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Two techies held for keeping venomous snakes as pets.

By Mail Today Bureau in Bengaluru TWO software professionals were put behind bars after the forest department raided their home in Bengaluru and rescued venomous snakes, including Russell's Viper, kept as pets.

In fact, the techie duo could not stop from boasting about their pet possession and even uploaded the pictures of the reptiles on various social networking sites. Both the techies were arrested after forest department and wildlife volunteers raided their home at HSR Layout on Saturday.

Prima facie, it appears that the techies were not aware of Section 9 of the Wildlife ( Protection) Act, 1972, which states that possession of wild animals, including venomous snakes, at homes is an offence. Incidentally, the duo was also known in the locality as " snake catchers". HSR Layout in South Bengaluru is a newly carved out locality, expanding at a rapid pace owing to its proximity to Electronic City, the hub of IT firms. Russell's Vipers are common in the area, and Subhash and Roopal Ralph had even acquired equipment, such as snake tongs, to handle the poisonous reptiles. Russell's Viper ( Daboia russelii) is mostly found in open country. The viper grows to a maximum of about 1.5 m. It is marked with three rows of reddish brown spots outlined in black and white.

According to forest department officials, snake tongs are not sold in the country and the duo acquired it from an e- commerce site. " They even claimed that they had caught and released venomous snakes in the past in the neighbourhood. But that does not mean that they can keep poisonous snakes as pets. We educated them about the Indian laws relating to wildlife," a senior officer of the forest department said.

The officials were shocked when they raided the home and found that the poisonous snakes were not kept in a cage or safe enclosure. " It is extremely dangerous to handle such snakes.

We found one snake even in a plastic bag," they added.

All the snakes have been taken to the Bannerghatta Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre set up by the forest department on the outskirts of the city. A case has been lodged against the techies and investigation is on to ascertain whether they sold other snakes as pets.

Neighbours called the duo ' snake catchers'

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 25, 2014
Words:394
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