Posts Tagged ‘snakes’

Rescue and Release: Bronzeback Tree Snake, Devarayana Durga State Forest, Tumkur District, 010514

May 5, 2014

When we went to meet Gundappa Master, at Tumkur, he told us that a


had also been rescued from a villager’s house. The villager was very scared and worried that it was a venomous snake, and wanted to kill it, so it was taken away for release in the forest.

We only witnessed the release; we did not want to touch the snake as it was already rather distressed.

Gundappa Master opens the bag, after we reached the interior of the Devarayana Durga State Forest, well away from the road:


He puts it on a tree:


While giving the snake a little time to calm down, we take our shots:


Long, slender, smooth-scales.
Head distinctly broader than neck; snout bluntly rounded.
Large eyes have round pupils.
Tail very long, thin and wire-like.
This species has a dark blue tongue.

The snake’s blue eyes mean that it is at the beginning of ecdysis…the process of shedding its old skin. At this time, the reptile’s vision is not good, and it would like to be undisturbed.


Diurnal. Arboreal; inhabits low bushes, thorn trees, indian date palms, and palmyra.
Feeds on frogs, garden lizards, geckos and small birds, even entering thatched houses to feed.
Extremely fast.
Notched sharply defined edges of belly scales help it climb.
Females lay 6-8 long, thin eggs in tree holes and rotting vegetation.
Nervous disposition, if cornered, some will strike repeatedly while expanding forebody to show light blue/white color at lower edge of each scale.

The blue scales showing on the back also show that it is distressed.





In this shot, the blue scales on the back (that only show when the snake is in distress) are not showing. The snake is definitely calmer.


Here we are, photographing it while it collects itself:


The snake then quickly drops to the ground, once again showing the blue scales of distress:


The snake then slithers off over the rocks, and is gone.


Both Gundappa Master, and we (Chandu, Gopal, Yash and I) hope our release is a successful one and that this beautiful, non-venomous snake has a long life….

The King has a meal….

February 22, 2012

I have, of late, been going to the Bannerghatta Zoo to introduce schoolchildren to various animals and birds, but, of course, I never expected to see a wildlife drama straight of out of National Geographic while I was there!

At the enclosure of the King Cobra, we found that there were many Rat Snakes, as well as the King himself….and suddenly, the King decided he (I am saying he because it’s the King…but it could have been the Queen as well!) needed a meal. Quite rapidly, he attacked one of the rat snakes…which literally flew out of the vegetation into an open patch of grass in the desperate need to get away from the predator.

However, the King was in no mood to let the prey off. The two fought furiously, intertwined. Since all this was happening on the other side of some fairly close-sized metal mesh, I could not get a video of the furious action. However, after swaying to and fro in an embrace of death, the two snakes fell, together, into the trench between the raised patch of vegetation, and the metal net (beyond which there was a further barrier of plants, and a railing, from where we had to watch.)

At this point, through the crowd, I was at least able to get a few photographs.

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The King managed to get his fangs right into the middle of the rat snake.

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The Rat Snake coiled itself around the King Cobra, and actually tried dragging the much larger snake for quite a distance, backwards, along the circular trench.

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Amazed, we watched as the intensity of the death-struggle showed itself as much in the deadly stillness of this bite and embrace, as the all-over-the-place fight a few moments ago…

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However, we could not wait to see if the King finally did eat his prey; we had to take the children to the other enclosures, and we left them in mortal combat..and in the embrace of death for one, and food for the other….

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Here’s the signboard at the King Cobra enclosure. “Ophiophagus” means, “one who eats snakes”….and obviously, a lot of the rat snakes have been put into the enclosure to ensure that the King Cobra can hunt, as it would do in the wild. But because the two snakes came out of the vegetation, and the incident took place out in the open, we were privileged to watch one of the raw moments of Nature, very much as it would take place in the wild….

So…never imagine that a visit to the Zoo is going to be a pleasant and humdrum affair…sometimes drama can occur there, too!

Snake in the Grass

July 31, 2011

This morning, a group of us went to Valley School, and we saw a baby


slithering across the path:

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All of us who had cameras whipped them out to document it:

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A baby cobra is apparently no less deadly than an adult one, but this one had no menace at all; it was simply scurrying for cover.

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It was quite stressed, and put up its hood a little bit:

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The hood came up even more as it slithered past:

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Here’s the video:

PfA again

July 7, 2007

The S3IS does NOT take good photographs in low-light situations. Graininess prevails…