Chennai: An 18-year-old king cobra which has been in the zoo for the last 12 years died at the Aringar Anna Zoological park in Vandalur. Zoo authorities said that the cobra was old, ailing and avoiding food for some time.
Last week, the massive reptile showed sedentary symptoms and was found dead in the air-conditioned enclosure. It was one of the oldest animals in the zoo and had been a centre of attraction in the reptile enclosure. With a huge hood, the male reached a length of around 15 foot and was alone for the past four years as its mate died in 2008.
Both the cobras were gifted to the zoo by the Centre for Herpetology, Madras Crocodile Bank in 2001. An autopsy conducted on the snake revealed that the reptile died due to ageing.
The average life of a king cobra is around 18 to 20 years in the wild, zoo sources said.
The cobra arrived at Vandalur at the age of five and lived for about 13 years. Now there is no king cobra in the zoo and efforts will be made to acquire a pair of these through the Central Zoo Authority, zoo sources said.
“Under an animal exchange programme, we can approach zoos in Mangalore and Kolkata,” said zoo director and chief conservator of forests K. S. S. V. P. Reddy.
The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world’s longest venomous snake and preys mostly on other snakes. The endangered reptile is endemic to the rain forests of the Western Ghats....