The snakes were released in the forest near Nandi Hill. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A batch of 17 cobra hatchlings was rescued at a temple in Odisha, India, on Tuesday. The local priest alerted Surendra Kumar Jena, the secretary of the temple trust board, after seeing the baby snakes in the temple.

Jena called the snake helpline as locals gathered at the temple, the Orissa Post reported. Help soon arrived and helpline volunteer Prafulla Swain rescued the cobra hatchlings, which were three to three-and-a-half feet long, United News of India reported.

Swain said the snakes were probably at the temple because their habitats may have been destroyed by rainwater. The snakes were later set free in a forest near Nandi Hill in Olasuni.

Odisha is a coastal province that boasts one of the hottest summertime climates in the world. Cases of snakes invading households are common in the area. In June, more than 100 baby cobras were found in a house in Shyampur village.