Monday, October 31, 2011

Spitting mad over a DOR Cobra

So I'm struggling to come up with quite where to start telling the story of the African adventure, I guess I'll just dive in and helpfully a fellow blogger has provided a useful jumping off point.

A while back FC posted some beautiful shots of a roadkilled eastern diamondback rattlesnake and whilst in Africa I came across a DOR hot of my own......This is not the way a herper wants to come across his first wild Mozambique Spitting Cobra........


DOR snakes were pretty rare in the park because there were no private cars allowed to drive after dark (I would have LOVED to roadcruise those roads all night - mambas, african rock pythons, cobras, oh my!). That said we did see a couple of live snakes on the roads and this. This was a massive horse of a snake by spitter standards (the shot above gives a good indication of how chunky it is - Naja mossambica tends to top out at 3 foot) and these are also a fast moving species - I'd like to think whoever hit this just got no chance at all as a big snake stretched out of the verge and sped under their wheels. Very, very sad but at least the vultures and kites would have gotten a feed and I'd think this one was big enough to have produced a fair few youngsters already.

The shot below shows the throat patterning on this bad boy; a pattern I'd far rather have seen under a spread hood on a live snake but we have to take what we get.


Elsewhere I'd have been out of the car in a jiffy examining the snake in the hand (having established it's deadness very carefully - "dead" snakes can bite and many snakes (even spitting cobras) fake death very effectively) but in the park leaving the car was forbidden.

Some of you may think examining roadkill is a bit weird but in truth it's a great way to get a really close look at animals one might not otherwise get to see properly. Keeping an eye on roadkill is also a brilliant way to establish the presence and prevalence of animal species in a region and if you don't believe me, the fact brilliant field naturalists like FC and Zick do it to might convince you to stop and check out the roadkill once in a while.....

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