A family from a suburb north-east of Mumbai in India were left terrified after they discovered a 6-foot cobra in their toilet just minutes after one member had used it on Monday night. Snake rescuers rushed to the ground-floor residence of Vipul Desai in Nimbkar Society, Mulund Colony, at around 10pm and spent nearly two hours trying to catch the venomous reptile, which had crept up through sewer pipes. They eventually caught the cobra, but the sight of a snake repeatedly popping its head out of the toilet was enough to traumatise 48-year-old Desai's wife and their 17-year-old daughter.
"It's so scary - just the thought of a snake appearing out of nowhere when you are on the commode," said Desai. "Now every time we want to use the toilet, we will inadvertently think about this incident." Desai's 45-year-old wife, Shilpa, had just used the toilet on Monday night when she noticed that everything - the toiletries, buckets, water mugs - were out of place. Some of the items had fallen to the floor. She immediately called Desai and their daughter, Shrushti to the bathroom. "It was very strange. No one was in the house in the evening as we had gone to see a doctor. We had bolted all the rooms, including the bathroom," Desai said. He suddenly heard the sound of water being displaced in the toilet bowl and before he could inspect it, the 6-foot cobra stuck its head out, much to the family's horror.
Desai quickly shut the bathroom door and called his neighbour, Mohan Nadkarni, a wildlife enthusiast who has in the past rescued snakes. "I saw the snake and immediately realised that it was a cobra. It appeared agitated so I decided to call the experts. I am 65 and not that agile, so I didn't want to take a chance," said Nandkarni. Soon, a team from the Resquink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) arrived. "It was tricky as the cobra would pop its head out of the toilet bowl to breathe and then again hide inside the pipe," Nandkarni said. "Desai's wife and daughter were so terrified that they started crying." The rescuers went outside in the dark, opened the toilet's outlet and stuck pieces of cloth inside the pipe to prevent water from running into the sewer. The idea was to flood the toilet by keeping the flush on.
"Soon, the toilet bowl was filled to the brim and the snake had to come out. We caught it with a pair of tongs, but ensured that it was not injured during the process," said Pawan Sharma, a coordinator for RAWW. "We were worried it would escape from the outlet and hide inside another pipe, which would have caused a scare in the entire building." The reptile was freed in the forest. "Volunteers tried to calm us down by lying that it was a non- venomous snake," Shilpa said. "Though it was taken away, we couldn't sleep." While snakes are sometimes spotted in the area because of its proximity to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, they are rarely found inside residential buildings.