Reptile scare: Residents of Prayagraj City in ‘troubled waters’
Facing hardships due to heavy rains and increasing water level of the rivers, residents of Sangam City are also being terrorised by snakes, especially large pythons which are now frequently being spotted in different localities of the city.
Forest department is also on alert and has deployed rescue teams for catching the snakes and pythons and releasing them in the forest areas. Forest officials say that snakes and pythons migrate towards city area due to floods in lower regions and riverbanks of the district.
During the last few weeks, many snakes and pythons were rescued in the district, which include three large pythons at separate spots in the city.
On August 20, a python over 10-feet-long was found inside a car on New Yamuna Bridge. On August 25, another large python was spotted hanging from a tree branch near Old Yamuna Bridge. On August 28 night, a python around 15-feet in length was seen in the bushes near Shivkuti police station of the city.
The pythons caused panic among locals due to their size and forest department teams rescued the pythons before scared residents could harm them.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) YP Shukla said, “Snakes, pythons and local species of reptiles are in abundance in forest areas of Prayagraj and Kachhar region of the district. Due to floods and heavy rains they seek shelters on higher altitudes and migrate towards city areas and human settlements. Most of the snakes, pythons and other reptiles are of shy nature and do not pose any life threat to humans.”
“People should not panic if they come around a snake or a large python. Instead people should maintain a distance and do not try to provoke or harm them. Forest department of police should be immediately informed and in no case, the animal should be attacked or harmed by the citizens, as it is punishable under Indian Wildlife Act,” Shukla added.
He said that a team of forest employees is ready to respond at short notice and rescue the reptiles from different localities to be later released in the safe forested areas.
It is worth mentioning that snakebites and sightings of large pythons have become frequent especially during monsoons. Many incidents of pythons attacking goats and small pets and swallowing them in rural areas of trans-Yamuna have also been reported during the last few years.