How to keep snakes away this monsoon, in Bangalore

With the onset of monsoon season, low-lying areas like Kengeri in Bangalore have seen snakes entering houses. One more example of man-animal conflict, why does this happen? How to avoid it?

Monsoon has brought Bangalore many things to rejoice, and a bag of worries as well. While the much-needed respite from the scorching heat is a welcome change, the rains are also the indicators to be more careful about the reptile and rodent menace that increases every year during this time.

It is not a rare sight to see houses flooded with water after a heavy downpour. This is especially so with houses which have been built on low-lying areas. This however poses a huge risk of reptiles, especially snakes, entering the houses. The city has been constantly reporting such cases over the last month. Calls have been pouring in on helpline numbers that have been set up by the BBMP as well as the wildlife rescue wings of some NGOs.

Adil Arif, Volunteer, BBMP Wildlife Rescue Cell, says, “These days we are basically rescuing snakes in and around individual houses/compounds, but never inside the house. People may have kept garbage, rocks or some unused junk behind which the snakes just go and take shelter during rains.”

PFA Wildlife Wing volunteers working to rescue the snakes from the sump.

When  you find a snake, call:
People for Animals: +91 99000 25370
BBMP: 100/ 080-22221188 (BBMP Wildlife Rescue-Snake Catcher Wing)
Just Dial: 08888888888 / 080-23333333

They catch reptiles to save them

People for Animals is a non-profit conservation organisation that works towards the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife in the city. Kishan, General Manager, PFA narrates a very recent incident that involved the rescue of snakes. “An informer from Sarakki called and told us about snakes in the sump of their house. Even last year they had found many snakes. This year they discovered a rat snake and cobra at the bottom of the sump. When we went and checked, we found that the sump was 20-feet deep and that the snakes must have been there since 4-5 days. They had entered it through the open let-outs in the drainage canal.” The rescued snakes were then released into the wild.

Kishan states that urban Bangalore is a good habitat for snakes. “There is a lot of garbage here which invites rodents which in turn attract snakes. In a way it works like natural pest control,” he says. “These snakes would have been there from long, but they make their appearance only during monsoons and people feel that suddenly snake sightings have become more,” Adil adds.

PFA volunteers with the rescued snake (visible at the bottom of the ladder)

Comparing today’s urban wildlife scenario with the scenario a few years ago, Adil feels that earlier there wasn’t much urban development that we see today. “Earlier you would see more of greenery and open spaces where snakes could take shelter below the bushes or rocks. But now with too much development, they have no place to go. During monsoons, when rat-holes get flooded, the snakes come out and take shelter on top of a tree, an open drain or a dry, warm place.”

Kishan gives tips on how snakes can be prevented from getting into the drain pipes. “If there are open let-outs in drainage pipes, then the pipelining can be meshed to ensure that snakes don’t come in. Gaps between the pipes are also good for snakes to take shelter in.” He also says that snakes, especially, russell vipers are found in parking lots, usually when it is dark. Cement flooring which doesn’t absorb cold attracts snakes during monsoon as it provides them the much-needed warmth in the cold.

Tips by BBMP volunteers to keep away snakes from entering homes:
  1. Keep surroundings clean and free of garbage.
  2. Keep your home free of rats and other rodents.
  3. Get any garbage dump near your area cleared by the BBMP.
  4. Lock all the rat holes nearby your home.
  5. If you have a garden area, keep it tidy and well-maintained.
  6. Keep the pots one foot away from the wall.
  7. Turn the porch/verandah lights on if you are going out of your house to do any chores in the night.
  8. Close the toilet doors/ the lids of commodes when not in use.
  9. Close the lids of sumps properly; get any unwanted openings to sumps repaired.
  10. Close the openings of drainage pipes with meshes, so that the sewage can go out but snakes can’t come in.

But despite all the precautions taken, what if snakes enter a house along with the flood water? What are the means through which the citizens can call for help? “We ask people to call up an emergency number. It can either be 100, the BBMP control room or Just Dial,” explains Adil. The call is then directed to the volunteer who is close to the spot. He/she will then go and rescue the animal and relocate it to a conducive habitat.

19 reptile species in Bangalore

“Totally there are 19 species of snakes that one can see in Bangalore today,” informs Kishan. The most common are rat snakes, cobras, russell vipers and checkered keelbacks. “The number of cobras has gone up this year. The other most common snake i.e. checkered keelback lays about 100 eggs at a time. As a result it is one of the most common and widely sighted snakes all over India,” Kishan states. There are both venomous and non-venomous snakes that are sighted in the city. “But basically people treat all snakes as venomous. Even when we go on field, we know it is a common rat snake but people insist saying it is a cobra,” Adil observes.

Most common snakes seen in Bangalore’s urban wildlife scene. Clockwise from top right: Checkered Keelback, Green Keelback, Russell Viper, Cobra, Indian rat snake. Collage: Nalme Nachiyar

Live and let live; don’t kill them

Even as we talk about snake rescue, we cannot forget the other aspect that the wildlife wings or the rescue cells stress upon: Rehabilitation. The act of releasing/relocating a wild animal into a conducive habitat seems to be as crucial as its rescue. One reason for this is the gradual decrease in the natural habitats of animals. “We see that there is no open area for reptiles to survive on. Before we used to see lot of tree snakes and water snakes. But today with depleting water bodies and reducing number of trees we don’t see these snakes that commonly. The BBMP rescues maybe four or five bronze-back tree snakes in a year. The green keelback, which is water snake has also become a rare sight,” worries Adil.

The next time you see a snake, remember that it has the right to live like you. It is a part of this city. Call a helpline and ensure that the animal is returned to its natural/conducive habitat. Have a safe monsoon!


  1. Vaidya R says:

    Any tips on how to do this?:
    “Get any garbage dump near your area cleared by the BBMP.”

  2. P al says:

    report 10 cobras sighted in the garbage dump

  3. Kishore Jaganath says:

    as advised in the article above, you may call BBMP Centralised number 080-22660000

  4. Shree D N says:

    Good idea Vaidya. we will do it!

  5. Raj Arcot says:

    Can someone post pictures of the 19 common snakes species found in bangalore+indicate which ones are venomous among them?
    I live on a farm and recognize a few but not all 19 species

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Mumbaikars get a taste of Murbad’s forest food and tribal culture

It was a treat for city dwellers to learn about wild vegetables and other forest foods harvested by tribal communities of Murbad, near Mumbai.

Throughout the year, vegetable shops and markets are stocked with select vegetables and produce that form our diets. This produce is grown in large scale farms and sold across the country despite geographic and seasonal variations. But 23rd June was an aberration for some of us, who spent time at the Hirvya Devachi Yatra. We got in touch with forest foods that grow in the wild, people who harvest them and make delicacies out of these.  The Hirvya Devachi Yatra was organised this year by the Shramik Mukti Sanghatana, Van Niketan, Ashwamedh Pratisthan and INTACH Thane Chapter. It has been…

Similar Story

, ,

Raise a toast to these changemakers trying to protect urban environment

Recounting the stories of environmental changemakers we feted through the month of June, to mark the observance of World Environment Day.

Through the month of June, we had a sort of extended celebration of World Environment Day (June 5th) by highlighting organisations and collectives that are actively trying to make a change. In case you missed their stories on our social media channels, here's another hat tip to these changemakers, who are fighting to protect natural spaces and ensuring environmental justice in our increasingly chaotic, expanding cities. Nizhal, Chennai We start off in Chennai with Nizhal. Nizhal, which means shade in Tamil, is a non-profit organisation that promotes urban greening with a focus on indigenous tree species and biodiversity regeneration. The…