Madikeri: The Forest Mobile Squad personnel have arrested five persons, who were trying to sell a Sand Boa snake at Thithimathi in Virajpet taluk on Feb. 12 and have rescued the snake from them.
The accused are 57-year-old Mulla Mehaboob Vali, 45-year-old Sheik Mulla Chand Pasha, 27-year-old S. Fayaz, 45-year-old Boya Rangaswamy and 29-year-old Sheik Pedda Mehboob Basha, all residents of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh.
The accused, on Feb. 12 at about 6.30 pm, were travelling in a Maruti Swift Dzire car (AP-20-AV-7821) from Kurnool via Mysuru to go to Kerala and had kept the snake in a small leather bag. When they came to Thithimathi, the Forest Mobile Squad personnel, acting on a tip off, approached the accused in the guise of buyers and raided the car near Chennangoli Bus Stand and arrested them besides rescuing the snake and seizing the car.
The snake, which was kept in a red leather bag is 45 inches in length, weighs 2.8 kg and is eight inches thick.
During interrogation, the accused are said to have told the Police that they had fixed a price of Rs. 2 crore for the snake and were smuggling it to Kerala to sell it.
The Forest Department, which has registered a case under Wildlife Protection Act, produced the accused before a Court at Ponnampet which remanded the accused to judicial custody.
Madikeri CID Forest Mobile Unit Superintendent of Police (SP) Suresh Babu supervised staff K.B. Somanna, T.P. Manjunath, M.B. Ganesh, P.B. Monnappa and Revappa in the nabbing and seizing operations.
Why are sand boas in demand?
Sand Boa snakes are non-venomous snakes that have attracted a lot of attention in the recent times. As its tail resembles its head, it is often mistaken as a two-headed snake. The reptiles are high in demand and are marked as one of the costliest creatures in the black market with a price ranging from lakhs to crores. There are various myths and rumours surrounding this snake which is to be blamed for the high price associated with its sale in the black market.
While scientifically these Sand Boas are used for medicinal purposes, many have been using this snake for black magic too. The demand for the sand boa has also been associated with Malaysian superstitions which claim that owning a Sand Boa brings in immense luck with it.
Sand Boas are extensively trafficked from various Indian States and the main reason behind this is believed to be the superstitions associated with this reptile.