Snake catcher R. Kiran Kumar was in for a surprise when a rat snake, which he caught at a mechanic shed, went on an egg-laying spree at his home on Saturday.

Mr. Kiran, who has been catching snakes for the past seven years, believes that there are only males in rat snakes and they mate with cobras (female), which lay eggs.

This was what he has been hearing about rat snakes since his childhood and even after turning into a professional snake catcher.

“This was what I had been hearing from other snake catchers, snake charmers and experts in the subject. I went to the Zoology Department on Saturday to meet Prof. Bharata Lakshmi, whom I know, to get a clarification on the issue but I was told that she had retired from university service. I even tried to contact Zoo Doctor Srinivas but couldn’t reach him on his phone,” Mr. Kiran said. Mr. Kiran received a call around 3 p.m. on Friday that a snake had ventured into a mechanic shed at Gajuwaka. He rushed to Gajuwaka on his bike and caught the rat snake and took it to his home at Steel Plant Township. “I left the snake to move in my room and went to catch snakes at Parawada and Desapatrunipalem on getting calls from them. I returned home around 5:30 p.m. and on going into my room, I was surprised to find the rat snake laying eggs one after the other in a row,” Mr. Kiran said.

He reached out for his camera and took pictures of the ‘rare sight’. The snake went into a coil around the eggs as though to protect them. Rat snakes are ‘non-poisonous’ and eat mostly rats and frogs. They are referred to as ‘farmer friends’ as they eat rodents and save the crop.

When contacted Dr Sinivas told The Hindu that the belief that rat snakes mate with cobras was wrong.

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