An unexpected visitor slithering through the shrubs in the gardens around the Taj Mahal, in search of a water and a cool place, led to panic among tourists at the 17th century monument on Tuesday, officials said. The snake was later captured by wildlife experts.
As soon as tourists saw the six-foot-long reptile, there were shrieks and shouts for help.
The snake was found hiding under a water cooler in the water filtration plant and Archaeological Survey of India officials immediately contacted Wildlife SOS.
ASI Senior Conservation Assistant Munazzar Ali said: "There are four RO plants inside Taj Mahal to ensure proper water supply for public water taps. As soon as the snake was spotted inside the plant, considering safety of tourists and workers, we immediately contacted Wildlife SOS for their assistance."
The team from Wildlife SOS, which reached the spot, identified it a harmless rat snake, feeding mostly on birds and rodents.
The plant was stopped, workers and curious tourists moved to a safe distance before Wildlife SOS activists started the rescue process. After an hour long operation, the team managed to successfully extricated the reptile and moved it safely in to a transport container.
"The severe heat must have driven this snake in search for water and a cool place. We thank ASI and the officials of the Taj Mahal for considering the safety of the tourists and the snake and contacting Wildlife SOS.
"Such sensitive rescue operations require expert staff to address these situations as well as patience and a high degree of skill. The rescued snake was kept in observation for some time after which it was released back in to its natural habitat," said Wildlife SOS' Director, Conservation Projects, Baiju Raj M.V.