70 snakes rescued in a month from Gurugram

Published on Sep 28, 2022 02:07 AM IST

According to government officials, over 100 construction projects are underway on Dwarka Expressway between sectors 84 and 112. Experts said that reptiles often try to find dry areas during the monsoon and hence the chances of spotting them are higher in this period

Anil Gandas, a city-based wildlife enthusiast and snake rescuer involved in thousands of rescues since 2011, said this is the first time he has had to rescue over 60 snakes from developing sectors on Dwarka Expressway. (HT Photo)
Anil Gandas, a city-based wildlife enthusiast and snake rescuer involved in thousands of rescues since 2011, said this is the first time he has had to rescue over 60 snakes from developing sectors on Dwarka Expressway. (HT Photo)

At least 70 snakes were rescued in the district this month, including 63 from Dwarka Expressway alone, officials said Tuesday, adding this is the highest number of rescues in the region in a month.

Wildlife experts attribute the increased number of snake sightings on Dwarka Expressway to the rampant construction in the area, even as officials say over 700 snakes have been rescued from Dwarka Expressway and released into the Aravallis this year.

According to government officials, over 100 construction projects are underway on Dwarka Expressway between sectors 84 and 112. Experts said that reptiles often try to find dry areas during the monsoon and hence the chances of spotting them are higher in this period.

Anil Gandas, a city-based wildlife enthusiast and snake rescuer involved in thousands of rescues since 2011, said this is the first time he has had to rescue over 60 snakes from developing sectors on Dwarka Expressway. “This month, I rescued 63 snakes from sectors 107, 108, 84, 112 , 110A, 99A, 101, 102 and 106 near the construction sites. Earlier this was all agricultural land, but over the years construction work has occupied these sectors. This has been the toughest month so far, as reptile sightings kept me on my toes. There were days I rescued four snakes a day from these sectors,” he said.

Gandas added he rescued 60 snakes from the area in August and 50 in July.

Gandas said snake sightings are generally high during the monsoon, but since the beginning of September this year, more complaints have poured in. “Since September 1, I have been receiving at least 10 complaints a day. Normally, I only receive 30 to 40 complaints during the season. The most calls are from Dwarka Expressway—many parents have stopped sending their children to play in parks inside residential societies,” he said.

Gandas added that so far, the Indian rock python, Indian sand boa, common krait and spectacled cobra have been rescued from homes and residential areas in Gurugram.

According to Rajendra Prasad Dangi, divisional wildlife officer, said there is no dedicated control room for distress calls related to snake sighting, people either call the wildlife department or Gandas directly. “This year, we received the maximum number of snake sighting calls from sectors on Dwarka Expressway.People would also call and ask why there were so many snakes in the area. We told them this was their habitat and the ongoing construction work has disturbed them, so they have started to come out in search of food. Also, due to the rain, the number of reptile sightings has increased in the area as there is hardly any land left for them and they need to look for warmth and shelter. Meanwhile, we have designated a team of six guards we can send across the city to attend to distress calls related to monitor lizard and snake rescue operations,” he said.

Roshni Devi (40), a resident of Sector 109A, said that since March this year, she and her neighbours have spotted six snakes in the area, but each time, before the wildlife team could reach the spot, they slithered away. “In August, a snake entered in my room and tucked itself inside a bedsheet kept on the trunk. We don’t allow children to sit or play outside in the evenings, and when it rains the chances are high that there will be snakes around. Even if some snakes do not bite, spotting them is scary enough,” she said.

Gandas said the increased number of sightings is not good because people panic when they spot a reptile around their homes and at times even try to kill them, as in the case of a Sector 108 local on Monday. “A security guard killed an Indian rock python, a non-venomous snake while on night duty. Worried the snake might bite him, he struck it several times with a stick and it died on the spot,” he said.

Officials said residents in that area were a panicked lot after a 15-year-old was bitten by a monocled cobra and was declared dead on arrival at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital last week.

Ramesh Kumar, private contractor with a developer in Sector 107 on Dwarka Expressway , said that daily wagers have spotted snakes several times in the last three months, and are apprehensive about sleeping on the ground. “When we started construction in 2017, there were hardly any cases of snake spotting, but we spot one almost every day. We don’t kill them, but often notice them moving around the sites,” he said.

Bhupinder Malik, another contractor of a residential project in Sector 102, said that daily wagers had refused to live on the construction site due to the number of snakes in the area. “This year, we spotted several snakes in the area even before the monsoon. Though they don’t harm people, most get scared and try to run from the spot. We have requested all daily wagers to not panic and to inform us so that we can call rescue services. We are dependent on wildlife department,” he said.

Dangi added that even though most residents are wary of snakes, they now call the wildlife department to rescue them rather than killing them on the spot. “Residents have become more aware and consider calling the wildlife rescue team instead of trying to deal with the matter themselves, or worse, resorting to killing the reptiles. The rain brings these snakes out and with vermin like rats and mice near human settlements, they often end up in urban spaces in search of food,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Leena Dhankhar has worked with Hindustan Times for five years. She has covered crime, traffic and excise. She now reports on civic issues and grievances of residents.

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