Mangaluru: A king cobra made a mysterious appearance near Mangaluru on Saturday February 26 and was subsequently captured by snake experts. The snake was rescued from a house compound at Ulaibettu Village near Vamanjoor at about 7.30 pm.
The snake measuring about 8 feet was rescued by Ashok, the snake handler of Pilikula Nisarga Dhama and shifted to the Pilikula zoo. The king cobra is the largest venomous snake in the world. Fully grown king cobra can measure upto 18ft. They prefer dense, humid forests with cool climate and avoid warm urban habitats. In southern India they are found only in the rainforests of Western Ghats and are known to sometimes stray into villages in the foothills of the Ghats, such as Karkala and Sullia. Hence it has come as a great surprise to wildlife enthusiasts that it has been found so far away from its natural habitat.
It was young snake rescuer Atul Pai who first received the distress call. Recalls Atul: “I got a call from a person informing me that a King Cobra has been spotted in Mangaluru. I couldn’t believe it at first. We receive many such calls as people often mistake a normal cobra for King Cobra. After reaching the spot I realised that it was indeed a King. As I do not have the required experience to handle such a big and rare snake, I decided to call Ashok from Pilikula and he promptly rescued it. There were also about 200 onlookers and I did not want to take any risk.”
According to Atul, the locals claimed that the snake came from the Gurupur River which passes close by. The mysterious appearance of the snake is being investigated by the Pilikula authorities to determine its origin, he added.
Jayaprakash Bhandary, Director of the Pilikula Zoo says that this is not the first time a king cobra has been found near Mangalore. “There have been a few incidents in the past when we have rescued king cobras near Mangaluru. But such incidents are very rare. We have kept this king cobra under observation and a decision on its release will be taken soon,” he said.