An extremely rare and potentially deadly albino cobra had to be taken from a home in India after the white snake slipped out during a heavy storm.
Neighbors spotted the pale cobra emerging from fast-flowing water on the ground and in a hallway next to the house in Coimbatore, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, on May 3. Experts from the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT) later arrived to save her. capture the snake, which was later released into the wild.
The 5-foot-long (1.5-meter) snake was identified as an albino Indian cobra (naha naha), WNCT representatives wrote in Facebook (opens in a new tab). The species, which is also known as the spectacled cobra, is considered one of the “big four” species of snakes that are responsible for the majority of snakebite cases in India.
Albinism is a genetic condition that prevents animals from producing the pigment melanin, which gives color to their skin, fur, feathers, or scales. It is recessive, which means that both parents must possess the gene and pass it on to their offspring. Albino animals also lack pigment in the iris, meaning they have pink or red eyes, resulting in reduced vision or total blindness; Also, your skin is very susceptible to sunburn.
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For most animals, albinism can be a death sentence. Their white color makes them stand out from predators, which means that many die as juveniles in the wild. But the size of the Coimbatore cobra suggests that it is fully grown and hasn’t been affected too much by its condition.
However, albinism is not always a disadvantage, at least for some snakes. In a study published in February 2022 in the journal Zoology (opens in a new tab), the researchers used mock snakes to test whether white or albino snakes were at higher risk of predation by birds than individuals of normal color. The results suggested that albinism did not increase the rate of predation, likely because its discoloration confused birds, which use the snakes’ skin patterns to identify them for prey.
Safe capture of the snake was important because the species is known to be highly venomous. “His poison it can cause paralysis and even death if not treated immediately,” WNCT representatives wrote. “Handling these snakes with great care and expertise is crucial, as any mistake can have serious consequences.”
Between 81,000 and 138,000 deaths occur in India every year due to snakebites, according to the World Health Organization (opens in a new tab).
Cobras can also take dry bites, which do not contain venom. In November 2022, an 8-year-old boy in India received a dry bite from a previously unidentified cobra species. bite the snake in retaliation and kill it.