Important Tips

SNAKES found in Mumbai and nearby areas

Spectacled Cobra : Venomous

Identification : Spectacled Cobra has a distinct head. It has large nostrils and black eyes with round pupils. Spectacled Cobra is yellowish, dark brown or black in colour. The distinctive identification, which gave the snake its name, spectacle mark on the hood is only visible spread. The spectacle on back of the hood varies in size in different snakes and sometimes it may be totally absent. Spectacled Cobra has two black marks in the hood opposite the spectacled mark. It raises itself off the ground inc case of any danger.

Habitat / Habits : it is the most common venomous snake found in Indian. The snake is found in forests, grasslands, fields, ant hills and in abandoned houses. Its food comprises of frogs, toads, mice, small birds. Female Spectacled Cobra lays around 10 to 15 eggs at a time. The egg laying period is from April to May and the gestation period is around 70 days.

Rat Snake/ Dhaman: Non Venomous

Identification :Rat Snake, commonly known as Dhaman in Maharashtra, has large eyes yellow-bordered round pupils. The lip scales of Rat Snake are separated by vertical black lines. The colour of Rat Snake varies from yellowish brown, moss-green, light whitish-brown and black. The tail of Rat Snake, which is long, tapered froms nearly one-fourth of body length. The tail has net like design. The underbelly of Rat Snake is yellow in colour. Rat Snake can run at very high speeds if needed.

Habitat / Habits : As the name suggests, Rat Snake mainly feeds on rats. Hence frequently found in and around area with green cover such as garden. It is a fine swimmer and tree climber. Hence, can be found on trees, in wells and around water tanks. The rat snake can remain under water for almost 10 minutes. It inflates the neck and makes hissing sound when disturbed or senses danger. Though rat is the main food, it also feeds on toads, frogs, lizards, geckos, small birds and bats. Female rat snake lays around 36 eggs between May and August.

Russellís viper: Venomous

Identification :Russellís viper has a stout, round body with thin and short tail. It has a flat and triangular head, vertical pupils, large nostrils with small scales on top with large nostrils. The body colour is brown with three rows of dark brown colour along the length.

Habitat / Habits : Russellís viper is commonly found in anthills, rat holes, fields and grasslands. When in danger it make a frightening loud hissing sound. Russellís viper is the dangerously fast striker. It mainly feeds on rats.

Saw-Scalled Viper: Venomous

Identification :Saw Scaled viper is pale brown in colour with white-bordered, zip-zap pattern. Its underbelly is white having small brown spots. Its head has small scales and a white or pale brown spear mark. It has large golden eyes with vertical black pupils. It has a round body and scales with saw-like keels. It has a short tail.

Habitat / Habits : Saw Scaled Viper is commonly found in coastal areas under boulders and thorny bushes. It is mainly a nocturnal animal, however can be seen basking during morning hours. It has a distinctive defense mechanism. When in danger, it coils and rubs the scales together to make a noise like a wood-saw. Its food comprises of scorpions, centipedes, geckos, skinks, frogs and small mice. Female saw scaled viper gives birth to four to eight live ones between July and August. The young ones measure approximately 8-12cm.

Checkered Keelback Water Snake: Non Venomous

Identification :Checkered Keelback Water Snake has large eyes with round pupils. The skin has a unique checkered pattern of shining keeled scales on upper body having rows of alternative black, yellow, grey or moss-green checks with white spots. The upper body is body reddish in some cases with two black lines behind the eyes. The underbelly is white.

Habitat / Habits : Checkered Keelback Water Snake is found in water bodies such as rivers, ponds, nullahs, lakes. It hunts fish in shallow waters. Checkered Keelback Water Snake prefers staying on land during night. When in danger, it flattens neck and strikes with wide open mouth. It mainly feeds on fish and frogs. Young ones survive on tadpoles and water beetles. Female Checkered Keelback Water Snake lays 20-40 eggs near water bodies.

Buff-Striped Keelback : Non Venomous

Identification :Buff-Striped Keelback has a slender brown body tapers and a long tail. Light brown/yellow stripes run along the entire length of the snake. Buff-Striped Keelback has black or dark brown bands with whitish spots on fore body. Its head is light grayish brown with yellow lip scales. There are a couple of black streaks behind the eyes and the underbelly is yellow in colour.

Habitat / Habits : Buff-Striped Keelback is normally found near water bodies in marshy areas and paddy field. Though a shy snake, Buff-Striped Keelback spreads its body to display blue or red colour between scales when in danger. Around six to seven males can be seen following a female during mating season. Buff-Striped Keelback feeds on frogs and toads, and it lays 8-9 eggs twice a year from May to June and October to November.

Banded Kukri Snake: Non Venomous

Identification :Banded Kukri Snake has round body, eyes with round pupils. The snake is ash or reddish brown in colour with around 20 black/dark brown bands and usually three black V shaped marks on the head, the underbelly is white with black spots. The snake is very often mistaken for Banded Krait due to its appearance and striking resemblance.

Habitat / Habits : Banded Kukri is found in ant hills, crevice in rocks, tree hollows and abandoned houses and under the stones. It is a shy snake and doesnít generally bite. It feeds on reptile eggs, geckos, skinks, and mice.

Common Wolf Snake : Non Venomous

Identification :Common Wolf Snake has a shiny body with smooth scales. It has a flat and broad head. It is different from the rest of the body having broad white or yellow band on neck, and white/yellow bands which become lighter towards the tail.

Habitat / Habits : Common Wolf Snake is nocturnal. It is known to climb vertical walls searching geckos. It is found commonly around human habitation. The snake generally prefers old houses/heaps of rubbish. It feeds mainly on geckos and occasionally on skinks and frogs. Female Common Wolf Snake lays four to 11 eggs during March and May, the hatchings have a lucid skin.

Common Sand Boa: Non Venomous

Identification :Common Sand Boa is a keeled, has small scales on head. It has a thick body while the tail is short, blunt, rough and pointed. It has small eyes with vertical pupils. Its nostrils placed high on the head. Common Sand Boa has ventral scales narrower than width of the body. It is sand coloured or brown with dark blotches. It has striking similarity with Indian Rock Python and Russellís viper.

Habitat / Habits : Common sand Boa is found in sandy area. It prefers crevices or burrows. It is a short tempered snake which instantly coils and hides its head under the body when in danger. On provocation, common sand boa strikes with a fast jerky movement. Generally it is a slow moving snake. It feeds mainly on squirrels, lizards and skinks. Female common sand boa gives birth to 7-9 young that are about 8cm long.

Indian Rock Python: Non Venomous

Identification :Indian Rock Python has a stout body with smooth, glossy scales. Its has short eyes with vertical pupils and prehensile tail. The labial pits on lip scales act as thermo-receptors and help in locating warm blooded prey. The body colour is gray, off white or light brown with dark brown blotches. The head has an arrow-shaped mark that seems incomplete in front. The underbelly is white, pinkish-brown or yellow. The maximum length if Indian rock Python is 760cm

Habitat / Habits : Indian Rock Python is founded in forests, open areas, agricultural fields. It lives in rocky areas near water bodies. It can remain under water for 30 minutes. Indian rock Python mainly feeds on small mammals, water birds and monitor lizards. The undigested body parts of the prey like horns, hooves, teeth, hair and beaks are excreted. The female Indian Rock Python lays around 100 eggs after two months of mating. The mating season is during January and March. The female stays with the eggs till they hatch.

Common Indian Krait : Venomous

Identification :Common Indian Krait has a smooth body with shiny scales. The scales in uppermost row are hexagonal and strikingly enlarged. The Common Indian Krait is either blue or black, occasionally dark brown with single or paired white bands, which are more striking the tail.

Habitat / Habits : Common Indian Krait is shy in nature. It feeds mainly on snakes and even other kraits. It is also known to eat mice, frogs or lizards. Female Common Indian Krait lays to 10-12 eggs in May. The maximum length is 175cm.

Common Vine Snake: Semi Venomous

Identification :Common Vine snake has a long and thin body. It has elongated, pointed head with large golden yellow eyes with horizontal pupils. The body colour is bright or dark green, occasionally has a bluish tint. The underbelly is light green having thin white line on either side.

Habitat / Habits : common Vine Snake is found on small bushes and trees. When in danger, it inflates the fore body and displays a black and white pattern which is otherwise hidden under the scales. It strikes with wide open mouth. Common Vine Snake feeds on lizards, frogs and small birds. Female Common Vine Snake gives birth to 3-23 young ones. The number depends on the size of the mother. Larger the size more is the number of young ones. Its maximum length is 200cm

How to help:

If any snake is seen in residential area, donít rush to kill it. Immediately call a snake rescue team and keep a watch on the snake till the team arrives. Donít disturb the snake by making sounds or crowding around it. PAWS-Mumbai Wildlife Rescue Helpline +91 9833480388


What must you do as a volunteer if u see a dog/cat with maggot wound (on body other than eyes, ears and mouth).
If the dog is not manageable then directly pour choloroform or spray dímag etc or powder with anti maggot property .This will at least kill all the wound producing maggot or fly larvae, ensure that the product is applied as much as on the skin surface, you can cover.
If itís a big wound dressing may be required twice a day or at least once a day till the wound heals completely, Maggot wounds required to be redressed as the wounds attract flies to deposite repeated rafts or eggs, along with demaggot sprays it is equally important to identify and remove fly eggs or rafts. Oozing wounds attract flies to keep depositing their eggs on the wound discharge, it is therefore advisable to retreat the wound repeatedly especially if it is big one.
Once the maggots are dead, it is also important to remove the dead maggots with the help of forceps to prevent pus formation.
Basic antibiotics such as Cap Baxin, tab pentid or tab augmentin can be given under veterinary guidance.
A dog/cat with maggot wound (on eyes, ears and mouth).
Wounds in other parts should be carefully treated by putting ivermectin in liquid form either injectable or oral preparations as available, Such areas are very sensitive and anti maggot agents other than these can create other side effects esp. coloroform can cause severe side effects is used on or over eye wounds, inside the ears or within the, mouth
Oral ivermectin tablets can also be given if it can be made available. Human preparations are also easily available at regular chemists.
It is basically recommended that the dog be admitted if the wound is very big and regular treatment of the wound dressing cannot be done as maggot wounds can become very difficult to treat if not controlled in time.
Dressing of regular wounds Scratch , dog/cat bite or tear wounds. Such wounds can be dressed with povidone iodine solutions, calendula tinchure cleaning the wounds as well as removal of dead scabs should be done, to allow the wound to breath, if the dog is easily manageable cutting of hair around the wound is a must, especially in complying dogs. It is often advisable not to apply cream based antiseptics, as the dogs can lick the wounds and create additional complication. Bandaging the wounds must be done only if it possible for the volunteer to redress the wounds. In wounds that have pus like discharge cleaning should be complemented with use of Neosporin powder or antibiotic based creams or other agents (preferably use agents that are safe when licked, under veterinary guidance).The products are best effective if used after wound cleaning.

Essential tips

  • Wounds can be as a result of external parasites eg. Fleas, louse and Mites unless the primary source is not taken care, severe itching can lead to repeated self inflection and therefore a wound, and later on even maggoted if not addressed on time .It is therefore important to use specific medicines to control the external parasites first. A traditional home remedy of eucalyptus oil can be used against treatment of fleas and louse. Mite treatment may require veterinary attention apart from ivermectin tablets which help treating scabies as well as demodectic (mange).

  • Dressing a wound in the street dog depends on the temperament of the canine if the dog submits easily then it is possible to clip/cut the hair around the wound before dressing, if the dog is not very complying then the necessary wound dressing such as pour the demaggot sprays to kill the maggots or pouring the anti septics for other wound should be done at first before additional attention is to be given.

  • Oral tablets should be complemented in suppurating wounds depending on the severity antibiotics can be given at regular interval.

  • Using concentrated dettol, kerosene, petrol on wounds can lead to burning of skin tissue and delay of wound healing.

  • Use of turmeric powder on superficial wounds can be done provided it doesnít interfere in healing of big wounds which require to breath. Turmeric helps keep flies away but excess powder can delay wound healing.

  • Prophalactic antirabies inoculation must be taken by all volunteers before handling stays.

Essential first aid for volunteers :

  • Cotton roll
  • Povidone iodine as well as tinchure iodine
  • Calendula tinchure (liquid) homeopathic medicine called mother tichure, aids in healing on repeated use on wounds.
  • Spirit. (antiseptic)
  • Guaze(for bandaging)
  • Ivermectin tabs or injectable if possible, choloroform , dmar or doline spray (veterinary anti maggot sprays)or even negasunt powder ( bayer product that is anti maggot )
  • Mouth muzzle or simple home use nadas
  • Scissors as well as forceps if possible.



India is the only country, whose Constitution casts a Fundamental Duty of every citizen to be kind and compassionate to animals.

Part IV


Article 48 : Organisation of agriculture and Animal Husbandry Ė The State shall endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and claves and other milch and draught cattle.

Article 48ĖA : Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forest wildlife. The State shall endeavour to Protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

Part IV A


Article 51ĖA : Fundamental Duties Ė It shall be the duty of every citizen of India Ė (g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.



Under Section 11


1. Beating, kicking, overriding, torturing or causing any animal pain or suffering by the owner or any other person (Tongawallas and cart-owners). Using any animal for work when it is wounded or unfit.
2. Overloading Any weight exceeding the limits given below :

Two wheeled Vehicles without Ball Bearing or Pneumatic Tyres Kgs.
Small Bullock or Buffalo 500
Medium Bullock or Buffalo 700
Large Bullock or Buffalo 900
Horse 500
Camel 1000

Pack Animals Kgs.
Small Bullock or Buffalo 100
Medium Bullock or Buffalo 150
Large Bullock or Buffalo 175
Pony 70
Mule 200
Donkey 50
Camel 250

Permissible loading in a truck is only 6 buffaloes or 40 sheep/goats. Only 4 passengers excluding the driver are allowed on a tonga or a total of 325 Kgs.

3. Carrying or transporting animals in such a manner that it causes suffering. Carrying of chickens upside down on cycles, carrying of goats, pigs, cattle with their legs tied in small vehicles.
4. Caging or confining an animal in a cage, which does not allow the animal sufficient space for movement. Overcowding of animals in yards and during transportation for slaughter. This applies to the cages of circus animals & mini zoos as well.
5. Failing to provide pet animals with sufficient food, water or shelter. Abandoning an animal when old or diseased, keeping it on a short leash and insufficient exercise. Pet owners are covered under this Act.
6. Mutilating an animal : Cutting ears or tails, cutting the beaks of birds or clipping their wings & breaking legs for transportation.
7. Giving any animal an injurious drug. All dairy owners who give oxytocin injections to their milch cattle can be raided and their dairies shut down. Also look at Section 12.
8. Organisation or offering an area for animal fights or baiting of animals (Cock or ram fighting, snake and mongoose fights).


All these offences are punishable with a fine or with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three months or with both.

Under Section 12


9. Any person using injections of any kind, conducting any operation called Phooka or Doom Dev to improve lactation of cows or any other milch cattle (e.g. Oxytocin injections).


Under Section 21 & 22


  • 10. It is an offence to exhibit and train performing animals. (All madaris, snake charmers, bear and monkey performers are covered under this Section. Animal ďJoyridesĒ are also covered under this Act.) Under Govt. notification GSR 619 (E) dated 14.10.1998 circuses may not use the following animals for training or exhibition : Bears, Monkeys, Tigers, Panthers and Lions.


The offender may be punished with a fine or with imprisonment, which my extend to three months or with both.


Under Section 9, 39, 40(2), 49B


11. Hunting, keeping or breeding of any wild animals and birds.
12. Acquiring, receiving, keeping in control, custody or possession, selling wild animals like monkeys, snakes, bears etc. or any wild birds. This includes parakeets and mynahs.
13. Selling skins or meat of wild animals. This includes monitor lizard oil or oil made of any other creature. Stuffed squirrels, snake skins and peacock feathers.


The offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year, which may extend to six years and also with a fine, which shall not be less than five thousand rupees.

Under Section 38 (J)


14. Teasing, injuring or causing disturbance in the zoo


The offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for six months or with fine, which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both.


Under Section 428, 429


15. Mischief of killing or maiming of an animal of any value above ten rupees. This includes bulls, oxen, horses, mules, camels etc.


The offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for six months or with fine, which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both.


Under Section 73 to 78 & 99

Under this Act the Police has been give special powers to take action, when an animal offence has been committed.
When a Police Officer has reason to believe an offence under Section 11 and 12 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has occurred, he may seize the animal and take it to a veterinary office.
The police officer can keep the animal in a dispensary before it is produced before a magistrate, so long as the time does not exceed three days. A Police Officer may unsaddle or unload an animal he suspects is unfit or too sick to carry out the work it is doing.
A Police Officer may arrest, without a warrant from a magistrate, any person committing in his presence any offence publishable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act.



  • Not being registered under this chapter exhibits or trains any performing animal.
  • Being registered under the PCA Act, 1960, exhibits or trains any performing animal with respect to which or in a manner with respect to which, he is not registered.
  • Exhibits or trains as performing animal, any animal which is not to be used for the purpose by reason of a notification issued under clause (ii) of Section 22 of the PCA Act of 1960.
  • Obstructs or willfully delays any person or police officer referred to in section 25 in the exercise of powers under this Act as to entry and inspection.
  • Conceals any animal with a view to avoiding such inspection.
  • Being a person registered under the Act, on being duly required in pursuance of this Act to produce his certificate under this Act, fails without reasonable excuse so to do.
  • Applies to be registered under this Act when not entitled to be so registered


He shall be punishable on conviction with fine or with imprisonment, which may extend to three months or with both.