Snakes on a plane! Kochi airport halts creepy crawlies’ flight to Japan

The Kochi International Airport

Security personnel at the Nedumbassery airport in Kochi were in for a creepy surprise, when a routine check of the baggage yielded a whole host of slimy passengers travelling without valid tickets!

An X-ray scan machine at the security counter of the busy airport found a variety of reptiles housed inside glass containers in the baggage of two Japanese passengers, who were about to catch their flight home.

The story goes thus: Suta Shibasaki (24) and Murayi Yojka (21), the former a wildlife researcher and the latter a companion, had landed in Kerala two weeks ago, and toured the jungles in Kerala as part of their research. In the course of their visit over the past two weeks, they also picked up whatever reptiles they could lay their hands.

Suta Shibasaki and Murayi Yojka
Suta Shibasaki and Murayi Yojka

Obviously thrilled by the wide variety of reptile population they could meet up with, they were only happy to show the creatures their motherland and decided on those lines.  Little did they realize that the reptiles they had picked up included a Russel’s viper that fell under the exotic species category.

Among the other creatures they tried to carry along with them include lizards, chameleons, spiders, earthworms, tortoises and a few variety of snakes. All these creepy crawlies were picked up from the forests of the Athirappally region, where the duo had rented out a room and continued with their research.

The researchers, who were so thrilled to have found these reptiles that would help them in their studies, were however unaware of the wildlife protection laws of India. And, that did them in!

As they were about to board their flight to Japan via Colombo, the Nedumbassery airport’s security officials smelt something fishy.  On scrutiny, it was found that their baggage contained scissors, adhesive tapes and battery, and that led to a closer scan of the bags. The X-ray scanner was deployed, and the catch proved something special for the airport officials.

A couple of snakes found inside the baggage
A couple of snakes found inside the baggage

The reptiles, carefully housed inside glass jars, thus showed up. The two passengers were detained, while the creatures – around 20 of them – were handed over to the forest department.

The scanner also found video footage of the duo going about capturing the animals from the woods. On questioning, the Japanese dup admitted that they had intended to hand over the videos to Japanese television networks so that they could be telecast.

Also read

7 Indian snake rescuers who are helping the environment by keeping our reptiles safe

This doctor couldn’t see his patients suffer, so he built a plane

7 incredible facts about Shrikant Pantawane, the auto rickshaw driver who became an Indigo pilot