INDIA: Riveting Reptiles! (A Ratsnake and other Friends)

I RESCUED A RATSNAKE WITH MY OWN HANDS. Sort of. Sadly, there is no photographic documentation of myself with the cute lil’ snakey-poo in my arms, but I do have a photograph of Snake Shyam with the snake afterwards! I’ve been meeting with him a few times a week to go on snake runs/ learn interesting facts, but this time he came to the hostel on official business.  The kitchen staff at the hostel (who are pretty cool, I might add) discovered this little guy curled up in a basket filled with coconuts down by the compost pile, and flipped their lid. A few shrieks of , NAGARAJA! COBRA! (and, okay, a phone call) later, I knew Snake Shyam would be on his way. I peeked into basket only to see only about an inch of brownish snake that didn’t look anything like a cobra to me.  But, when I tried to get closer to see, I was ushered away in fear of some sort of snake attack!

Snake Shyam arrived in Option #2 of his 3 Snakemobiles that I have met so far.  The first is a little motorbike decked out with stickers of snakes and specially rigged to place his snake equipment/snake bag on the front, which we take on sunny snake-run days and the third is a van that he uses to take 5 loads of children from the Mysore area to their respective schools every weekday (which includes saturday here) since there isn’t a local schoolbus. I woke up at 6 one morning and went with him, helping load the kids’ backpacks on and off of the little rack on the roof when we arrived.  Turns out he’s somewhat of a local hero! Even the cutest mini-Mysorians adore him.

But, on this day, it was raining, and so he took Snakemobile #2: Normal Car Edition.

When he arrived, he saw me right away and shook my hand.  After examining the basket himself, he motioned me over, pointed in and winked at me.  I was right! It was no cobra at all, just a friendly ratsnake (which, despite the unfriendly sounding name, are nonvenomous and completely harmless). At this point a large number of hostel employees had gathered around to see the supposedly venomous beastie.  He smiled instructed me to stick my hand  in the basket (he’d shown me before the proper way to gently handle the snake) and pull out the ‘cobra’.  Everyone gasped and I carefully extracted it (he was very long!) and it coiled around my arm.  Street cred: gained.  Here is Shyam with the snake afterward!

oh, and here are two bonus photos of some other reptile pals I met at the zoo!


Blast from the Past

May 2018
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