Anees Ahmed is a herpetologist. You would ask what a herpetologist is all about. Any person having interest and expertise in reptiles especially snakes is known as herpetologist.
He recently became the first snake expert in India to get the cobra eggs hatched in his private laboratory at home. He turned his small fish aquarium into an incubator where it took 30 days for eggs to produce small cobras. During this period the temperature was maintained at 30 degree Celsius with 90 per cent humidity. Later they were released into the national park near Bangalore.
Anees is today known as an expert in catching and handling snakes. He is just 29 but says he has caught nearly 3000 snakes from homes, offices, shops etc. On an average he gets a call a day to catch a snake but says he has never been bitten by a poisonous snake. Anees is member of several organisations working for the welfare of the animals such as SPCA, CUPA, People for Animals etc.
How did he develop interest in snakes? Anees says he had lifted an injured snake from a Bangalore highway while he was in 3rd standard and carried it to the school. When it slithered out of the bag, there was rumpus in the class and he received good beating from the teacher, principal, and later at home. He says: “I distinctly remember this incident but it developed into a hobby when I began living on a farm. I would routinely pick up snakes and release them in the hills. It came to me by instinct. No snake ever harmed me. Allah had been very merciful to me. I lift the snakes by a hook and catch them by their tales.”
According to Anees, snakes eat rats and control their population. “If all the snakes are killed, the rat population will grow so rapidly, that no foodgrains will be left on the Earth for the human being after ten years. Snake is the only animal that could reach the tail-end of the rat’s burrow and can swallow as many as six rats at a time. Thus the snakes act as the nature’s agent of biological control,” says he.
Anees says snakes eat away eggs laid by other snakes and thereby check their own population. They also swallow eggs of birds or animals without crushing their shell inside. The shells melt during hibernation through secretion of digestive juices. He has a few chicken eggs in whole, which he took out from the stomach of a snake.
Anees has a lot many snakes, several of them spectacled cobras, packed in cloth bags and kept in ventilated boxes, glass cases or simply kept in large plastic bottles at home. He is now making a thorough study and has just begun writing a book on snakes, their beneficial role in the nature, first aid on snakebite etc.
But only last week he had another unique job to handle. He rescued an injured eagle. He took care of the magnificent bird for a few days and released it in the hills of Chikballapur near Bangalore. Anees says eagles fly at very great height and this particular eagle had hit a high tension wire while preying on a bird. It had a wingspan of five feet. He provided the rare photograph of the eagle for the readers of the Islamic Voice.
Anees can be contacted at : Ph.: 080-5487424 or mobile 98440-37424