King cobra at Sungei Buloh devours python whole in just 45 minutes


Ashley Tan | June 23, 2021, 02:24 PM

Recently, two large snakes — a king cobra and reticulated python — were spotted tussling it out at Dairy Farm Nature Park.

One nature photographer at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was witness to the outcome of a similar situation, with the cobra having emerged as the victor.

From head to tail

Jimmy Wong was in the area on June 22, at around 5pm. He told Mothership that he overheard that there was a king cobra sighting.

Upon spotting the snake, he followed it to the main hide in the nature reserve, where he then saw a dead python on the ground.

Speaking to other photographers, he discovered that the python had been "left there to die" after an earlier run-in with the cobra, and the venomous snake was returning to retrieve its prey.

The reticulated python is the longest snake in the world, and can reach lengths of up to 10m long. This is larger than even the king cobra, which can grow up to 5.4m.

In this case, it appears that the python was outwitted despite its size.

The dead python in question:

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

The cobra subsequently slithered around inspecting its meal, and once it located the python's head, unhinged its jaws and started to devour it whole.

Here's a series of photos which Wong managed to snap and post to Facebook, documenting the entire consumption process.

A chilling, but extraordinary sight.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Wong shared that it took the cobra just 45 minutes to shovel down the python from head to tail.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Here it is, belly full and licking its lips after a hearty meal of python.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Wong also managed to get a quick video of the cobra shaking its head from side to side in an attempt to swallow its prey. Yum.

Video courtesy of Jimmy Wong

Venom vs. constriction

Wong described the encounter as a "once in a lifetime experience".

While reticulated pythons are one of the more common snakes people in Singapore can spot, king cobras, on the other hand, are more uncommon.

The king cobra is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.

While cobras use their venom to immobilise prey, reticulated pythons on the other hand are non-venomous constrictors, and kill its prey by constricting it to death.

The National Parks Board advises members of the public who encounter snakes to remain calm and not approach them. These snakes are shy individuals and do not attack unless provoked.

Top photo courtesy of Jimmy Wong