King cobras in the Andaman Islands
I fell in love with the Andaman Islands in the 1970s for the beautiful rain forests and coral reefs there.
These islands belong to India and my colleagues and I set up a field station there in 1989 www.anetindia.org) which is now operated by the Dakshin Foundation and carries out wonderful research and conservation. I was incredibly lucky to find my very first king cobra nests there and watched the eggs hatching out. There is an endemic cobra and an endemic krait found in these islands and there is every likelihood of the Andaman king cobra being an endemic, that is, a completely different species from the ones found on the mainland. Hopefully research on the DNA of king cobras in progress will answer this question.
Rom finds his first king cobra female on her nest. Andaman Islands - 1976.
Rom with king cobra hatchlings at nest in Andaman Islands - 1977.
Photo by Rajesh Bedi.
Rom finds his first king cobra nest. Andaman Islands - 1976.
Photo by Allen Vaughan.
ADULT MALE KING COBRA IN THE ANDAMAN ISLANDS
The king cobra in the picture is from Little Andaman Island on the 23 of May 2018. It was 10 feet long and weighed around 4 kgs. I thought it was a male. The Andaman king cobras are amazing and unique in more ways than one and very different I believe from the Western Ghat variety where I come from in Goa. Their color, size and behaviour to name a few things. The snakes from Little Andaman Island are even more of an isolated population i understand as its the southern most Andaman Island is cut off from the rest of the Andamans by an overnight sea voyage. This one was given to me by a rescuer with the Forest Department when it strayed into somebody's property. It was unusually light colored even for the snakes from here and truly beautiful. A canary yellow almost. It was very agile and impressive and seemed aggressive probably because of the way it was captured and stressed out.
King Cobra from the South Andaman islands (Havelock) eating an Andaman keelback - 2009
Photo by Ulli Dixit
This male 3.5m King Cobra was rescued in Havelock February 2020
Photos by Ajay Kartik
This photo taken early in the morning on the 26 February 2020 by an Italian tourist lady named Felicia while on a walk on Sitapur beach (Neil island) during the low tide.
It was between 5:00 and 6:00 am and it shows a King eating an Andaman Pit Viper on the beach.
Hatchling is from Mizoram, North East India. It was from a nest which needed to be relocated, the eggs were hatched in captivity at Mizoram University and the babies released back into the wild in 2017.
Photo by Ajay Kartik
Adult 2.9m orange coloured male rescued around the Port Blair area February 2020 Photos by Ajay Kartik
Something's up in the Hood
These are two individuals caught in the same locality here on Havelock in the span of two days and a day apart from each other,
the 7th and 8th of Feb 2020 during the day.
Both have what seems to be a not so uncommon dark spot on the first chevron on the back of the hood.
More Kings have it here in varying intensities and sizes, it appears making identifying each one quite a bit of fun, if and when recaptured.
What it really indicates I'm not really sure yet but I imagine time will tell.
Photos by Aaron Fernandes