Naja naja Indian Cobra
Also known as:
Spectacled Cobra, Asian Cobra, Binocellate Cobra
Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri LankaAugust 22, 2019
Indian Cobra (Naja naja) Indian Cobra (Naja naja) Indian Cobra (Naja naja)
On my final day in Sri Lanka I was having an afternoon snack at my guide Udaya Chanaka's Runakanda Rainforest Conservation Center when his mother-in-law yelled something in Sinhalese up from her house down the hill. He told me that she said a cobra was trying to get into her house, so he grabbed his snake hook and tongs and quickly headed down the hill. I could have joined him, but it would have been rude to leave the delicious snack that his wife had so kindly prepared for me. Plus I figured that if there really was a cobra he would catch it and bring it back to me anyway. I was right.

After we took our photos, Chanaka maneuvered the cobra into a bucket for us to release somewhere else later. We had previously found and photographed several snakes on or right near the grounds of the Rainforest Conservation Center, and all of those we had released back into the forest surrounding the center. But for some reason Chanaka didn't want to do the same with the cobra. I asked him why, thinking that the answer was pretty obvious. Did he perhaps not want to release this dangerously venomous snake here because his wife and young son often stayed at the center, or because his mother-in-law lived just down the hill? But no, I had it all wrong. He didn't want to release the cobra here because cobras eat other snakes, and he didn't want it eating any of the many other snakes he had previously released here. Makes perfect sense! That evening we released it in the forest on our way out of town.

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