I have, of late, been going to the Bannerghatta Zoo to introduce schoolchildren to various animals and birds, but, of course, I never expected to see a wildlife drama straight of out of National Geographic while I was there!

At the enclosure of the King Cobra, we found that there were many Rat Snakes, as well as the King himself….and suddenly, the King decided he (I am saying he because it’s the King…but it could have been the Queen as well!) needed a meal. Quite rapidly, he attacked one of the rat snakes…which literally flew out of the vegetation into an open patch of grass in the desperate need to get away from the predator.

However, the King was in no mood to let the prey off. The two fought furiously, intertwined. Since all this was happening on the other side of some fairly close-sized metal mesh, I could not get a video of the fast-paced action. However, after swaying to and fro in an embrace of death, the two snakes fell, together, into the trench between the raised patch of vegetation, and the metal net (beyond which there was a further barrier of plants, and a railing, from where we had to watch.)

At this point, through the crowd, I was at least able to get a few photographs.

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The King managed to get his fangs right into the middle of the rat snake.

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The Rat Snake coiled itself around the King Cobra, and actually tried dragging the much larger snake for quite a distance, backwards, along the circular trench.

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Amazed, we watched as the intensity of the death-struggle showed itself as much in the deadly stillness of this bite and embrace, as the all-over-the-place fight a few moments ago…

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However, we could not wait to see if the King finally did eat his prey; we had to take the children to the other enclosures, and we left them in mortal combat..and in the embrace of death for one, and food for the other….

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Here’s the signboard at the King Cobra enclosure.

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“Ophiophagus” means, “one who eats snakes”….and obviously, a lot of the rat snakes have been put into the enclosure to ensure that the King Cobra can hunt, as it would do in the wild. But because the two snakes came out of the vegetation, and the incident took place out in the open, we were privileged to watch one of the raw moments of Nature, very much as it would take place in the wild….

So…never imagine that a visit to the Zoo is going to be a pleasant and humdrum affair…sometimes drama can occur there, too!