Monday, November 9, 2009

Story of catching my first Russell viper

I apologize for the profanities used in the following text. It could have been excluded but for the morality* of characters involved.
(* if electricity comes from electrons then morality comes from morons)

8 Nov 2009 10:30 PM : I was trying to doze in my office when a phone comes ... "There's a snake near the main reception ..." So begrudgingly I leave to check it out. On reaching the spot I heard some real angry hissing sounds. The reason .. of the room boys got so scared of seeing the (big*) snake that he yelled so loud it got the snake nervous. It must be thinking ... "what to do with these pansy little creatures ... can't go anywhere without them yelling at me ... " Actually this is their interpretation because snakes are deaf . What I realized is that the guy, on seeing our bimbo, jumped so fast and high, that he got the snake into believing that he is another of his kind, but much bigger and scarier. This is what happened. Our boy jumped and viper( equipped with most powerful heat sensors) could see something big darting towards it and got really intimidated. Soiot reciprocated with some very angry hissing.

Now, the real fun begins. The snake is already agitated to its limit and ready to strike anything in its path. I am there to catch it. All is ready. Except ... that ... there is no light, no torch, not even a matchstick. The brilliant people have arranged to catch a snake without any lights. So, I ask them geniuses to get some torch. The guards do not have it !!! So the room boys got it from somewhere. The light was feeble and I can see that it is almost drained. Still I tried to make the best use of it and started to flush our dude out with a stick. In the meantime Dipanajan arrives to become a witness to the chaos that ensues next.

Slowly and steadily I started cornering the little bugger. The light from torch is too feeble and I can barely see anything but because of my systematic flushing technique I knew exactly where the snake is. But, the guys watching from behind got real impatient ... "Sir get it out ... get it out now ..." they kept shouting. Morons, the snake is going nowhere and if they are so keen to get it out maybe they should get it themselves rather than trying to destroy my concntration.

Irritated by constant cooing from behind (to get the snake out) I poked the stick right on the snake and it flew out in all fury and struck the stick. All those who were getting impatient to see the snake now took flight and did not stop till they were miles from the snake.
But thanks the light is still on the snake. So I proceeded to maneuver it into the net with the catching stick. But that turned out to be difficult. It was already agitated and now really pissed because instead of coaxing it out, I have deliberately poked at him. So, it lifted its head in a striking position and whenever the stick went near it, it struck it full force. I couldn't get its head on the ground to get a successful catch. Three times I tried and failed. As I went for the fourth time ... guess what ... the torch went out .

I was stranded there in complete darkness with a really pissed of highly poisonous Russell viper hissing angrily at me at a distance of one foot. Now, come to think of it, I am pissing my pants but then I didn't feel scared at all. I waited for my eye to adjust to the little light there was and tried again. Now, I know what a big fool I was. I never should have done that . I should turned back and run beacuse I couldn't see shit and that see sees everything and was in a perfect position to strike me from any direction he pleased. But it was a "baba snake" (that is what I started calling it). It didn't bite even when it had the upper hand and I was helpless. I just took off in opposite direction. And the fool that I am, I went after it. I relentlessly poked at it, trying to get a hold on it. But there's no light and I missed every time. As the snake was going away I remember poking it at five different places like trying to board five coaches as the train passes by. Only once did it turn to give an angry bite, then it went away.

Defeated I returned. And was furious at the guards. I could have died there. The guards didn't carry any torch. And was witnessing the fun from a safe distance. What security are they providing anyways.

As I was going away one guard comes up and says .. "catch the snake ... it would come back and bite us.." Now I got really pissed with that. How can I catch a snake in complete darkness which is hiding in a dense foliage? But he was undeterred. It is my job to get the snake and I have to deliver it no matter how. So I politely said , " I cannot see in that darkness but if he can, he is welcome to go and catch the snake."

Then one of the room boys (again) got one working torch and the hunt started again. Now, we could see that the snake was lodged in the far corner behind a tree. On shining the light on it, it started to move out. And I positioned myself to intercept it as it was about to come out from behind the tree. So I tiptoed towards it so that i cannot pick up my vibrations. But those idiots started shouting again. They wanted me to catch the snake not from the front, in open but while it is moving sideways. In order to do that I had to crawl beneath the thick branches of the tree. Moron as I am, I listened to them and headed that way. But I immediately realized the mistake I was about to commit. The snake is in good position but i would be locked both by the branches above and to the left and nowhere to run. So i abandoned this stupid, idiotic plan and went back to the previous plan to intercept it. The idiots were really disappointed that I am not getting the snake their way. They must have thought I am a coward, afraid to go inside the foliage and carry out their million dollar plan.
I went into position as planned to intercept it. The snake was slowly creeping towards me and I am waiting. Just close to me it stopped. It must have sensed my thermal presence. So that was it. I have to get it as it was.
I prepared and advanced with my stick to get a hold on its neck. Its neck was buried in the grass and I was tensed as to where its head really is. The moment I was about to poke the snake suddenly a head appeared beside me. And then another one at the other side. A woman from my right asked the man to my left what snake is it.
I was stunned. A 3 ft. poisonous viper in front of me and with me trying to catch it ... two people are right in middle of it all. I felt like punching both the bitch and his man right across the face. Thinking quickly that if "baba snake" decides to strike now, we all would be dead, I quickly backed off. The couple came back with me. It seems none of them(at least one of them) have the balls to stand so close the snake except over my shoulders. I looked at the guard. "Who are these poeple? Who let them in?" But the guards are in the Pluto orbit. Too far even to respond. It turned out that these were some stray passersbys who felt excited and decided to go have a look. The guards did nothing to stop them and prevent them from sabotaging my mission. Only people these asshole guards could stop are harmless research scholars and not real intruders. No point pointing this out to them. So, I yelled ... "I you can catch go ahead and catch ... if not go away ..." They looked blankly at me, as if "what is this moron talking about.." snakes are like dogs and cats ... we play with them all the time.
Right at that moment the woman was trying to get cosy with the snake and it emitted and a low hiss. She turned on her heels, became Halley's comet and reached Pluto in no time. Thanks, "baba snake" you have cleared the idiots for me.
So, I got on to get the buster. But again there's not enough light because the room boys, who were focusing the torch, were far away in a safe location. (I cannot blame them for they have seen the snake was striking and bitting and climbing the wall. They must be wetting their pants by now.) So, the courageous uncle who just sabotaged the previous attempt took the torch from them and focused directly on the snake. But he made so much noise that the snake took off in opposite direction. I saw all the nights efforts are going down the drains. If I there's any chance of catching the snake, it would be the few seconds it takes to turn around. Luckily it head it out from grass now and it was darting for the foliage. So, I went for the head. I couldn't not grip it with the grapple f the stick, the neck is too damn small and slippery . I tried a second time ... miss again . This it turned and strike to strike me. I didn't move. (Don't know why I didn't. Maybe if forgot to get scared.) Now, I knew that there's no use trying to grab it by the throat so I went for the thicker portion of its body and got it.

A violent struggle ensued. The snake kept striking the stick again and again and its tail fluttered violently but I held on to it with my dear life because I know that if I get nervous by the raging snake and let it go I would not survive, nobody around would. Finally, I got the net and slowly tried to the snake in. But I was very afraid. Because a good portion of its neck was free. And I could not figure out in that dark whether it can reach across the handle of the net and bite my hand. So, I gauged its length carefully and then lifted the snake with one hand (with stick) and put it in the net with the other one. But the the length of the net was too small for such a biggy. Its huge tail kept dangling out and I couldn't get it in. I didn't let in go even when it was inside because I knew that the weight of the tail would pull it out.
So, I asked someone to poke at its tail which someone did and I relaxed. The drama finally ended. I rebuked the guard for not keeping a torch and left.

Next, morning the snake park guy came and took the snake. He was himself bitten by a 5.5 ft. Russell viper very recently and was lucky to be alive and breathing. He took 200 viles of AV and said that any snake bite now would be fatal for him because AV would no longer work on him. After he left I went to see our guest house manager to inform him of the lack of portable lights. He said he was aware of that and could nothing about it, because the torches when not used regularly become unusable (!!!). So he cannot arrange for any torches in future. So I felt it is my duty to inform him that in future they should also catch their own snakes. Talk about being an asshole.

So, there the story ends with a few good snaps from Shibe's camera.

The pictures are available at

Russell viper info (from Wiki):
Adults are reported to be persistently slow and sluggish unless pushed beyond a certain limit, after which they becomes fierce and aggressive. Juveniles, on the other hand, are generally more active and will bite with minimal provocation.

When threatened they form a series of S-loops, raise the first third of the body and produce a hiss that is supposedly louder than that of any other snake. When striking from this position, they can exert so much force that even a large individual can lift most of its body off the ground in the process. These are difficult snakes to handle: they are strong and agile and react violently to being picked up. The bite may be a snap, or, they may hang on for many seconds.

Although this genus does not have the heat-sensitive pit organs common to the Crotalinae, it is one of a number of viperines that are apparently able to react to thermal cues, further supporting the notion that they too possess a heat-sensitive organ.The identity of this sensor is not certain, but the nerve endings in the supranasal sac of these snakes resemble those found in other heat-sensitive organs.


sudipta said...

ki gul ki gul....bhaba jaye na....

siddhobokul said...

it seems that arnold is on the way to catch a heat sensing predator !

Jones said...

gul ta kothai ... seta to bolte hobe ... There was a witness ... Dipanjan .. he saw everything first hand. Yes, the interpretations might be far fetched .... but the story of lights going out and peeping heads crowding around were true.

trion ninja said...

gul nei. description ta at places a bit exaggerated...but i was there....though 10 miles away :P

whats not mentioned is jonesda shouting at the snake " go inside bitch..go inside" as half its length was dangling out of the net which he held in one hand and the snake in the other :D

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