Agra: Seems like Agra’s Taj Mahal had a rather unexpected tourist on Tuesday as a huge python was spotted at the ticket counter. The incident happened on Tuesday morning after tourism police officials stationed at the West gate of the historical monument, found a 5-foot-long Indian Rock Python at the ticket counter. Taking quick action, they reported the incident to Wildlife SOS who immediately reached the Taj Mahal premises. Also Read - 'It's a Dead Snake': Family Shocked to Find Serpent Curled Inside Their Clothes Dryer

A two-member team geared up with necessary rescue equipment carried out the rescue operation. After ensuring that the police staff were at a safe distance, the rescuers carefully transferred the python to a safe transport carrier. The snake was kept under observation for a few hours and later released in its natural habitat.

Vidhyabhushan Singh, Tourism Police Constable, who called Wildlife SOS, said, “The python was spotted near the ticket counter window by local tourists. Since, the Wildlife SOS team had carried out such rescues from the premises in the past as well we immediately alerted them.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “We are thankful to the tourism police at the Taj Mahal for their support and for alerting Wildlife SOS to this emergency. Operations involving snakes are highly sensitive. We have trained rescuers who are efficient and employ precautions so as to avoid causing further stress to the animal.”

Baiju Raj M.V, Director Conservation Projects for Wildlife SOS, said, “Over the years, we have rescued several reptiles and birds from the Taj Mahal premises as it is close to the Taj Nature Walk green belt.”

About the Indian Rock Python

The Indian Rock Python (Python molurus) is a non-venomous snake that mostly inhabits mangrove forests, scrub jungles, rainforests and grasslands. They primarily feed on rodents, fruit bats, birds, civets, deer and wild boar and are commonly found in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

This species is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which regulates the international trade of wildlife species.

(With IANS inputs)