Snakes rescued from Agra Fort, Taj Mahal neighbourhood

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As the skies cleared after days of rain in Agra, the citys reptile population took the opportunity to venture into warmer nooks.

An Indian rat snake resting atop the Agra Fort entry gate and a cobra inside the kitchen of a hotel near the Taj Mahal were rescued by the trained personnel of Wild Life SOS.

On Wednesday morning, the Wildlife SOS Rapid Response Unit received a call from a member of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about a snake sighting at Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors were shocked to see a nearly five-foot-long rat snake resting atop the fort’s entry gate.

A two-member rescue team rushed to the spot and carefully extricated the snake, much to the relief of the public.

In another incident, a five-foot-long cobra was spotted in the staff kitchen of the Aryan Taj Resort near the Taj Nature Walk in Tajganj. The resort is situated just half-a-kilometre from the Taj Mahal’s East Gate.

Being cold-blooded, reptiles depend on their external environment to regulate their body temperature. As the resort is in the vicinity of the Taj Protected Forest, snakes often find themselves inside the premises looking for places to cool themselves off in the summers. Further, when it rains, their burrows fill with water and they crawl out to seek refuge in warm crevices and corners.

The NGO rescued another cobra that was found curled up behind a door inside the premises of JRM International School in Agra.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “As we go on encroaching their wild habitats, the summertime especially sees more and more reptiles wandering into urban settlements in search of cool spaces. The team finds itself on reptile rescue missions every other day. In the past month alone, our team has rescued about 50 reptiles from in and around Agra.”

Baiju Raj M.V., Director, Conservation Projects, at Wildlife SOS, said, “At least it is encouraging that people are reaching out to our rescue helplines when they spot a snake. In the past, snakes have suffered horrible fates after being spotted in human settlements. All three snakes are currently under observation and will soon be released into their natural habitat.”

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