A snake at the park

11:44 AM

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:

2013-02-05 16.51.45

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 :



  1. There is a large (like at least 1 meter) common rat snake that hangs around our house. I often see her in my vegetable & flower garden or sunning herself on the back fence. (I think it is a 'her' because one Spring there were oodles of itsy bitsy rat snakes everywhere.) She's quite timid and quickly slithers away if she hears or sees people. Our cats even chase her & she never strikes at them, she just slithers away. Apparently common rat snakes have been known to 'growl'- I've never heard our snake growl. Our maid insists on putting out a glass of milk for the snake, the cats drink it when she leaves. Hah!

  2. LOL I imagine the snake could not care less about the milk and the cat would rejoice at the garden snack instead :) But that's a nice gesture to think about the snake's wellbeing and wanting to feed it...beats the "arrrgh snake...how horrible thing" reaction many have to them.
    I'm surprised that she doesn't growl at your cats, I would imagine a kitty cat going after you could be considerded enough of a threat to do so since yep rat snake tend to do that when threatened. But then I could totally get slithering away at high speed if a cat came after a rat snake, they don't have much of a sporting chance against that big an animal having no venom gland, and I doubt their constricting strength is enough to incapacitate a cat or kill them.

  3. Somu Padmanabhan6:59 PM

    This is what I saw from my balcony in 4th Floor and it was quite a scary stuff. Ever since I have noticed snakes on and off and luckily while I was driving in the neighborhood. I can understand how scary it can get to find one crawling.

  4. Sorry your comment went through moderation because of the link :-) I fixed that.
    I can't see that snakes head, but it looks like a rat snake too, they are apparently very good swimmers as well and do keep cool in it in the hot Summer month from what I learned.

    Snakes are creatures worth to be affraid of, after all many are deadly. I think that what makes them also extremely fascinating. My mom is snake phobic big time, can't even look at them in pictures, while I just love watching them...give me a spider, any kind however and I hyperventilate and run away as they scare the hell out of me and I often end up squeezing my eye shut seeing one on TV or in a picture, so yes totally understand my mom's phobia, different creature but same irrational fear reaction.

  5. Navya3:33 PM

    That was brave of you guys to stay close by.. I had no idea these snakes do not bite! Snake = fear ! That is what I had been told and even though my mom who lives in the outskirts of Bangalore spots snakes frequently - we are always scared that a snake might enter her home : she has a snake catcher's no on her speed dial in case of emergencies where in a snake might enter her adobe.

    You are a great example for your daughter. I would not have done that if I were you. I would have packed my kid and taken him home. Subconsciously teaching him to fear snakes!

  6. Yeah rat snakes don't ven have venom glands, they usually kill their prey by constricting them like a python. I say good for your mom to have the snake catcher's number on her speed dial, because while most snakes found in India aren't venomous or harmful to humans there are still a minority of dealy ones too. Though none do attack humans without being provoked, so if you keep your distances and do nothing to frighten them into bitting you this is something fascinating to observe.
    My mom has a serious phobia of snakes, even wooden toy snakes and rubber ones are enough to freak her out and make her run for her life.

    Oh I tried finding your comment about your nanny in the other post, but for some reason it got published on blogger but not on Disqus...wierd

  7. Never mind about the nanny comment! It was one long sob story that I don't even feel like typing again. I m just glad that phase of my life is over and some balance has been achieved :)

  8. I'm glad you found a great one after all that drama, and i saw some of these nannies that think babies need to only sleep and nothing, they take them in the park in the afternoon, these poor babies never ever get out of the stroller whcih they rock abscentmindedly while chatting with their friends or sit on the swings with the baby in their lap refusing to give the swings to any other kids, never mind that the people part of the housing cooperative committe also scolded them because these swings broke a couple of time, they aren't designed for adults to sit on, but they just want to sit and have fun instead of doing the jb they have been paid for :(

  9. Navya3:32 PM

    tell me about it! :( in my experience you should not praise THE HELP, cuz just when u start praising them - all hell breaks loose!!! This one is 20 years old, a lot younger than the 50+one I had before, thus has the enthusiasm of life still within her to enjoy and play with my son - everything was going great until she decided to bring her 2 year old son to work with her yesterday as no one was at her home to take care of her kid - so she could take care of hers as well as my 5 month old son together. Crazy does not explain what followed suit!

    A hyper active 2 year old roaming around my house that is yet to be baby proofed as my kid still hasn't learnt the art of rolling over, not to mention the maid's 2 year old biting and chewing my son's relatively new bath toys !

    you can imagine my state of mind yesterday. I really really like the nanny, but how do you tell the person taking care of your kid that her kid isn welcome in your home ?After trying to Work From Home amidst the drama and the chaos in the morning, I sent my nanny home with her kid yesterday afternoon, told her she cannot manage two kids and I applied leave in the afternoon ! What shall I say? Life is eventful with kids!


Blog Archive