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Rare albino snake found in Mumbai’s Mulund; locals part with it reluctantly

The reptile was rescued after much drama, as slum residents did not want to give it up; it was finally released in its natural habitat in SGNP.

mumbai Updated: Jul 05, 2018 11:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rare albino snake,Mumbai,Mulund
A rare albino snake, the Common Kukri, was rescued from Mulund (west) on Tuesday.(Photo courtesy: RAWW)

A rare albino snake, the Common Kukri, was rescued from Mulund (west), near the periphery of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, on Tuesday.

Common Kukri is a small non-venomous nocturnal reptile found in various parts of India, but the albino species has been hardly spotted, said herpetologists. Albinism is an inherited condition characterised by little or no melanin production in the body.

Members of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) said they received a call for help after the snake was spotted at a slum in Mulund, close to SGNP, on Monday.

However, slum residents realised it was an uncommon snake and refused to hand over the reptile to rescuers who reached the spot. “One of them caught the snake and disappeared, but we were able to trace him on Tuesday. But he claimed he had released it. We then decided to report him to the forest department. Fearing that he may get into trouble, he then handed over the snake to our rescue team,” said Pawan Sharma, president, RAWW.

The reptile was photographed after the rescue, examined for injuries, registered with the forest department and released back to its natural habitat.

“This is a rare documentation from Mumbai. These snakes have red eyes, which are fascinating to look at, but it’s a disadvantage for the snake as it has no camouflage and becomes an easy prey,” said Kedar Bhide, herpetologist, Nature Works. “If many more such albino reptiles are found in the wild here, it will be worrisome as it means there is more inbreeding, which can be because of fragmentation and loss of habitat.”

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 17:05 IST