Location: King cobras in India are
found primarily in the Orissa swamps to the southwest of Calcutta
and the Western Ghats to the west of Chennai (Madras).
Mark sets out to investigate the many myths surrounding
snakes in India. Local mythology states that if you kill a cobra,
its mate will come and kill you in revenge. Perhaps getting to the
bottom of this famous cobra myth will reveal something about a snake
Mark has never caught in the wild, a snake that delivers enough
venom to kill ten men, the King cobra.
Finding the rare and elusive king of snakes isnt easy, but
if Mark succeeds he may be able to determine at first hand whether
they are indeed special snakes, whether they have a
quality he has never previously encountered in all his dealings
with serpents, intelligence.
He joins Mohammad Anees, an Indian snake expert, who has captured
over 4,000 cobras in and around Indias high-tech software
capital Bangalore, to discover how dangerous snakes and people live
close together in this busy city. A common feature of life in India,
this might help explain why over 10,000 Indians a year die of snakebite.
The aim is to capture common and king cobras and using techniques
and sounds recorded by reptile acoustics expert Dr Bruce Young,
determine whether cobras, and king cobras in particular, can actually
hear airborne sounds. The common belief is that snakes do not hear
airborne sounds but if that is the case, why does the king cobra
growl? Could it be so a king cobra in distress could call other
king cobras for help? Could this be a scientific basis for the cobras
Mark, Anees and Bruce visit two Indian king cobra hotspots in an
attempt to capture king cobras for Bruces auditory tests.
They travel to the remote, crocodile infested mangrove swamps of
Bhitarkanika in the northeast, and then venture into the mountainous
jungles of the ancient Western Ghats to the southwest. In this region
the local people hold king cobras in such awe and reverence that
even in death they are given the same rights as departed relatives.
If Mark does succeed in coming face to face with a wild king cobra
for the first time in his life, hell be able to see for himself
whether locals are right when they say it is easy to get lost in
the eyes of this remarkable snake. Maybe this, rather than snakes
calling each other for help, is the key to the secret of the cobras
A large King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
is one of the most impressive snakes in the world.
||Common Asian toad
||Indian skipper frog
||Sri Lankan bullfrog
||ASIAN HARD-SHELLED TURTLES
|Melanochelys trijuga trijuga
||Peninsular black turtle
||Indo-Pacific estuarine crocodile
||Kandy dwarf day gecko
||Brook's house gecko
||Common house gecko
|Hemidactylus maculatus maculatus
||Northern spotted gecko
|Mabuya carinata carinata
||Common keeled grass skink
|Mabuya macularia macularia
||Eastern bronze skink
||Spotted supple skink
||Gunther's cat skink
||Roux's forest lizard
||Common garden lizard
|Varanus salvator salvator
||Water monitor lizard
|Lycodon aulicus aulicus
||COBRAS & THEIR KIN
||VIPERS & PITVIPERS
Location: The mangove swamps of Bhitarkanika are a reputed king
cobra hotspot, 6hrs by 4WD and 2hrs by boat from Bhupaneshwar, Orissa.
Location: Spectacled cobras are common in silicon-city Bangalore,
but king cobras are confined to the ancient rainforested Western
Ghats mountain range on the west coast.
OShea tries his hand at snake charming in Bangalore. It is
all in the movements, not the music.
Mohammad Anees is an Indian snake expert who has caught over 4,000
cobras in Bangalore in fourteen years. He is OSheas
guide on his first trip to India. He is holding a water monitor
lizard (Varanus salvator) from the Bhitarkanika swamps.
American, Bruce Young (Lafayette University) is an expert in reptile
acoustics. Here he encounters an Indian chameleon (Chameleo zeylanicus)
Dumal is a local wildlife expert who once cut off part of his nose
after he was bitten by a king cobra. He shows OShea and his
team around the Bhitarkanika swamps.
OShea and Anees captured several spectacled cobras (Naja naja)