Observations on a Wild King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), with Emphasis on Foraging and Diet
Since 2005, we have conducted research on King Cobras (Ophiophagus hannah) in the forests and plantations surrounding Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) located in the Western Ghats of southern India. In March 2008, we started a radiotelemetry project and to date we have tracked four adult King Cobras (three males, one female) for varying periods. Although we have documented a number of interesting facets of King Cobra biology, this note is confined to observations made on a single male (M2) from June- November 2009. During this time, we observed M2 capturing and consuming 26 pit vipers (two Hump-nosed Pit Vipers, Hypnale hynale, and 24 Malabar Pit Vipers, Trimeresurus malabaricus). We provide details of these remarkable observations, and briefly discuss them in the context of our ongoing efforts to understand and conserve these charismatic serpents.
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