When Prakash Swain woke up on the morning of April 27, he found out that a cobra had crept into his family home in Bhubneswar in Odisha in eastern India. Even though they were terrified at seeing the snake inside their home, they did the right thing and called a snake catcher to remove the cobra that was hiding in the dark in the warm surrounds of their store room.
As soon as snake catcher Purnchandra Das had captured the serpent and placed it into a bag, he found out that she was already laying eggs inside. Das called Snake Helpline, an NGO dedicated to rescue and conservation of snakes. Their General Secretary Shubhendu Malik asked Das to bring the snake to them immediately.
The pregnant mama was placed in a ventilated basket lined with newspaper, where she continued to lay the rest of her 23 eggs. Mr Malik said: “It is not a typical sight when we see a cobra laying eggs. For any snake enthusiast and conversationalist, it is an exciting moment so we filmed it in mobile camera. The cobra was found coiled around at the store room of Mr Swain’s house at around 5:30 am. They called Das for help who later brought the snake to our office. By 1 pm, the snake had welcomed all her eggs.”
Malik released the cobra into the wild that same day, while keeping the eggs for artificial incubation. “We will keep the eggs in artificial incubation for upto 60 days, that is how long snake eggs typically take to hatch. After that, the hatchlings will be released back into the wild,” he said.