Derived from a Latin word ‘Reptilis’ also ‘creepy crawling’, reptiles are cold blooded animals, that lay eggs and have scales on their bodies. These are air breathing vertebrates which include snakes, alligators and crocodiles, lizards and turtles.

Wildlife SOS rescues close to a 1000 reptiles every year which includes monitor lizards, turtles, crocodiles as well as various species of snakes. When a rescued reptile is brought to our Rescue Centre, a physical examination is carried out. If the reptile’s health is compromised, necessary veterinary care and treatment is provided. Thereafter arrangements are made and proper permissions are acquired from the concerned authorities to release the reptile into a suitable habitat. The release is done in the presence of representatives of the Forest/Wildlife department.

There are around 270 species of snakes native to India only four are responsible for the majority of human casualties. Known as the, “big four,” these snakes find themselves in the middle of human dominated environments due to habitat destruction and urbanization.

The big four are as follows;

Common Cobra (Naja naja)

The cobra is the most common venomous snake in India. One can identify Cobras very easily as they raise their head and spread their hood in defense. The color varies from dark brown to jet black. Cobras are associated with Indian mythology and are worshipped across the country.

Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelli)

It is a thick set, ground dwelling snake with a small conical head and large nostrils. Its colour is dorsum-brown, with three rows of spots along the body and the belly is cream colored. It lives in grasslands or scrub forest. They are only aggressive once threatened or disturbed. Once agitated, they produce a high pitched hissing sound which is audible from even a few meters away.

Saw Scaled Viper (Echis carinatus)

A small viper found across the Indian sub-Continent, even the slightest disturbance turns them aggressive. The snake makes noise by rubbing its scales together. The venom of this snake is hemotoxic, and highly toxic.

Common Krait (Bungarus caeruleus)

The Krait is largely nocturnal in nature, so it becomes very alert during the night. The body is glossy black with paired bands. Usually looking for a cool place to hide, and in search of small preys, they find their way into houses across the country. Their venom is stronger than that of the cobra.

FAQ’s Rescues and the Rapid Response Unit

What areas do you work in?
Wildlife SOS runs 24hr wildlife rescue helplines in three states in India- in Delhi and the National Capital Region (+91 – 9871963535), in the Agra region of Uttar Pradesh (+91 – 9917109666) and the Vadodara region of Gujarat (+91 – 9825011117).
What animals do you work with?
How many animals do you rescue on an average?
Do you ever have to work with larger animals and predators?
Where do the animals go after they are rescued?
How do you transport the animals to where they eventually end up?
What tactics do you use to stay safe and handle an aggressive animal?
Is there a standard way of handling each situation or does each case require a different plan?
Does each rescue only require one person, or do any rescues require a team of people on site?
Can you briefly describe what a typical day on the job is like, if such a thing exists?