GUEST POST by Gavin and Christine Mitchell
On a recent trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we came across an unusual but amazing scene of an almost two-metre long Cape cobra and a mole snake engaged in combat. The whole sighting, just south of Nossob, lasted almost an hour!
We noticed that the mole snake was repeatedly trying to escape, but the cobra would pursue and bite it behind the head. Cape cobras, which are venomous, are known to eat other snake species, which makes up to a third of their diet, so presumably this one was determined to make the mole snake its lunch.
However, the mole snake was clearly not ready to become another snake’s food and immediately wrapped itself around the Cape cobra’s head and began to constrict it.
Mole snakes are muscular reptiles that use constriction to kill their prey. They are also non-venomous but can deliver a serious bite with their pin-sharp teeth.
The Cape cobra repeatedly tried to pull the mole snake off its neck and head by reversing through the bush. After this was repeated about three times the Cape cobra seemed to feel the pressure of the mole snake’s constriction and let it go.
At this point the mole snake made its escape and slithered down a hole, while the Cape cobra rested for a while and eventually left in another direction.
We were quite amazed that the mole snake seemed to survive the encounter, although he did look a little worse for wear. It was a wonderful sighting and we came away wondering just how much of an effect the venom from the Cape cobra would have had on the mole snake.