King cobra at Bukit Timah devours monitor lizard whole over 2 hours

Mid-day meal.

Lean Jinghui | May 01, 2022, 07:09 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

There's been instances of king cobras devouring other snakes – from the reticulated python to the dog-faced water snake and juvenile shore pit viper.

On Apr. 30, one photographer in Singapore witnessed the majestic king cobra take on another reptilian powerhouse – the monitor lizard – and feast on it whole.


David Wirawan came across the spectacular encounter in Hindhede nature park, near Bukit Timah.

According to his Facebook post, he made the decision to go to Bukit Timah after having overslept on the bus. He had originally planned to head to Dairy Farm to take photos of insects.

Speaking to Mothership, Wirawan said that he was in the area around 3pm, when he chanced upon the sight.

Some visitors to the park had told him where the king cobra was last sighted, after he enquired if there was anything of interest to see in the area.

According to Wirawan, the king cobra already had the monitor lizard in its jaws when he arrived. It is unknown if it was the same king cobra that was captured on camera previously.

Wirawan then managed to document the entire process of the cobra devouring its prey whole.

The process took approximately two hours.

Image courtesy of David Wirawan

Image courtesy of David Wirawan

Image courtesy of David Wirawan

Image courtesy of David Wirawan

At certain points in an accompanying video, the cobra is seen further opening its jaws and moving its head from side to side as it ingests the body of the monitor lizard.

At one point the cobra even flips a full 180 degrees, as it gets to the lizard's chunky middle.

Via Singapore Geographic YouTube

You can find the full video here:


Those who want to know more about Singapore's animals and biodiversity can also check out Wirawan's site called Singapore Geographic.

The king cobra

The king cobra is a venomous snake, endemic to Southern and Southeast Asia.

Cobras typically use their venom to immobilise their prey, before swallowing it whole. King cobras are currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.

The National Parks Board advises members of the public who encounter snakes to remain calm and not approach them.

Members of the public should also avoid sudden movements or using flash photography as this could startle the snake.

As for monitor lizards, they are mostly carnivorous, and use its venom to kill small prey, such as insects, crabs, or fish.

According to NParks, the most common monitor lizard found in Singapore is the Malayan monitor lizard, which can grow up to three metres long.

Follow and listen to our podcast here

All images and video courtesy of David Wirawan