Around 4 PM on Tuesday as I was working from home, someone rang the bell. Father answered it, only to find no one. Turned out some of the workers’ kids nearby had done that. They were now busy looking at the other side of the road. Turned out they had seen a snake cross from our side of the road and go into a hole in the empty site opposite our house.
On looking closely, the snake had coiled itself inside that hole. I pulled out my camera and shot a pic to see what it was. I thought it would be a rat snake, but the neighbour who had seen it was insistent that it was a cobra. He turned out to be right.
Even if I could concede that he knew what he saw, I was a bit worried about letting on to the standing labourers that it was a cobra. Most labourers’ first reaction to snakes is to beat them to death, and I really wanted to see the cobra go its way. The labourers and other assorted people standing nearby eventually lost interest and went their ways. The snake stayed put. A few kids came down to watch, one decided to pick up a stone to throw. A few stern words and they were off, no stones being thrown.
Much later, it put its head out, just to sample the surroundings. I figured it was just getting some air.
Here, the “V” on the back is clearly visible. There was no doubt what it was! A venomous cobra indeed. Still we had no clue how long a snake this was.
Later I went on a walk with my mother, and got back, and the snake had not moved much. We kept all our interest in the snake inside our premises. No getting out, crouching, or getting any passersby interested in something on the side of the road.
After more than an hour of this, the snake decided to put more of its body out. We kept a lookout from near the door, not letting any passersby on a possible venomous snake 10 ft from them, separated by a storm water drain.
After checking down, it decided to check ‘up’.
You can see the “V” most clearly now. A speckled or spectacled cobra no doubt. A member of the species Naja naja. One of the “big four” species that inflict the most number of snake bites in the Indian subcontinent. As no one bothered with it, it, thankfully, did not have an opportunity to unfurl its hood!
Around this time, I noticed three men walking on the road. Their movement caused the snake to beat a hasty retreat and within seconds it was back inside the hole. Sometime later, after things had quietened down, it tried to come out again, having decided that ‘up’ was the direction to take, but this time Appa was walking down after some shopping, and the snake decided to beat a hasty retreat again.
Much later, just as it was starting to get dark, close to 2 hours after it entered the hole, the snake made its move again.
This time, more and more of it came out, until we realised that the snake was close to a good 5 feet long! Cobras grow to a length of max 5 ft, so this was a full grown adult!
This time, there was no disturbance, and it made its way up to the site, slithered to the side, reached the road, then went into the storm water drain, before disappearing under the road, where the drain crosses under the road. No humans or snakes were harmed in the whole time.