Look out for snakes on campuses, wildlife officials in Kerala tell authorities ahead of school reopening

A training programme in snake handling organised by the Department of Forests and Wildlife in Kerala this year.  

With less than a week left for the reopening of schools, wildlife officials have alerted the school authorities to take steps to secure students from snakes and other animals.

Its after a hiatus of almost one-and-a-half years that the schools are going to open their gates for students. Small mammals and snakes could have established themselves on unattended campuses and classrooms by the time. The flooding caused by the recent heavy rain might have also forced snakes to take rescue in unattended classrooms and buildings. The possibility of encountering snakes on campuses remains high, said Y. Muhammad Anwar, State nodal officer for snake rescue and training of snake handlers.

Incidentally, Shehala Sherin, a 10-year-old girl student of Sarvajana High School, Sulthan Bathery, had died two years ago after being reportedly bitten by a snake in her classroom.

Snakes could make themselves comfortable in holes and gaps on walls and floors of classrooms, which had been left unattended during the COVID-induced lockdown period. Classrooms and other buildings on the campus shall be checked for burrows and holes. The gap between doors and door frames shall be sealed to prevent the entry of animals. Nocturnal snakes like Common Krait could sneak into rooms and buildings through the gap. The undergrowth on campuses shall be cleared. Creepers that have grown over roofs and windows of buildings shall be cleared well in advance, he suggested.

Incidentally, snake handlers in Kannur had picked up two snakes from a school campus after being alerted by the authorities, he said.

The presence of mongoose in and around campuses shall be considered as an indication of the presence of snakes in the vicinity. There shall be a system for handling food waste, which, if left unattended would invite rodents and snakes that feed on them, he said.

Officials shall keep the list of volunteers who have been trained in snake rescue operations. Details of the volunteers in each district are available in SARPA, the mobile app developed by the Forest Department, he said.

Contact numbers of rescue coordinators: Thiruvananthapuram - M.Sarath 9961832603, Kollam- Liju Thajudheen 9947467006, Idukki- Shaji 9526896411, Pathanamthitta- R. Dinsh 9495697907, Kottayam -Abeesh 8943249386, Alappuzha- Saji Mohan 9446387512, Ernakulam- K.G. Ranjith 9745400706, Thrissur - C.T. Joju 9745547906, Palakkad- Sidharth Sasidharan 9605599024, Malappuram- Javad 9567597897, Kozhikode- Hariprasad 8086505908, Wayanad-O. Vishnu 8606262978, Kannur-C.T. Joju 9745547906, and Kasaragod- K.T. Santhosh 8075448337.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 11:28:28 PM |

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