Our new apartment is in a building that has a very green park and playground, and a lot of vegetation and trees behind the boundary wall it is set against. I always imagined there would be a few reptiles of a sort or another, as there is more than enough rats, birds and other small critters for them to feast upon, and I finally got to meet one two days ago:
I was playing with Ishita at the playground when suddenly one of the many green parrots in the area sounded way louder and nearer that usual. Sure enough it was at my eye level in a nearby palm tree squeaking loudly at something. I found that odd, because first I’ve never seen these birds fly so low and go in the trees in our park that close to the ground, then because the squeaks it emitted were sounding very aggressive. And then it caught my attention, something shiny was slithering on the ground, took me about a second to realise that it was a snake and a few seconds more to go from shock to fascination (no not scared at all). I took my camera and captured this picture. keeping my distance even then because the snake looked like it fell down there and was trying to find a way back up, I didn’t want to piss it off more than he probably was already.
At first glance it looked like a common rat snake, I remembered it from the snake park in Chennai and more recently in Pune…why do I remember this one you may ask? Well first thing is that it’s one of the many non venomous snakes you will find in India. India has over 200 different species of snakes, and about 90% of them are non-venomous to human, the rat snake doesn’t even have venom glands at all. So the reason I remembered it is that it was one of the non dangerous kind, and also listed as one of the most common snake around and the one urbanite like me are more likely to see around their home. The other reason I remember it is that it’s long but slender and was described as eating mice, rats and small birds, and that fascinated me considering that snake has a small head but an even more tiny super narrow neck…not exactly the type of snake you would imagine could kill and eat a rat!
So being definitely not scared by the fact there was a snake at the playground, I didn’t leave, I continued playing with Ishita, I even pointed the snake to her since she likes them too, she was a bit scared, but fascination was stronger, so she perched herself on top of the slide to observe it and commented that the snake was outside the “zoo zoo”, and the next morning even told DH about the snake in the garden.
I confirmed it was a rat snake later that evening googling it, and even pieced together as of why the snake suddenly found itself on the ground in the garden in a matter of seconds.
See while rat snake prefer rodents, they are not against eating bird eggs and small birds as well. They are good tree climber on top of being speedy on land and in the water. What probably happened is that it seems the parrots in the area are nesting or mating, the snake must have tried going after a nest, one adult parrot got pissed and attacked the snake, dropping it on the ground in our park and squeaking at it some more before flying away. It probably found a way back up the wall later as it slithered away in some tall bushes before we left the park.
DH pointed out that it was good that Ishita was afraid of going near but still fascinated enough to look. She was so exited about both snakes on TV and in the zoo that he wondered if the day she would see a live one in its natural habitat she might want to go after it….after all one of her three favourite stuffed animal is long, big and blue :