Nature’s Ouroboros? Watch This Cobra DEVOUR An Entire Snake


Nature is, by definition, completely wild. We do our best to contain it inside zoos, aquariums, and even nature preserves. But any given day observing what happens in a preserve offers powerful reminders that nature simply refuses to be contained.

That’s what some visitors recently discovered when visiting a national park in South Africa. They were prepared to see just about anything, or so they thought. But the brutal sight of a cobra swallowing another snake in its entirety ended up haunting them for a good, long time!

Just what did this family see, and what do you need to know about this hungry, hungry snake? Keep reading to learn all the dirty details about the cobra who devoured a smaller snake and shocked a family while they watched!

When holidays go crazy

Like most of the craziest stories involving Mother Nature, this one starts out simply enough. One fine day, Karsten Vollmer and his family made a visit to Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa. While the park has “elephant” right in the name, it turns out there were plenty more than pesky pachyderms for the family to check out!

As they were driving towards Hapoordam in search of elephants, the family encountered a Cape cobra on the road. The cobra made no effort to get away, and it was soon clear exactly why that was. It turned out that this cobra was busy making a meal out of another snake!

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What you need to know about the Cape cobra

The first thing you should know about Cape cobras is that they are seriously bad news. These snakes are more than just toxic: in fact, many throughout South Africa and the world consider these snakes to be the most toxic (and therefore most dangerous) in the entire African cobra family!

To make matters worse, these snakes are famous for being very nervous and very, very aggressive. When Karsten Vollmer and his family stopped to get a better look at what was going on, they were just exercising some good, old-fashioned human curiosity. But we doubt they knew that they were really taking their lives in their hands by spying on this snake’s sneaky snack.

The family takes a closer look

At first, Vollmer and his family were in danger of driving right past this spectacle. We say “danger” because they might have missed a crazy sight, though as we outlined above, people usually take their lives into their hands trying to get a good look at Cape cobras.

Wise or not, though, the family ended up reversing their car to get a better look at what was going on. This is how they got a solid look at the cobra in question with another snake in his mouth. And this led to further surprises, including how this snake-on-snake snacking was going down.

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Slow and steady wins the taste

For snakes, there’s not really such a thing as “fast food.” They have venom that is designed to paralyze their prey. And by the time they start chowing down, the poison keeps the snakes’ victims paralyzed for the duration of the meal.

That’s exactly what was happening with the poor snake serving as the Cape cobra’s latest meal. As Vollmer and family looked on, they could see the slow but fascinating process by which this snake eats its prey whole. It’s the kind of thing you just don’t see every day, and while horrified, everyone quickly discovered that they just couldn’t look away.

Do Cape cobras normally eat other snakes?

As we noted, seeing one snake devouring another is the kind of thing you just don’t normally see. And we imagine it led everyone involved to ask a simple question: is this normal? Like, is the Cape cobra eating another snake a typical activity, or could it be a sign that the ravenous snake is sick or even starved?

By the standards of Mother Nature, what the cobra is doing is perfectly natural. More than other breeds, these cobras really love chowing down on fellow snakes, and they’ll go out of their way to fight other snakes for the privilege of slurping him down. While we don’t know if that’s what happened here, we wouldn’t be surprised if these two snakes had a big fight before the cobra could enjoy his scaly snack.

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Nobody likes to be watched while they eat

We don’t normally think of ourselves as having much in common with snakes. But when it comes to the Cape cobra, it turns out we do have something in common. Specifically, we don’t like people to stare at us while we eat!

While Vollmer and his family watched the gruesome proceedings, they noted that the cobra seemed to be agitated at the sight of them. After he finished eating his fellow snake, he quickly slithered away. The family finally drove away from this dining diversion, and we can’t help but wonder how many unwary snakes he has eaten since that fateful day!