The monitor lizard that was too lucky to be rescued had been spotted by inhabitants of Laxmibihar area of Badagada canal road in the capital city. It was a Bengal Monitor Lizard. It had ist head trapped inside an empty can of condensed milk. Seeing the plight of the poor animal, a localite named Durgeswari Nayak had called up the Snake Helpline. General secretary of Snake Helpline Subhendu Mallik had rushed to the spot along with a volunteer, Silka Selony.
They could manage to track down the trapped reptile from a marshy patch of land covered with water hyacinth and other aquatic plants. Subhendu carefully removed the aluminium can from the head of the monitor lizard while Silka restrained its body. Luckily the reptile was not harmed by the aluminium can. The rescued monitor lizard was later released in its suitable habitat.
According to Subhendu, who is also the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Khordha district, Snakes and monitor lizards suffer the most due to thrown away cans. It is a global phenomenon. Most of them do not survive the deadly entrapment. The rescued monitor lizard was saved because of the thick skin on its head. Head of a monitor lizard is also harder than that of any snake. If it would not have been rescued out of the can it could have died of hunger and dehydration.
Subhendu advised all people to crush the empty cans properly and not to litter them. Usually small reptiles and lizards get trapped in empty cans of food materials. They get attracted to these cans due to smell of food materials. It is a deadly trap for them. Sharp edges of the empty cans can easily cut skin of reptiles leading to their death.
In 2016, Subhendu and his co-authors Dr. Sudipta Ranjan Singha of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar and Dr. Indramani Nath of College of Veterinary, OUAT, Bhubaneswar had published a research article on plight of snakes trapped in abandoned beverage cans. Thir article was published in the prestigious international journal ‘Wilderness & Environmental Medicine’.