An unusual sight greeted residents of Kumaraswamy Layout on Monday: there were at least 31 newborn snakes on the side of the main road.
They were identified as young Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii).
The animals were spotted by some morning walkers, one of whom informed the Forest Department. Department personnel arrived with a professional snake-catcher from Yellur and collected the snakes. They were released into the Jamboti forests of Khanapur taluk.
However, the mother was not seen at the spot. Later in the afternoon, some people reportedly spotted a viper nearby.
Anand, a 32-year-old snake-catcher, who has caught 9,470 snakes in the last 12 years, expressed concern that the snake gave birth on the roadside. Usually, the Russell’s viper, one of the most common venomous reptiles, is found in bushes, fields or near piles of wood. With dwindling forest area and the expansion of the concrete jungle, the snakes were straying into human settlements, he said.
This species of snake is ‘ovoviviparous’, where eggs are retained within the mother’s body until they are ready to hatch, with the female of the species giving birth to live young.