officials. According to forest officials, the rare snake was first spotted in Lakhimpur Kheri area of Uttar Pradesh in 1936 from where it got its scientific name ‘Oligodon kheriensis’. In August last year, forest officials in Dehradun rescued a 15.4-foot-long king cobra snake from Jamunwala area, claiming it was the largest king cobra they had ever rescued in the district so far.