King cobra and python in incredible snake combat. Place your bets now!!

Herpetologist, Dale Mortiboys regales you with the fight of expedition

There is no way of explaining the wonder, fear and excitement I felt as I waded in to the river. Branches tugged at my quickly tied boots but my eyes remained fixed on the remarkable event just up ahead. My camera displayed LENS ERROR. What timing! If the rest of the team hadn’t been there no one would have believed this tale.

In the middle of the river a reticulated python was wrapped powerfully around its quarry. It was just a matter of waiting until the air in its lungs ran out and then the prey would become a feast.

That is, unless this hapless python had decided to entangle itself with the king of the jungle. Between the tensed embrace lay a juvenile king cobra!! It didn’t look good for the young cobra; his head pinned in a renowned killers grip and held beneath the water. As we watched in awe, Aspor explained what had transpired to bring these two notorious snakes together. He had watched as they chased each other along the river bank. One trying for a good bite to then hold and squeeze. The other a quick nip to envenomate.

Our understanding of the wrestling match changed as it became clear the cobra had managed to sink its fangs into the python. Now it was the cobra’s turn to wait. If it could survive the pinning coils long enough for its venom to act, it would be the victor. We all took a pace back now the lethal snake was not so safely constrained.

 The python seemed to lose its vigour. It coils loosened. Quick as a flash the cobra was free. It raised its characteristic head, showing of its yellow underneath – almost a victory salute to the now doomed python. The python was sluggish and stayed in the water whilst the cobra, released from almost an hour of strangling combat slid to the bank. We could now see the size of these two formidable opponents and marvel at the majesty of the king cobra.

We now have the dead python in an Aquapac awaiting dissection tomorrow and some remarkable memories. Next time we see two deadly animals in the grips of a death struggle, we will think carefully before placing our bets.

Cobra vs Python: Filmed by Martin Holland and James Harwood