A few days back I went to a friend’s house but she was not home. So I was chatting with her mother. As the topic of snakes came along, she told me a very fascinating story.
2-3 years back, one morning one snake was spotted in their locality. There was a medium sized water tank with water and the snake was in it. When they identified it as cobra, they called a snake charmer. Even he could not catch the snake because of the water, so people decided to kill it. After beating the snake severely with sticks and rods, they put the snake on ground. And suddenly the cobra regurgitated another snake. And guess what, that was a cobra too. The first cobra was approx 4.5ft long and second one from 3-3.5ft.
Now this was interesting for me because I have not heard of cobras feeding on cobras or any other snake previously. So I started to look for material on this subject. King cobras and Kraits are known to feed on snakes but could not find anything related to cobras. Then suddenly I stumbled upon a image in an online group, Indian Snakes. It not only proved the previous story, the comments gave a whole array of information.
The photo was originally posted by Mr Rajeevan Shri in another group DiversityIndia. And this was the supporting text “While travelling through country side around Quilon found this. People beaten the cobra very badly it was dying when the pic was taken' cobra was about 5feet long &viper about 3.5feet long. Taken 1998 Dec.” Now when I went through the comments I saw that one person says that he has seen a cobra feeding on a daboia before and this is the second time he is seeing this. Another person says that he saw a cobra vomit a daboia before while his friend was rescuing the cobra. And one person added even more interesting fact. He has seen cobra feeding on rat snake and even a rat snake feeding on trinket snake.
These could be some very unusual individual incidents or these could be showing a trend. The snakes, especially the cobra may have started to change their feeding behaviour. An easy conclusion could be drawn that the scarcity of prey species have forced them to target different species but their main prey, the rats have flourished with the human very well and are not scarce. May be inter species competition is forcing the cobras to be superior than the daboia and feed on that species. Well, these are just my imagination and the real reason could only be found by scientifically investigating the whole matter.