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Old 6th February 2024, 22:33   #1
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Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

A Snake in my car!


Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!-pic-1ignis.jpg


Yes, guys. It happened to me.
A bit of background. We have a Maruti Suzuki Ignis, which we bought in June 2017 and has clocked in excess of 85,000 km. We live in an independent house with a wide courtyard. We have been living there for the last 11 years. There a busy road right in front. It is a residential locality with a multi-speciality hospital half a km away, yet there are many empty plots thick with plants & trees in a 1 km radius. The MC Road (SH 1) is just half a km away. Although we have neighbours to our south & east, the plots to our north and west are unoccupied. They have always been overgrown with vegetation though it was cleared recently but nature is making its comeback.
Our plot has a lot of trees and our neighbours also have trees lining their boundary wall. So there is abundant shade and hence we get lots of birds and squirrels all the time. There are unusual visitors as well. Twice we got Monitor Lizards, but they never troubled us and left us alone. And once or twice a year, we get snakes. They generally disappear by themselves without troubling us. Usually, they are rat snakes but I once had to kill a viper which made its way to our verandah.
Now that you got the hang of the place, I will narrate the incident. It was a Wednesday. We also own a MG ZS EV. The Ignis belongs to my wife. She goes to Cherthala twice a week for work and due to the 70km round trip, she takes the MG ZS EV on those days. So that day, the Ignis was with me.


Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!-pic-2partially-shut-door.jpg


When I went to take the car for work at 9 AM, I noticed that the door was only partially shut. Did not think too much of it. Went to work at my hospital as I had a surgery scheduled that day (I am a Gynec Surgeon). Finished my work around 12 PM. I had to buy provisions and fish. The shop that I buy fish from is around 7 km from my home and is situated in a village by the side of a relatively quiet road.
On the drive there, I heard some thuds from the back of the car. It was like something was rolling around in the back. I thought I would investigate on reaching the shop.
The fish shop is a busy place and I generally park my car away from the shop. But that day, it was lunch time and the shop was empty of any customers. I parked the car right in front of the shop.
After making my choices (Prawns and Trevally fish) and asking the staff to fillet it, I went to the car and peered into the back through the window. I had taken my daughter for her karate class the previous evening and she had forgotten her water bottle inside. The bottle was rolling around on the floor and that was the reason for the noise. I went to the passenger side and opened the door. I saw two things. The water bottle on the floor. And a snake’s head peeking out from between the seats.


Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!-pic-3-position-snake.jpg


I shut the door. It took around 20 seconds for me to process the information. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. But I was also sure that I had just seen a snake. A small one for sure, possibly a rat snake, but definitely, surely a snake.
I wondered what to do for 2 minutes. I couldn’t possibly drive away in a car containing a snake. Like the majority of the people in this world, I can’t stand snakes. If I saw a snake inside my car while I was driving it, it was a surefire recipe for disaster. The matter had to be tackled then & there.
I approached the fish shop guys for help. Their first reaction was disbelief. Then they told me very sensibly to shift the car to the other side of the road, where there were no buildings. I was hesitant to get into the car, so one of the guys got in & drove to the other side.
They opened the boot & removed its contents. They opened the back doors but nothing was seen inside. Then they poked around inside the boot on the back seat. They managed to see the snake. The guys said it appeared non-poisonous (possibly a tree snake).
The snake was small and there was space for it to move around in the back. And it was fast.The Fish Shop guys poked around for some time but couldn’t localize the snake. The idea was to pin the snake to the boot floor and kill it. But it was not working. By this time, there was a small gathering around the boot. They kept pounding the back seats and the boot floor. There was a suggestion of putting some crushed garlic/kerosene-soaked rags in the car as snakes don’t like the smell, making them leave the place.
The guys had kept the back doors open and the poking continued. This was going on for around 10 minutes and the enthusiasm was sort of dying down. All of a sudden, the snake escaped the car from the rear door. It landed directly on the tar macadam and seemed surprised by all the attention. It was a small & slender snake, around 3 feet long. It raced down the tarmac and escaped into one of the surrounding plots. It went so fast that there was no chance of killing it.
The snake was quite active & alert which meant it had not been inside the car for a long time. Not more than one or two days.
I did not take pictures (was not in the right frame of mind).
I thanked the fish shop guys. I am their regular customer, so they didn’t make a big deal about it. There was a small tea shop nearby. I told the proprietor to treat the fish shop guys with tea & snacks and paid for the expenses.
I collected the filleted fish & prawns and left for home. On the way, purchased half a kg of garlic. On reaching home, told our maid to crush it & sprinkle it all around the house and the yard.
That is all.
The car was due for a service next week. I asked the NEXA Service people to unbolt the back seat and check for the unlikely possibility of any snake eggs underneath. They did so and found nothing. They also inspected the underside of the car and did not find any defects/holes in the car floor.



Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!-pic-4-seat-underside.jpg


I looked up in the internet and I am reasonably sure that the snake was a non- venomous bronze-back tree snake (Dendralaphis tristis). I still have no idea how it got inside the car.


Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!-pic-5snake.jpg


Preventive steps

How do you prevent such an incident? A few pointers I could think of.
-Avoid parking your car in areas with dense underbrush. There have been reports of king cobras hitching a ride across districts in cars parked near jungles.
- If you see a snake on the road, avoid running it over. It can get entangled in the underside and stay alive and get carried back to your home.
- Dogs are generally good snake spotters. They detect them and can alert us with a unique bark. We have 2 dogs at our home and both of them are very alert. However, this snake eluded both of them.
- Make sure to keep your car doors closed while it is parked. Although cracking the window glasses slightly is a good measure to reduce the heat inside your car on a hot day, avoid doing so in when parked under trees and in overgrown parking lots.
- Keep your A/c in recirculating mode. If kept in fresh air mode, a small aperture is open below the car through which even small mice can get inside the bonnet. It should be enough for small snakes as well. My A/c was in recirculation mode though.
- Underbody protection can avoid snake incursion to an extent, though it is not foolproof.
- Snakes are non confrontational, as a general rule. Just like we are scared of them, they are also wary of us. They will go their own way if we leave them alone. But in situations like these, there is no other option than to face off.


Final thoughts

One of my colleagues once told me “God will show you the right things at the right time” (the gist; something always gets lost in the translation). If my daughter had not left her water bottle behind, I would not have opened the rear door to check and would have missed seeing the snake. The snake would have stayed inside and the discovery would have been far more dramatic, possibly culminating in an accident. And when I did make the discovery, there were good people around to help me with the situation. And the snake turned out to be small and non-venomous, compared to the alternative.
All in all, I cannot really complain. I was lucky.
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Old 6th February 2024, 23:09   #2
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re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

That is really bizarre and terrifying. Being non venomous this wouldn't have directly hurt anyone but as you said if it crept up on you while you were driving it could result in a mishap or worse.
Could this have fallen off a tree onto the cowl and found is way in via an open recirc flap? On my Swift the flap wouldn't close completely about 5 years after I bought it. Service center couldn't rectify it and eventually I had it sealed permanently.

Last edited by Roy.S : 6th February 2024 at 23:13. Reason: Some more info
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Old 7th February 2024, 07:54   #3
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re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

It is a possibility. The recirculation mode was on, though..
Will get it checked next service
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Old 7th February 2024, 09:44   #4
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

This is my worst nightmare, and also spiders or wasps in the helmet which I realize only while riding!!!

You are very lucky you saw it while the car was parked.

P.S
I half expected you to quote Samuel L Jackson from Snakes on a plane!
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Old 7th February 2024, 09:58   #5
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

Snake lovers (and haters), check out our dedicated Snakes Thread!
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shift...69-snakes.html (Snakes!)

Last edited by SmartCat : 7th February 2024 at 10:00.
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Old 7th February 2024, 10:19   #6
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

While it is understandable to be startled, please don't worry. Empty plots means snakes will be all over the place. And for so long they haven't harmed anyone. Very, very slight chance that something like this will happen again. They are doing you a favour by keeping the rat population down. Rats spread disease and also chew car wires. So don't worry too much about snake prevention. This was certainly a one-off thing.

(Back when Bangalore had empty plots, I was in my compound one moonlit night and saw a cobra, hood spread a few feet away and level with me on the wall! Turned and ran. Spent the next week worrying about how to 'snake-proof' the house. But never saw a snake after that, and now there are no more empty plots. Or peace. So enjoy the natural surroundings while you can, it won't last!)

Last edited by am1m : 7th February 2024 at 10:44.
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Old 7th February 2024, 11:42   #7
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

Bizarre is what we think but it's natural I guess. You gave an overview of the surroundings, it's only natural that you got this visitor. I think the rat repellant should work for snakes too. But if it's in the rear seat, then am not sure what can be done. I have a bizarre idea for this equally bizarre incident - trying getting some peacocks in your backyard and surrounds. They are above snakes on the food chain, so it should be a natural and environment friendly solution. Just my thought, there could be better ones!
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Old 7th February 2024, 11:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batterylow View Post
This is my worst nightmare, and also spiders or wasps in the helmet which I realize only while riding!!!

You are very lucky you saw it while the car was parked.

P.S
I half expected you to quote Samuel L Jackson from Snakes on a plane!
I seriously thought about the movie
While writing, forgot to pen it though.
Yeah, I was very lucky

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
While it is understandable to be startled, please don't worry. Empty plots means snakes will be all over the place. And for so long they haven't harmed anyone. Very, very slight chance that something like this will happen again. They are doing you a favour by keeping the rat population down. Rats spread disease and also chew car wires. So don't worry too much about snake prevention. This was certainly a one-off thing.

(Back when Bangalore had empty plots, I was in my compound one moonlit night and saw a cobra, hood spread a few feet away and level with me on the wall! Turned and ran. Spent the next week worrying about how to 'snake-proof' the house. But never saw a snake after that, and now there are no more empty plots. Or peace. So enjoy the natural surroundings while you can, it won't last!)
Agree with you totally.
Snakes are part of the scenery.
They also have to live somewhere.
I am actually glad that snake escaped alive.
True about the nature as well. We have to enjoy it while we can

Last edited by Axe77 : 7th February 2024 at 15:49. Reason: Merging back to back posts. Please use Quote+ (Multi Quote) where appropriate. Thank you.
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Old 7th February 2024, 12:48   #9
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

Thats horrifying.

One good thing that happened was that you were driving the car that day alone.
Imagine if the snack crawls near your foot while driving. can't imagine what I will do in such a situation.

When I moved to this new area of Pune, There were a lot of snakes being spotted here and there and I always worried about the same incident. Even during our initial days, I used to cross-check the car before getting in; especially the underneath driving seat.

But yes, we are getting into their territory so these meetings will happen.
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Old 7th February 2024, 13:08   #10
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

Rat snakes(especially small ones) only need very little gap to get inside. I am also from Kottayam but my house is surrounded by abandoned plots so snake sighting is a regular affair for me. We have put nets on each window and door still these buggers somehow find a way inside our house. Even though these are non-poisonous, seeing one scares the living daylights out of me especially since my brother was bitten by a viper 20 years ago. Just make sure no rats are getting into the cars, once I saw one snake hanging around my car, later realized that a rat was hiding inside. We also make sure any type of thick bush/grass is trimmed down.
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Old 7th February 2024, 13:30   #11
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

My million rupee question. Was the paranoia limited to you buying garlic or did it extend to your better half not entering the car as well? Once saw a video of a snake in a train compartment ac coach and couldn't get myself to travel comfortably on trains for several months on end. They say, salt and bleaching powder are good repellants. you can try that too. And FYI, 3 feet is by no means small. I would have flipped for sure.
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Old 7th February 2024, 13:38   #12
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushanthys View Post
A Snake in my car!

The idea was to pin the snake to the boot floor and kill it.
While all of us would definitely agree on being startled by a snake in the car, IMHO that you could have called a snake rescuer after you were safely outside the car. You would be safe, the snake would be safe too. Killing them is not the only option and while most of us would not hesitate to do so, when we have a chance to save it and be safe in the process, it should be our choice.

All that said, glad that you are safe and the snake escaped alive.
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Old 7th February 2024, 14:21   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satish.gawai View Post
Thats horrifying.

One good thing that happened was that you were driving the car that day alone.
Imagine if the snack crawls near your foot while driving. can't imagine what I will do in such a situation.

When I moved to this new area of Pune, There were a lot of snakes being spotted here and there and I always worried about the same incident. Even during our initial days, I used to cross-check the car before getting in; especially the underneath driving seat.

But yes, we are getting into their territory so these meetings will happen.
Yes.My better half would have gone absolute bonkers.
And we have to be careful.
Snakes are a part of Indian life so we have to leqrn to live with them.
Just not in the same car or house

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Roy View Post
My million rupee question. Was the paranoia limited to you buying garlic or did it extend to your better half not entering the car as well? Once saw a video of a snake in a train compartment ac coach and couldn't get myself to travel comfortably on trains for several months on end. They say, salt and bleaching powder are good repellants. you can try that too. And FYI, 3 feet is by no means small. I would have flipped for sure.
Well, both of our cars have a lot of running.
So couldnt afford to sit back and worry about things we couldnt control.
The fear will be there in a corner of your mind but dont let it consume you. We have to be careful, not paranoid.
Garlic and Kerosene are useful because snakes cant tolerate the odour.
Bleaching powder should be OK.
The snake was long.3 ft is a conservative estimate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnav17 View Post
While all of us would definitely agree on being startled by a snake in the car, IMHO that you could have called a snake rescuer after you were safely outside the car. You would be safe, the snake would be safe too. Killing them is not the only option and while most of us would not hesitate to do so, when we have a chance to save it and be safe in the process, it should be our choice.

All that said, glad that you are safe and the snake escaped alive.
Snake catchers are not easy to come by.

I believe there is an app called Sarpa( run by the Forestry Department) on which you can register and they will send someone to catch the snake.
Problem is , it will take time. I will have to wait for I do not know how long.
If the initial plan had not worked, this was going to be Plan B.Fortunately, it ended well for me and the snake.

Last edited by Sheel : 7th February 2024 at 15:40. Reason: Please use the EDIT or QUOTE+ (multi-quote) button instead of typing one post after another on the SAME THREAD! Thanks.
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Old 7th February 2024, 15:36   #14
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

Damn.. This is my worst nightmare. I'm OK with Spiders, Wasps, Cockroaches, but snakes.. they really get to me.

The best thing done to avoid snakes, or for that matter, rats too is to ensure you start and move the vehicle every couple of days.
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Old 7th February 2024, 16:24   #15
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Re: Found a Snake in my Maruti Ignis!

It was indeed a horrifying incident that has taught us a lot of lessons. The anticlimax was that it was non poisonous. But three feet is nearly mid-size for snakes. The help you got in the marketplace was praiseworthy. They all left their business activity for a while and were there to help you which is not very common these days.

In our city the state forest department has recognised "sarpmitras" who are designated area wise to catch these reptiles and get them relocated. If someone else from their group is called who is not designated for your area, the concerned person passes on the contact details of the right person. They in most cases rush to the caller when informed. We had such incidents twice during the past five years, but in our house premises, not in any car. But in both cases the snakes sneaked into the neighbourhood and ultimately disappeared. We usually pay them well for rushing to our rescue.

During the earlier part of my career, being a field officer I have stayed in camps in remote rural areas. I had one jeep, sometimes two of these, and most of the areas I was posted to were infested with snakes. These jeeps had the OE canvas hood canopy with no closed or those Roplas bodies. But I was lucky never to find any such reptile in the jeeps. These jeeps were open from three sides but luckily the reptiles kept away. The reptiles usually appeared just after the first showers around early June, every year. That's when they felt that their burrows were showered or inundated with water. The two most common types I would encounter were the Oriental rat snake called Dhaman in Hindi. These were usually five feet plus in length and very agile and swift in their movements. But thank God, these were non-poisonous. The other one was the common Krait that was shorter (two to three feet), sluggish in its movements but poisonous. Kraits belong to one of the twelve species of the Cobra family. But its sizd makes it an impoverished Cobra. The venom of the common Krait comprises substantial neurotoxins that cause muscular paralysis. These Kraits would usually come at nights and feast upon the flying insects that would be walking under the feeble light bulbs, that we would light using electricity (erratic typical rural supply) or a generator.

To repel snakes we can also use eucalyptus oil (available in medical shops) which has a very pungent smell or usage of abundant naphthalene balls is recommended. During those years, we were supplied carbolic acid as snake a repellent, but today its harmful effects on humans getting widely known, it is not recommended.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 7th February 2024 at 16:30.
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