Friday, 8 February 2013

Chennai Snake Park Trust

The Chennai State Park constituted by herpetologist Romulus Whitaker in 1972 is a not-for-profit NGO and India’s first reptile park. Located in the Guindy National Park campus next to the Children’s Park, it is also called Guindy Snake Park. In 1995, the Central Zoo Authority gave statutory recognition to the park as a medium zoo. The park which previously housed the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust has a very wide collection of reptiles and snakes such as cobras, pythons, adders and vipers.
Romulus Whitaker, an American born naturalized Indian herpetologist, worked with the Miami Serpentarium in Florida, United States before coming to India in 1967.  He established the park which was previously called as the Madras Snake Park Trust (MSPT). After arriving in India, he set up a small snake park in a suburb of Chennai known as Selaiyur village.  The Forest Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu leased a piece of land to him in Guindy, in 1972. Here, a bigger park was set up with the help of a naturalists and a trust was also constituted to manage its affairs. Romulus Whitaker, Harry Miller, A. N. Jagannatha Rao, S. Meenakshisundaram, M. Krishnan, M. V. Rajendran and Ms. Doris N. Chattopadhyaya were on the Board of Trustees. Ex officio trustees of various governmental organizations were added in 1976 and 1988. Since 1994, the park has undergone several renovations, restorations of enclosures and an aquarium has been added for turtles and sea snakes.
Following the renaming of the city of Madras in 1996, the park was renamed to Chennai Snake Park in 1997.
The park collection consists of 6 species of larger Indian lizards, 3 species of Indian tortoises and turtles, 4 exotic crocodile species and 3 Indian and a total assortment of 23 Indian snake species in 2010. Among the snake species displayed are striped keelback, checkered keelback, olive keelback, spectacled cobra, banded sea krait, reticulated python, Indian rock python, common sand boa, dog-faced water snakes, common cat snake, common vine snake, common trinket snake, common krait, Russell's viper, saw-scaled viper, hook-nosed sea snake, common bronzeback tree snake, common kukri snake, common wolf snake, red sand boa and Indian rat snake. Crocodilean species on display include Siamese crocodile, African dwarf crocodile, Nile crocodile, spectacled caiman, marsh crocodile, saltwater crocodile and gharial. Other park reptiles exhibited are spotted rock gecko, South Asian chameleon, Indian black turtle, Indian flapshell turtle, water monitor, Bengal monitor and the Indian star tortoise. Crocodiles and large lizards are lodged in open-air enclosures protected by wire mesh and parapet walls, while snakes are housed in glass-fronted enclosures. Turtles and water snakes are housed in the park aquarium. Signs across the park are in English and Tamil.
As of 1st October 2010 the park had 23 species of snakes, 7 varieties of crocodiles, 3 types of turtles and tortoises and 6 species of lizards bringing the total number of species to 39.
Contact information
Chennai Snake Park, Rajbhavan Post, Chennai 600 022.
Phone : 91-44-2235 3623
Email :
Address: Guindy National Park,  Post Sardar Patel Road ,Raj Bhavan,
Chennai, Tamilnadu ( South ) – 600022

Contact no: 94449 81723, 044-22353623
Visit timing
Open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Ticket charges
No change in the gate fees during the year.
Adult:  10/-
Child: 1/-
Mobile /Digital camera ticket: 10/-
Video camera ticket: 100/-