MUMBAI, India, Feb. 26 (UPI) — The Mahashivrati, a Hindu festival that was celebrated Sunday, can be hard on snakes.
Animal welfare activists in Mumbai said they had rescued a number of snakes, including some that had been kept in bad conditions, from unscrupulous snake charmers, the newspaper News & Analysis reported.
Sunil Ranade, an inspector with the Bombay Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, said his organization had rescued two cobras, an earth boa, a rat snake and a python. The snake charmers got away.
"All the snakes are hungry and weak," Ranade said. "The python is dehydrated and might not survive. One of the cobras has mouthrod — a disease that occurs when the fangs are removed and the mouth area becomes septic."
Another organization released two cobras found outside a temple to Shiva in the forests.
The festival celebrates Lord Shiva the Destroyer, one of the greatest Hindu deities. Nilesh Bhanage, secretary of PAWS, said snake charmers work the crowds that gather at Shiva’s temples.