The Mystical King Cobra and Coffee Forests
Readers are requested to refer to Human Snake Conflict Inside Coffee Forests, Snake Diversity and Conservation Inside Coffee Forests and Coffee Forests and the Dancing Spectacled Cobra for a better understanding of the present article.
The world is awakening to a brand New Year. This article is especially written at the beginning of this year 2013 so that wildlife preservation gets top priority in your New Year 2013 resolutions. Go ahead! Make an impact; even in a small way that goes a long way in the end.
The King Cobra is perhaps the most feared reptile in India. In recent years this magnificent reptile is moving from the core of the western Ghats and seeking refuge inside shade grown ecofriendly coffee forests of Karnataka State. (Karnataka State harbors 60% of the Western Ghats ). No field study has been carried out as to why the King Cobra is taking shelter inside shade grown Ecofriendly coffee forests.
A snake so big as the King has highly specialized habitat requirements. Perhaps, the impact of climate change and Global warming may be one among the several factors associated with this shift. Another reason may reflect the change in the quality of habitats, such as a growing shortage of appropriate ground cover within the natural forest.
The fact of the matter is that all snakes, whether poisonous or nonpoisonous are paramount to the health of the coffee ecosystem. To simplify this complex statement, snakes play different roles, both that of a predator or prey in balancing the dynamics of the coffee habitat.
Like all snakes the King Cobra is an ectotherm and regulates its body temperature by basking in the sun. Like all other snakes, the King Cobra is associated with several beneficial aspects. The king not only eats other poisonous snakes but also effectively keeps the balance of nature in check. Venom is also used in the preparation of various therapeutic drugs. A novel protein called "HADITOXIN" within King Cobra venom discovered by Dr. Manjunatha Kini and his team could lead to better treatment options for certain neurological conditions. The King Cobra is the only snake that can control the amount of venom it injects into its prey unlike other snakes.
To begin with, we have highlighted a few of the facts with respect to the King Cobra, so that each of you can familiarize and understand its behavior and habitat.
The pictures of the King Cobra that you are about to view is a result of our 25 year work mapping the biodiversity of the Western Ghats and coffee forests. Over the years we have been fortunate to come; face to face with the king on a number of occasions. It is hard to describe the feeling when one encounters the king in the wild. Regal, Majestic and imposing, one can feel ones hair stand up with goose bumps on the undersurface of the skin and then with the passage of time the reptile appears gentle and smooth provided one understands the language of nature.
We have provided pictures of both the GREEN and BLACK colored King cobras in every possible angle so that even an amateur can appreciate and identify different types of King cobras. A few of the close ups, will be of great help in identifying the scales and patterns of King Cobras that are present in the Western Ghats. A few rare slides pertain to molting and shedding and one can see the visible imprint of the scale.
Published: January 2013