Following on the steps of the Small Indian Civet, rarely found (in Delhi), the Wildlife SOS Delhi Helpline team has now rescued the equally uncommon Glossy-Bellied Racer Snake, the Bronze Backed Tree Snake and a Yellow Monitor Lizard.

All three species are uncommon to the Delhi terrain and hence their rescue from the busy West, South and North Delhi areas has made for some interesting times at the Wildlife SOS Delhi Rescue Centre.

The Glossy-Bellied Racer Snake (Platyceps ventromaculatus) which usually inhabits open grass lands and deserts was rescued by Rescue Team member Arshad Khan from the 3rd floor bed room of a Wast Delhi Apartment. It is recorded for the first time in the Delhi/NCR region. It’s range extends almost to entire Rajasthan and lower parts of Uttarakhand. A non-venomous snake, it’s known for it’s speed and defends itself fiercely when provoked.

The Bronze Back Tree Snake (Dendralephis sp.) found in the capital’s congested Sangam Vihar area was rescued from a tree outside a house by Harshad Solanki, a veteran member of the Rescue Team. A tropical rainforest snake, it was not expected to be found in Delhi. It’s a non-venomous and completely arboreal snake, deriving it’s name from the copper hue on it’s body. the snake has received some changes in it’s taxonomy and a few new species have been added onto the list.

The rescue of these two rare species of snakes preceded the rescue of a Yellow Monitor Lizard (Varanus flavescens) from the store of a restaurant in North Delhi by WSOS Rescue Team member Munish Gautam. It is larger than the usual Monitor Lizard and at the time of rescue was completely covered in oil and grease which rendered it almost black. On cleaning up the characteristic red and yellow marks of a Yellow Monitor Lizard was discovered. Uncommon than its counterpart the Bengal Monitor, it ranges from Pakistan, Bengal, Bihar and North Eastern states. It’s a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 as it is heavily poached for it’s skin.

“All these discoveries indicate that Delhi is still rich in biodiversity with some hidden treasures and even after the irresponsible deforestation and development the reptiles are showing a good adaptation to this growing urban environment/habitat,” said Abhishek Narayanan, Project Coordinator: rescue, conservation and education, Wildlife SOS.

“Both snakes are indicative species and this obviously indicates presence of micro habitats in Delhi that have escaped the onslaught of urbanization.” Said Kartick Satyanarayan, Cofounder of Wildlife SOS.

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