Snakes and crocodiles invade residential areas in flooded India

New Delhi (dpa) - Snakes and crocodiles have surfaced on roads and residential areas, scaring residents, as water levels recede in the flood-hit western Indian state of Gujarat, wildlife officials said Monday.

Displaced people returning to their homes in Vadodra, some 140 kilometres south of the state's capital, Gandhinagar, had to deal with the unwelcome guests. People armed with long sticks in groups were also spotted chasing the reptiles away from their homes.

Two people were reported to be injured while trying to catch a crocodile.

Animal rights organisations, meanwhile, appealed to people not to harm the reptiles, saying their volunteers would catch the creatures and later release them in natural habitats.

Snehal Bhatt, president and founder of the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has sheltered many creatures like deer, crocodiles, monkeys, kittens and snakes either rescued or "displaced" in the recent monsoon floods.

She told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone that the society has caught nine crocodiles and "a number" of common snakes from various places in Vadodra, as well as a large turtle.

"We tell people to call our volunteers and stay 10 feet away from the crocodiles and snakes. Our volunteers reach the place immediately and catch them. The volunteers are well trained, I have taught them myself," she said.

Gujarat is generally known as an animal loving state, where many people believe that animals and plants have living souls. Many are vegetarians. In the deluge, people have risked their own lives to save animals. dpa sk jh


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