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Wild snakes making Sheshan Hill unsafe at night

By Hu Min (Shanghai Daily)

16:11, August 28, 2012

RESIDENTS are warned not to enter the western part of Sheshan Hill at night as wild snakes and other animals are frequently spotted in the area these days and some residents released snakes there secretly.

Workers at the Sheshan Hill National Forest Park said they saw wild snakes from time to time this summer when they patrolled the hill in Songjiang District in western Shanghai.

A worker said he was once terrified by a 1.5-meter-long snake he saw at the foot of the hill. His colleagues also said they frequently found traces of snakes having been in the area.

Denser vegetation on the hill has meant an increase in wild animals such as badgers, squirrels and snakes in the area, park officials said.

A large number of trees that adapt well to Shanghai's soil and climate have been planted in recent years, which create ideal habitat for animals.

Sheshan now has about 50 percent of the old trees in Songjiang.

Meanwhile, some people have been found driving to the hill to free snakes. Once, a minibus filled with snakes ready to be released was found and park officials dissuaded its owner from freeing them in the area.

In China, the release of animals - known as fang sheng in Chinese - into the natural environment became an important way of demonstrating Buddhist piety. Some people buy animals to release them.

Officials reminded people to contact park operators first if they want to release animals.

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