The other day I received a call from one of the local fire departments; they had another snake for me - a cobra this time. Few things make my day like cobras do, so I drove down to the station full of cheer, humming a corny show tune, and generally in love with the whole world. Arriving at the station, I found my expectations bizarrely surpassed by reality. The fire chief handed me the cage with the words "That ain't no local snake", and one look through the mesh confirmed his judgment. Instead of a chunky, black Chinese cobra (Naja atra
) with block-shaped hood markings, I was looking at a slender, brown snake with an lyre-shaped design on the hood. Now, I'm no cobra expert by any stretch, but from everything I've seen in books and online, this thing looked to me like an Indian cobra (Naja naja
). (Please correct me if I'm wrong!). The fire department had removed it from somebody's garden by the seaside and figured that it had been a captive animal which had either escaped or been set free.
Well, Chinese or Indian, cobras are always a reason for a party, so I loaded a few fellow ophidiomaniacs plus the kids in the van and drove into the mountains to find a relatively peaceful and cool spot for a photo/video session, the results of which you see here. After we were done, we gave the animal to a friend of ours. He has what I believe to be the largest collection of venomous snakes in Taiwan, and this critter will join the other 38 cobras in his care. Addendum I:
The video camera on the tongs is Mr. Onionsack's invention and allows him to get up close and personal with dangerous critters. You can do it at home, too: just wrap your camera's strap around the jaws the way it's shown in the photos. In the last two pictures showing the camera, the snake found the device too close and attacked it. Onionsack is going to show the footage here after he's done editing. Addendum II:
Can N. atra
and N. naja
cross-breed? I'm just wondering about the possible ramifications if the snake had stayed free to roam in the woods here....