Would they kill the keelback?

Did that curious crowd know, or care, that the snake we were trying to see off to safety was a harmless albeit aggressive Checkered Keelback? Here’s how to tell a Checkered Keelback from its venomous relatives: Round eyes, checkered scale pattern, keeled scales and the oblique stripes behind and beneath the eye I didn’t really plan to make a habit of writing about snakes and the human folly of mistaken identity, but it appears that the subject seeks me out. Remember the young cobra I had written about some time ago? And the harmless rat snake that could easily have … Continue reading Would they kill the keelback?

Close Encounters of the Slithering Kind

These are not just encounters, but close encounters. In these situations I have either touched or been too close for comfort with certain members of the suborder SerpentesI’d never imagined that such a day would dawn. In 2008, I visited the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) with friends PD, Zak and Subbu. I must mention here that I was so scared of snakes that I was almost on the verge of being ophidiophobic. We were roaming the campus when station manager Prashant’s 4-year-old daughter found a baby Common Vine Snake (Ahaetulla nasuta) and caught it to show us. All four … Continue reading Close Encounters of the Slithering Kind

Would you trust a snake on a tree?

The snake tried every trick to climb the coconut tree. Failing, it slithered down and risked death. How could I stop it from being killed, I wondered. But the snake had plans of its own… Remember how Kaa of Walt Disney’s Jungle Book hissed seductively from a tree: “Trusssst in meee, jussst in meee”? And remember how some time ago I wrote of a little cobra that I had seen to safety, away from the pipsqueak securitas that wanted to bludgeon it?  Ethnocide, I say. That’s what it is — to kill a snake for what it is. That tender … Continue reading Would you trust a snake on a tree?