Indian Wildlife Encounters

4th May 2013

Shedded Cobra Skin
Shed Cobra Skin
Some incidents lately that may enlighten those who think living in rural India would be just wonderful.

Snakes abound, but will normally just avoid contact with humans if at all possible. They serve a vital role here, in keeping down the rodent numbers that would otherwise devastate crops, and spread diseases to humans. Cobras are quite common, but usually seen fleeing away. This Cobra shed skin was found on the rockery and although I usually scoff at the size of the snakes that the staff report having seen in the garden, this is on a standard 6ft 6 inch bed.

Many of our staff fear to even touch a shed skin, such is their fear of the cobra, but this fear and myth acts in the snakes favour as they also believe if you kill a cobra, another will come to exact revenge on you.

The small snake is a Checkered keelback, commonly seen in the garden, harmless but still feared by most locals and probably best to be very wary, unless you are a snake expert, a bit like picking mushrooms and toadstools in Europe.
Checkered keelback Snake in the garden
Checkered keelback Snake in the garden

A live snake encounter in the bedroom, when the fearful shrieking of rodents coming from the roof frightened Ella and Evie awake. They obviously understood the language and when I put on the light I just caught the sight of a snakes tail disappearing between the roof tiles. The traditional method here, is having the roof tiles exposed as a ceiling, this keeps the rooms cool in summer and dryer in the monsoon with the flow of air but it has its drawbacks!

The fearful squealing got weaker and weaker and eventually stopped as the Victim succumbed to the venom. I was able to then settle the two back to sleep and turned off the lights. Some time later there was an enormous thud on the bed, as something dropped down from the roof and landed on us.
Black Scorpian
Black Scorpian
I got the light on in time to see it was a rat, thankfully not the snake and obviously fleeing pursuit. Panic again from the babies and with them clinging around my neck it was difficult trying to find it in the bedroom. John searched and felt it must have somehow got out so went back to bed again.

At first light Ella and Evie immediately located it behind the TV and it was finally chased off. The rats here are often bandicoot rats, which are enormous, more than the size of a pet rabbit.

Scorpions are also quite common and you are advised to shake out any clothing or shoes left outside before putting them on. This blue/black beauty was in a basket of vegetables brought from the market and was not happy at having been jostled and shaken up getting here. He was still very annoyed when I let him go in the garden, usually they just scurry away if found.

Ginger Tom Cat
Ginger Tom Cat
Although not your standard wildlife the ginger cat that has been beating up and terrorising all our neutered male cats for months, went into the trap again. This time I padlocked him in and he has now been neutered and let back out. Even in his short spell of captivity he seemed to appreciate 3 square meals a day and never having had a good experience with humans, seemed to understand we are not all bad. Once his operation has had time to take full effect, I think he will be back for food, if not girls.
Dennis Cute And Destructive
One Lump or two?

This photo is for everyone who thinks it would be great to have a pet monkey. Unfortunately there seems to be a spate of TV shows and films now which feature a "cute little monkey friend", pure fiction and possible only in a fantasy world. This is my evening coffee, after a gift delivered by Dennis from the shelf above. You may also notice the plastic cup, proper crockery, let alone glasses and monkeys don't mix. Welcome to the real world!

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