Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Today's Garden Visitor - The Rat Snake

This morning, a snake was spotted in the building's common garden. While snakes have been spotted ever so often in our garden, this one seemed worthy of special attention. At over 3 feet, it seemed too long to ignore. Most city folk don't know much about snakes. In fact,  many of us could easily mistake a worm for a snake. So for us urbanites, whether we can tell if a snake is venomous or not, is too much to ask for. Whenever a snake is causing inconvenience in Chennai, the Guindy Snake Park is contacted. The snake park employs a bunch of extremely professional snake catchers who are open to distress calls related to snakes.

Snake Catcher from the Guindy Snake Park
When the snake catcher arrived, he identified it as the rat snake. This snake is quite common and pretty harmless to humans. As its name suggests, it feeds on rats. However harmless they may be, snakes aren't welcome in urban dwellings. So it was bundled into a cloth bag and taken away to be released in the wild. With one less rat snake around, if the rat population rises, we have only ourselves to blame.

Holding the Snake Tight
My son and I were thoroughly impressed by the snake catcher. Without a hint of fear, our man held the struggling creature, strongly in his hands. These men are known to expertly handle even the deadliest of snakes, often with just a crowbar or even their bare hands. What they rely on is their excellent acumen, honed over generations. The snake catching Irula tribe are one of the best snake catchers in the world. Now I know who the hero of my next story for my son will be -- the Brave Snake Catcher from Guindy.


  1. Yuck! I hate snakes of all descriptions, venomous or not. Thank goodness we have very few of them here in the UK.

  2. Vasanti said:

    Big snake! Scary till you know it is not poisonous.

    Irulas also catch rats- believe it is 10 times cheaper to catch the rats than to use chemicals to kill them. And these rats are marketed-Rom Whitaker's Madras Crocodile Bank buys them as feed for the crocodiles. These rats are also fed to the snakes kept for venom extraction(to make antivenin).

    Some of the rats are eaten by the irulas themselves. Heard that they are very tasty.To overcome the psychological barrier that puts off most people from eating rat, a visiting Canadian naturalist re-named them "paddy bunnies"!

  3. Paddy Bunnies! Now that does sound enticing.

  4. We have lots of snakes here in Arizona, many poisonous. Luckily we have not had any snakes in the yard in the year and a half we've lived here. I hate snakes as much as I hate scorpions. Those snake handlers are very brave using their bare hands.

  5. That's scary! But it's a beauty. Watching kids narrate stories - with all the excitement in their eyes - is fun in itself. :)

  6. there's something scary about the way a snake slithers even if you know it isn't poisonous!

  7. Rat snakes are surely one of the most famous creatures of the horror fantasy of the Hollywood movies where they creeps the night with their presence. But when you see them in real world they are more scare of human then the human is scared from them and they always attack on you when they find life threat from you and otherwise they are very shy creatures.