Archive for February, 2023

Another Indian Rat Snake.


After sunset one evening last December, a man who lives in one of the little villages adjoining the Bannerghatta Forest in Karnataka, south India, came across an Indian rat snake in his shed.

Just as he was thinking of releasing the snake back into the forest, he spotted what looked like some abrasions and scratches along the body of the snake.

Not wanting to release a snake who seemed to be injured, he took the trouble to bring the snake to the well-known rehabilitation center that was right nearby – the WRRC, the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

The snake was shedding her skin

Dr. Roopa Satish, the veterinarian and wildlife rehabilitator at the WRRC, examined the snake closely. She weighed 1.69 kilograms and was shedding her skin. Snakes are always very vulnerable at this time and can be easily injured.

All snake’s eyes have eye caps covering the eyes. Normally, they are transparent, but when the snake is shedding, they become translucent and therefore the snake is almost blind. At this time, the snake was having trouble knowing where she was going and could easily fall prey to an injury, having wandered too close to a building. Maybe she just suffered some scrapes, but she seemed to have been attacked by another animal.

With her assistants helping, Dr. Roopa cleaned the wounds and gently removed the partially shed skin using wet cotton swabs. Some of the wounds were deep enough to require stitches.

Then they administered pain killers, antibiotic injections, and fluids to rehydrate the snake.

Already beginning to feel less in pain, the snake was placed into a clean, dry vivarium, with a heating pad, to rest and recover.

All snakes shed their skin

All snakes molt and routinely shed their skin. How often they shed depends on several factors – like the species, their age, how active they are, and what the ambient temperature is.

Shedding is a very effective way of removing parasites on the body. Every two or three months, when snakes are ready to shed, they may rub their body between two rough stones to help loosen the skin.

During this time, they have poor eyesight and are very vulnerable. They may be attacked by pets or by other wild animals.

Thanks to quick action by the man who found the snake and the excellent care provided by Dr. Roopa and her assistants, the snake has continued to improve.

Back to the wild

Dr. Roopa has monitored the snake’s condition very carefully. She is waiting for the snake to shed one more time before releasing her, and she writes, “She is still with us for the time being and will be released after another shedding so as to allow all her internal and external wounds to heal.”

The snake will most likely be taken back to the same village to the green area just beyond the village, bordering on Bannerghatta Forest.

That was her home and the area that she was familiar with. When Dr. Roopa is satisfied that the snake is fully healed, then she’ll be ready to resume her peaceful life back in the wild, to live free and be happy once again.

Photo credit: dreamstime_s_184422714.jpg The photo is of a different Indian Rat Snake from the one in the news story.


In January 2023, the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) forest cell officers raided an illegal pet traders’ hub in the city of Bangaluru, in the south of India, and rescued ten Alexandrine parakeet chicks.

These are large parakeets native to India. Unfortunately, they are very popular in the pet trade because they are considered to be “talking parakeets.” They are protected under Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and it is illegal to take them out of the wild.

The demand for this species is high, and so this raid was intended to send a stern message to poachers.

When the chicks arrived at the WRRC, they were weighed, and their weight was between 110 to 140 grams. Dr. Roopa Satish, the Chief Veterinarian and Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator for the WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) and her assistants, examined each chick carefully, looking for any injuries or abnormalities. Then they were dewormed, dusted with an anti-parasite powder, and given fluids.

Next, they were divided into two batches of five chicks each and placed into two spacious cages. There was a wood stand for them to perch on and a heating lamp to keep them safe and snug.

Twice a day, they were handfed with a high-quality bird feed, reconstituted daily with water that was boiled, then cooled. Each chick was fed using a sterile syringe and was then carefully wiped off with lukewarm water.

Wiping them off keeps them safe, free from any ants or other insects.

Learning to eat on their own

After three weeks, their food was reduced just a bit to encourage them to learn to eat by themselves, and they were given plates of delicious fresh fruit.

One of the consequences of the young birds having been kidnapped from their nests and not having spent much time with their parents is that they don’t have very good natural immunity.

Lacking good immunity, they needed to be vaccinated for common poultry diseases. Extra attention had to be paid to keeping them really clean, not handling them except when necessary, and maintaining strict hygienic practices around them.

So far, so good

So far, thanks to all this care and attention – all is going well. They’re showing a good growth rate, their feathers are coming in well, and they are really lively and active.

Very soon, they’ll be ready for the next stage which is flight practice in a large aviary. The aviary will be prepared with lots of branches and other enrichment, then they’ll be moved into their new aviary for the next stage of rehabilitation, which is flight practice. During this time, they won’t be handled at all, but will be left to their own devices, preparing for life in the wild.

There’s a lot for them to learn – vital flight skills, as well as overcoming becoming imprinted on people. They’ll need to develop proper parakeet social skills, so that they’ll fit in well once they’re back in the wild.

There’s an enormous amount for the young parakeets to learn in order to get along well in their flock – the right etiquette and language – plus alarm calls, what predators to watch out for, and courtship behavior.

We might think the life of a bird is simple, but the lives of birds are never simple. Actually, life in the wild is very complex – and it varies with every species.

If all continues to go well, these young parakeets will be all ready in one or two years to be released back into the wild – to live in freedom.

Thanks to the WRRC and everyone there for their care and expertise in getting these parakeets all set for their next adventure – so they can fly free with long, happy lives ahead of them.


Photo Credit: ID 71351990 © Rafael Ben Ari |
This photo is of another parakeet, not one of those in the story.

© Copyright, Forest Voices of India, 2023

This s another Indian flapshell turtle.

The Indian flapshell turtle is a very unique creature!

The one that was brought in to the WRRC, on January 4, 2023, didn’t look at all well when she arrived at the WRRC, at the edge of the Bannergatta Forest, just outside Bangalore.

Not meant to be a pet

The woman who brought the turtle to the wildlife center explained to Dr. Roopa Satish, the veterinarian and wildlife rehabilitator at the WRRC, that she’d had the turtle for some time, hoping that she would do well as a pet and would be happy.

When the woman realized that the turtle wasn’t doing well and that she didn’t know how to care for her, she had put the turtle into her car and had driven all the way from the city of Mysore, to Bangalore, which was 144 kilometers or 90 miles away, to give the animal a better chance at life.

Although she didn’t give a specific account of how she had acquired the turtle, it was clear that she did care about her well-being.

The flapshell turtle is a protected species under the Indian Wildlife Protection Law of 1972, and it isn’t legal for private individuals to possess this wild species.

Dr. Roopa thanked the woman for bringing the turtle and then took the time to explain that keeping a wild animal as a pet isn’t legal, and also, it just doesn’t work well.

Though the woman never intended any harm to the turtle, keeping a wild animal in inappropriate conditions will certainly harm the health of any wild animal.

Wild animals should never be kept as pets

All wildlife go downhill when they are kept as pets and deprived of their freedom.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a process, sometimes quite lengthy, to get the animal well and strong enough, once again, to be able to survive when released back to the wild.

So many wild species – all different!

All wild species have very specific requirements. The various species are quite different, so it takes a highly trained, qualified wildlife rehabilitator to look after them – all this is regulated by law—in India and in most countries.

The woman hadn’t realized all that, but she had noticed that the turtle was lethargic and just not doing well. She was glad that she had brought her to a place where she could get the right care and regain her strength.

Upon arrival, the flapshell turtle weighed 1.175 kg (2.59 pounds).

After a routine examination, Dr. Roopa and her assistants placed the turtle in an enclosure with fresh clean water and sunlight to observe her natural behavior, reflexes, and appetite.

At first, she was observed to be very lethargic. All her limbs and her head were stretched out, basking in the sun, but she wasn’t moving or swimming. She seemed very weak.

She barely ate the fresh fish and shrimp placed in front of her.

A good sign

However, she did make some movements. She was shy and would retract her head and limbs into her soft shell whenever anyone approached her. So, that was a good sign!

After a week’s observation, they shifted her into a clean vivarium indoors for therapy.

The turtle is now being kept moist using a clean wet cloth, and daily sun basking is carried out. She also receives anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory therapy and is given lots of fluids too, to help her regain her health and strength.

Wildlife need special care

A flapshell turtle needs a pool with clean, fresh water. They need the right amount of sunlight, as well as heating or cooling to achieve the correct temperature for their species. Also, they need the right food – not too much and not too little. And they need enough exercise! There’s just no way that a person without a lot of special training can know about or provide all of this.

It can take a long time to bring a turtle like this back to a good state of health, to be released back to the natural world, where, thanks to the excellent care she is now receiving – if all goes well, she will lead a long and happy life.

A chance to recover

Dr. Roopa Satish writes, “We hope this turtle recovers completely and is released back into the wild.”

Thank goodness, the woman who tried to keep her as a pet realized the mistake she had made and brought her to the WRRC.

The turtle will require a lot of care! But now she has a chance to recover and one day be released back to the wild.

May you have a happy life, little turtle, and be able to swim free once again in a peaceful forest pool! We wish you well!

Photo 160084901 / Indian Flapshell Turtle © Maninder Singh |

© Copyright Forest Voices of India, 2023.

Vijayapura, Karnataka

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