Undoubtedly, snakes are extremely beautiful creatures which intrigue all of us. While some are intimidated by these stunning looking reptiles, there are many who work in close proximity of snakes and are completely in awe of these quiet and calm beings who can get brutally aggressive if disturbed. Here’s a photo essay by Soham Mukherjee, a snake enthusiast who turned his passion for wildlife into his profession.
Common Vine Snake: Thin and slender, this snake uses its color, shape and form very efficiently to hunt small birds and reptiles, sometimes including other snakes! Vine snakes are the only Indian snakes to have horizontal pupils. Their pointy snout gives them a better, focused vision and is not used for poking people’s eyes!
Banded Racer: Bands are only present in younger snakes. Adults are more or less uniform brown in color. As the name suggests, they are agile snakes and chooses to escape in any encounter with humans. This snake often ends up in village houses looking for small rodents and lizards.
Forsten’s Cat Snake: India’s largest cat snake is polymorphic – they come in several color morphs ranging from shades of red to green to brown and black. Highly arboreal, it loves to feed on small birds and reptiles.
Spectacled Cobra: India’s most famous snake species, Spectacled cobra is best known for its hood which they spread out to ward off predators/threats. They are also one of the major snakes keeping a check on rodent population in our farmlands. This particular snake is an albino – lacking melanin, a pigment that causes black color.
Naja naja hatching: Female cobras stay with their eggs till they hatch and leave once babies come out of eggs. Babies tear open the egg from inside with a tiny egg tooth. Interestingly, snake eggs are leathery and soft unlike bird eggs.
Indian Rock Python: One of the largest snakes in the world, Indian rock pythons can grow upto 25 feet in length. Small pythons eat small mammals and birds, but large specimens can hunt and eat animals as large as gazelles and deer. The heat sensing pits located on their upper lips enable them to hunt even in pitch dark.
Author: Soham Mukherjee
Soham Mukherjee has always been deeply interested in reptiles, especially snakes. He started working with them at a very early age; removing snakes and other reptiles from ‘people’s property’.
He was very keen on captive management of wild animals, and thus joined and headed a wildlife rehabilitation center in Ahmedabad city, where he focused on developing captive management protocols for native species around the city. He worked extensively on vulture conservation projects, both in-situ and ex-situ and initiated an annual campaign to mitigate fatal bird conflicts during the Kite-flying festival in Ahmedabad. Simultaneously, he worked with The Ahmedabad Zoo helping them manage their reptiles and carrying out education work in an outdoor based learning organization.
He joined the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust / Centre for Herpetology (MCBT), helping with captive management of over 2400 reptiles, participating in conservation breeding programs of endangered species and various in-house research projects. One of his work highlights was the training based behavioral enrichment program for several of the crocodilians.
He worked with The Gerry Martin Project as the Conservation Head and helms the various conservation projects that TGMP is running with a special focus on snakebite in India and training of wildlife rescuers.
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