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Highway construction in Kerala’s Kasaragod suspended for 54 days to enable mother python to incubate eggs

Indian Rock python mother curled up around her eggs to incubate them (Pic. Courtesy American Museum of Natural History)

A heart-warming concerted effort by a government department, private company and a snake rescuer saved all the eggs of an Indian rock python, ensuring they hatched and moved to their natural habitat. And for this construction work on a national highway was suspended for 54 days at a stretch.

In Kerala’s Kasaragod, the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Ltd is constructing a four-lane highway and while building a culvert on National Highway 66, they noticed a python inside a burrow with eggs. The Forest Department was informed and they in turn brought in Ameen, a snake rescuer for 10 years, who confirmed that there were 24 eggs.

As pythons come under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and enjoy a high level of protection, the Forest officials asked the company to suspend work to which they readily agreed.

It was decided not to shift the eggs and allow the mother to incubate them by wrapping them and providing the controlled temperature between 27 and 31 degrees Celsius. Ameen constantly monitored them more than once on a daily basis.

After 54 days the eggs cracked and the mother python’s presence was no more required. The eggs were moved to Ameen’s house as they were completely exposed to predators like eagles and crows in the open.

Talking to the media Ameen informed that all the 24 eggs had hatched and they were released in the forest of Mulleria.