Rangers Lodge, Best Homestay in Corbett Tiger Reserve

Imrans Jungle Home in Corbett

   May 29

King Cobra & Monitor Lizard – a Unique Prey-Predator relationship


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I had been dying all these days to share this spectacular sequence of action between king cobra, the longest recorded venomous serpent in wilderness, and monitor lizard, possibly the biggest lizard in Komodo dragon lineage.  I have been seeing a number of similar pictures in the facebook uploads in the last few months.  Here is the sequence depicted in 12 pictures where a king cobra had galloped a monitor lizard in a matter of 35 minutes on the 14th June 2010 in Jhirna, a day before Corbett’s main tourism zones are shut for the monsoons.  I have always believed right from 1994 that Jhirna offers more than tigers when it comes to the diversity of wilderness, as human habitations of Kothirau, Dhara & Jhirna were shifted not long ago, in 1991-92.  Possibly the driest part of Corbett offers variety of habitats and the reason for the elephants to become resident, kaleej pheasants to breed more often (more sightings of kaleej pheasant in jhrina than Bijrani & Dhikala put together), a centre of civilisation for Great Hornbill, Oriental pied hornbill,  Paradise flycatcher, blue-tailed bee-eater, chestnut-headed bee-eater, Indian Pitta (except the two resident hornbills the rest are migrants from peninsular India and are seen more often in Jhirna).

I can very well recall that I was in Jhirna with a repeat guest, Mansher singh, a young boy of 15 years along with his mother and a friend, Hunar Mahajan.  I had been on the number of safaris with them in the past and wasn’t very keen on the afternoon of 14th june, 2010.  Finally, Hunar was able to convince me to accompany him and I must thank him for his stubbornness otherwise,  I would have missed this interesting & once in a blue moon sequence.  Close to the remnants of erstwhile Jhirna village on the Jarh paharh Road, Luvkush, our driver spotted this incredible sighting.  The King Cobra had already poisoned the monitor lizard and had started swallowing it.  Please observe the higher ground from where the king Cobra is trying to swallow & gallop the lizard, while slowly & gently the snake is stretching its mouth and body from higher to lower ground, possibly the killing strategy of the snake.  I must thank Mansher and Hunar Mahajan for taking me along to witness this incredible sequence.  During my tenure in wilderness (20years) I have seen King Cobras measuring 5 to 20’ long and this one was just about 12’.  I have seen Pythons longer and bigger than King Cobras but not swifter and more agile than Hamadryad as this one while swallowing and galloping its prey.

Thanks and Regards Imran Khan


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