Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Snakes Feast on Garbage City’s Rats (Bangalore India) – via Herp Digest

Times of India, New Delhi, 11/7/12 

Bangalore (TNN):  After rats, it's snakes. Bangalore's growing rat colonies among the garbage piles are luring snakes which feed on them.

The sudden appearance of the reptiles in some residential areas has sparked off an alarm in a city struggling to deal with diseases spawned by garbage.

The BBMP control room registered a marked increase in complaints about the appearance of snakes.

"We usually get about 15-20 calls a month from residential areas to capture snakes. Now we get at least three complaints a day from across the city," said a control room official.

A few days ago, Sharat Babu, an environmental adviser with the BBMP's environment cell, rescued a red sand boa in Vyalikaval. On Tuesday, the BBMP received a call from residents of Police Quarters, Marappana Palya, Malahakshmi Layout, that a snake had been sighted.

"Around 9am, women from our quarters spotted a snake moving around. We called the BBMP control room, which gave us a snake-catcher's number. It wasn't of much help," said Chenna Byregowda, a driver who lives in Marappana Palya.

Byregowda said this was the first time a snake had been sighted here. "I don't know what the cause is, but there's a sudden increase in rodents in our area." He confirmed that waste collection is irregular, and there's a huge garbage heap next to the quarters.

The failure to dispose of solid waste effectively has led to a new problem: snakes in the city. BBMP claims its control room receives two or three complaints a day about snakes being sighted. BBMP's role is limited: it provides phone numbers of snakecatchers and there ends the issue. "Ideally, snake-catchers should report to us, but they don't do so regularly . We don't have a record of what happened to the complaints received," a control room official pointed out.

According to Sharat Babu, environmental adviser with the BBMP's environment cell, rats attract snakes which feed on them. "Rodents mate only when they find enough food around. They appear wherever there are garbage heaps and multiply," he added.

Ten months ago, a pourakarmika found a box in a garbage heap in Yelahanka and opened it to find a 9-foot long python in it. Ironically , rats also render snakes impossible to catch. "If a snake enters a rat hole, it's not easy to catch it. At times, rat holes span a length of around 0.5km," said Deepak Reddy , who works with the BBMP wildlife rescue team.

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