Syed Mahaboob from T Nagar fire station quickly yet gently grabbed a six-foot-long cobra and put it in a bag. The residents who had summoned him heaved a sigh of relief as Syed sealed the bag and took it to the Guindy National Park. With rapid urbanisation and redevelopment, snake sightings have become common in the core city especially during monsoon.
From common kraits to cobras and rat snakes, sightings increase during the rains. And people turn to the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services for help. The fire and rescue services received around 1,204 snake sighting calls from across the city in November-December 2022, a 15% increase compared to the same period in 2021.
“The cobra was rescued from Bazullah Road. We have got calls about common krait from Puliyoor near Kodambakkam. We get calls to rescue rat snakes and sometimes cobras from a locality near a temple tank on Madley Road. I have been working in T Nagar for the past five years, but off late we are seeing an increase in snake calls,” said Syed.
The fire and rescue services receive four to five calls a day for snake rescues during the rains. Most calls are from Red Hills, Ambattur, Avadi, Villivakkam. However, rescue requests c o m e f r o m Virugambakkam, Thiruvanmiyur, T Nagar and Mylapore too. Every call will not result in a rescue.
Herpetologist Gowri Shankar said that it was good there was awareness among people not to kill, but instead call snake rescuers. Augustine Amarn at h , l e a d i n g f i re m a n , Virugambakkam fire station, said they got 24 calls in November and December.
“I have caught common krait, cobra, and green snakes mostly from kitchens and motor room,” he says. He was trained at the Guindy Snake Park. Gomathi N, a resident of Virugambakkam, said she spotted a cobra when she went to a temple in Chinmaya Nagar recently. “Some months ago, a snake was holed up inside my neighbour’s two-wheeler. Snake sightings are common in Natesan Nagar and Chinmaya Nagar as there are a lot of vacant plots,” she said.