On Thursday, a group of college students of Chandrabhan Sharma Commerce and Science College in Powai Vihar, playfully showed some Russell’s Viper snakes, which they found slithering on the ground outside their college in Powai. That is till they found out that a single bite was enough to kill an elephant.

Shikhar Gupta, 20, and his friends were ‘hanging out’ after college on Thursday afternoon, when they noticed three little snakes. Intrigued by the tiny snakes, Gupta and his friends playfully picked them up and put them in a bottle.

"The snakes were small. We thought they were baby pythons. At first we put them in a bottle. After some time we put them in a bucket because the snakes were very agitated inside the bottle," Gupta said.

"There is a BMC common ground just outside our college. We were hanging out after college around four in the evening. The snakes probably came out because of an excavation work in the ground," said the student of Chandrabhan Sharma Commerce and Science College in Powai Vihar.

"We didn’t know the snakes were poisonous. We just picked them up by the tail," Shishir Amin, 23, Gupta’s friend, said. The students informed the Plant and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai) about the snakes.

"I was surprised and worried to see the children playing with the snakes. They could have died if they had been bitten," Sunish Subramanian, secretary of PAWS-Mumbai, said. "They did not know how venomous the snakes were. When I told them, they got scared. None of them touched the snakes or the bucket after that."

Russell’s Viper grows to a length of 1 to 1.5 metres and hibernates in holes under the ground. During heavy rains, these holes get flooded with water, forcing the snakes to come out in the open. Many a times, construction or digging activity forces the snakes to come out of their holes, Subramanian said. He is a snake catcher with the forest department and has rescued 20 snakes this season.

Article sourced from http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_ignorance-is-bliss-as-they-play-with-russell-s-vipers_1270899