Meet this reptiles enthusiast who has credit of capturing more than 20,000 snakes and 25 crocodiles. Though he is not a herpetologist, Manjunath, hailing from Lakshmipura of KR Nagar has indulged himself in social service.
From the tender age of seven, he has caught the reptiles. The first snake he captured accidentally, at his home created interest and curious in him to become a snake catcher. “Without noticing the snake had surrounded money pot (piggy bank), I took the pot in hands. Later I heard 'hisssss' sound of the snake. As it was poisonous reptile, in fear I hold the snake's head little gently, not allowing to move it. It was then, I got interest in catching the snakes,” says 45, year-old Manjunath.
“KR Nagar Taluk is surrounded with agricultural lands and Cauvery basin region, more number of snakes have nested there. Specially from December to February, I used to rescue more than 300 snakes and leave them to the nearby forest.”
“The fishermen were catching fishes in river using long shanked hooks, where daily dozens of snakes used to get caught for the hook. Villagers used to kill them, but later I educated them and rescued the snakes,” says Manjunath with pride.
He later thought of capturing crocodiles and at first he rescued the Crocodile which had fallen in the open well at Chunchanakatte. Later, he rescued about 25 crocodiles from various places, and has left them in Ranganathittu birds century in Mandya district.
Mysore Zoo authorities after knowing about his skills, appointed him as a keeper for Reptile Section, who is now Junior Attender. After joining for Zoo, he has learnt to identify about 30 varieties of snakes, and interestingly two of the crocodiles rescued by him as been housed at Mysore Zoo. Being illiterate, he has helped people by catching thousands of snakes and will not seek money for his work from public.