Residents of Jeppu Bappal Encounter a Special Guest on New Year Day-a 11ft Python
Mangaluru: Residents of Jeppu Bappal-Mangaluru on New Year Day had an encounter with a special guest-guess who? It was not the late arrival of Santa Claus with gifts for the kids in the neighbourhood? Nor it was a politician making some rounds in that area with New Year greetings since the elections are not far away? But surprisingly the non-human guest was an 11-feet Python, which was seen crawling along the sides of the wall of Jeppu Bappal road. The first person to get a call about this reptile moving in their area around 7 pm on 1 January 2018, was Iqbal, a resident of Jeppu Bappal- who quickly rushed and clicked few pics and a video of the python crawling.
Around 8 pm, my buddy Kevin D’souza. also, a resident of Jeppu Bappal called and said to me to come quickly with my camera and make a report of the fun the residents were having witnessing a special guest in that area, which is very rare in years. Even though I was on my way to a wedding reception I made it a point to oblige Kevin, and quickly rushed to the spot to capture some “Hissing” moments. A huge crowd had gathered around the python, which was holding itself against the wall, and a few stupid and ignorant men in drunken stupor were trying to mess with it- without knowing the consequences they could face if the python takes it anger on them?
I asked one of the “Bebdo”, who was trying his best to get the python into a gunny bag-“If you keep bothering the python with your madness, what will you do if the python takes its anger and gets into your pants and swallows your mini python??” (You know what I mean?). Hearing this, the guy simply walked away from the site. Crazy people are there sometimes! The excitement was growing minute by minute, till everyone was waiting for Mangaluru’s popular Snake catcher Gangesh Bolar, to handle the situation. And there comes Gangesh in an auto-rickshaw, after an hour he was called to do the job.
For Gangesh, it was just one minute job! He gets out of the auto, steps closer to the python, holds it near the head and lifts the reptile from the wall, and shows it to the crowd. And in no time everyone was ready for a photo shot or selfie with Gangesh and the 11-ft long python, for their memory keepsake. Speaking to Team Mangalorean 64-year-old Gangesh said, “This is the fifth reptile that he caught on New Year Day, the other three being pythons and one a small cobra. Catching snakes is piece of cake for me- I learnt the art of handling snakes from my grandfather Angara Pandit Bolar, who used to give home medicine for snake bites. I also rescue and treat injured snakes and release them to the wild through the Biological Park authorities; and I even take care of abandoned snake eggs, hatch and release these young ones into the wild. I will be handing over this python to the authorities of Pilikula Park”.
At that moment one guy stepped forward and confronted Gangesh saying, “Are you sure that you will take the python to Pilikula. Because I have heard that you catch a snake from one place and then take it somewhere else and leave it there”. Angry Gangesh replied, “Prove it?”. Oh well, everything was fine- the residents pitched in some money and presented Gangesh with Rs 1000 as a New Year gift?
Animal rescuers say that these days they are basically rescuing snakes in and around individual houses/compounds. People may have kept garbage, rocks or some unused junk behind which the snakes just go and take shelter. Earlier you would see more of greenery and open spaces where snakes could take shelter below the bushes or rocks. But now with too much development, they have no place to go. During monsoons, when rat-holes get flooded, the snakes come out and take shelter on top of a tree, an open drain or a dry, warm place, or get into homes.
Gangesh has a message for everyone-“The best way to keep these reptiles away from your homes is to- Keep surroundings clean and free of garbage. Keep your home free of rats and other rodents. Get any garbage dump near your area cleared by the MCC. Lock all the rat holes nearby your home. If you have a garden area, keep it tidy and well-maintained. Keep the pots one foot away from the wall. Turn the porch/verandah lights on if you are going out of your house to do any chores in the night. Close the toilet doors/ the lids of commodes when not in use. Close the lids of sumps properly; get any unwanted openings to sumps repaired. Close the openings of drainage pipes with meshes, so that the sewage can go out but snakes can’t come in.” “But despite all the precautions taken, what if a snake still enters a house,” I asked, and Gangesh said, “Then its bad luck, nothing more I can say?.
A sad ending for this happy python which was until New Year day, 1 Jan 2018, moving freely in the area feeding on rats or other tiny animals or neighbours chickens, but now will find its home inside a cage at Pilikula. Not at all “A Happy New Year” for Mr Python?