Snake rehab gets Emirati residents all riled up
An indigenous snake that was found in Jumeirah recently was sent back into the wild on Wednesday morning, as part of Dubai Zoo’s responsibility to incorporate animals back into their natural habitat.
The snake, identified as a ‘Hissing Snake’ (Psammophis schokari), was set free into the desert near Bab Al Shams Resort.
“The Hissing Snake is non-venomous and is not harmful to humans. It used to be commonly found in Dubai during the 1990s but due to the large inhabitant of people, they have become very rare to spot,” said Dr Reza Khan, Specialist, Wildlife and Zoo Management, Public Parks and Horticulture Department of Dubai Municipality.
The snake, which features a long head and long tail and is sandy brown in colour, was initially sent to Dubai Zoo for observation.
Dubai Zoo, one of the smallest in the world with just 1.7 hectares of land, within its limited resources, once in a while sends back some of the UAE animals to the natural environment; be that in the desert, hills and coastal areas.
“Dubai Zoo often receives animals as gifts from the members of the public. Sometimes such animals could come from various authorities such as the police, customs and even sections within the Dubai Municipality, to which Dubai Zoo belongs or from the Federal Ministry of Water and Environment which often confiscates animals from various airports either because of lack of proper legal papers or because the entry of these animals are banned in the UAE,” Dr Khan said.
“Snakes will inhabit sandy areas as long as they have some form of vegetation, and especially in this country, it is rare to find such reptiles among inhabited areas,” he said.
To deal with such new arrivals, the zoo adopts three separate courses, Dr Khan said.
If the zoo needs such an animal [or animals] it will keep it, mainly to make pairs for the existing singletons.
When such animals could be of public nuisance or could create problems for the members of the public then the zoo accepts such animals, not exhibit the same in the zoo, but to put it to sleep in a humane way so that there is no health and safety issues for the public.
“All animals endemic to the UAE are accepted as these could either be kept and bred in the zoo for the students and other visitors to enjoy and gain knowledge on the local fauna or because zoo specialists will release such animals back to its proper surroundings in the UAE,” he said.
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