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Study suggests snakes have ability to translocate

Published : May 6, 2016, 1:58 am IST
Updated : May 6, 2016, 1:58 am IST

Is snake amongst the species that can trace back its territory

Is snake amongst the species that can trace back its territory A study undertaken by snake rescuers of Raigad on 110 Indian Rat Snakes (Ptyas mucosa) has yielded interesting results that point out the translocation abilities of the reptile. The group has now moved an application to the Forest Ministry to allow it to conduct a detailed geo-tagging study of a variety of snakes to validate the nature of the snakes to trace back their original habitat.

Ganesh Mehendale, from Nisarga Giribhraman, a Roha-based NGO working in the field of conservation and snake rescue, spearheaded the project. “There is no concrete study done in India on weather trans-located snakes survive in the new habitat or do they prefer to come back to the urban area where food and shelter is easy to get. In this forced journey back to urban area chances of their exposure to danger are much more,” said Mr Mehendale. He pointed out that a total blind-sight to trace the activity of a snake after being rescued has failed to confirm whether the present method of rescuing of snakes is right for the environment protection.

Mr Mehendale and his team, involved in the snake rescue operations in the vicinity selected the rescued snakes from conflict situations for the study. Over a period of six months, Mr Mehendale rescued around 110 Indian Rat Snakes and marked them with a biological method, which included clipping a part of its ventral scale (similar to human nails which ensures that the snake is not harmed in any way). The snakes were then released in three usual release sites around Roha, Umbrache Pani, Buvaneshwar and Uddavane in the two-kilometre periphery. The researchers maintained a record of the rescue site and release site of every snake, timings and GPS locations of both the locations to study their translocation pattern.

Mr Mehendale and his team came across six Indian Rat Snakes, which trans-located back to their original urban habitats. The team also noted that one Cat Snake (Boiga), was rescued from its original urban habitat four times before being rescued.