Currently we are tracking 6 King Cobras
OPHA018 is our longest tracked snake in the project and is one of the longest tracked King Cobras in the world! OPHA018 is found primarily in disturbed forested areas along one of the busiest highways in Thailand. While he spends most of his time in the forest, he does not seem particularly bothered by the presence of humans and is commonly sighted by our field technicians. OPHA018 was found mating with one of our other tracked snakes, OPHA058 and is likely the father to a nest of approximately 30 eggs that hatched in August 2018.
OPHA054 was the first King Cobra captured during the latest King Cobra breeding season (March-April 2018), kicking off a very busy breeding season! OPHA054 was captured when a local villager called to let us know that he had seen a King Cobra disappear into a hole in a field. When some members of SCSET arrived at the scene, the villager had blocked up all the entrances to the hole that OPHA054 had gone into and was incredibly excited to be apart of a successful capture! Since his capture, OPHA054 has given our field technicians quite the run around as he is notorious for moving late in the afternoon and sometimes for hours at a time. So far, OPHA054 has been tracked exclusively in the village and agricultural areas.
Length and weight at last check-up: 2.4m, 1.4kg
OPHA055 was an incredibly exciting addition to our study as she is only the fourth female King Cobra to be included in the King Cobra telemetry project since it started in 2013. OPHA055 was captured by a local rescue team, which respond to car accidents, natural disasters, fires, and snake calls! She was actually captured outside of a local bed and breakfast that is set in a residential area surrounded by disturbed forested area. OPHA055 has been commonly tracked through thick forest and plantation regrowth areas, but has also been tracked very close to human settlements as well as the highway.
OPHA056 was first spotted when our field technicians were tracking OPHA054 moving through an agricultural area. Our field technicians were following OPHA054 when another King Cobra, now OPHA056 moved across a road in front of them and OPHA054 followed, suggesting that OPHA054 was in pursuit of this snake. The field technicians followed the two snakes until they moved into a large rock complex. They then spent the rest of the day taking shifts to monitor OPHA054 from the rock complex, in hopes that he and OPHA056 would emerge. Later that evening, OPHA054 and OPHA056 moved out from under the rock complex and began to copulate in an open area, making the perfect opportunity to capture OPHA056. Since her capture, OPHA056 has proved to be a tricky snake to keep on top of! There was a period of several months where we unable to find her, leaving us with questions of what happened to her- whether she had been eaten or killed, if her transmitter had malfunctioned, etc. However after several months of searching, we found her not far from where she went missing!
OPHA057 is an interesting addition to our current study, as he is actually a snake that was previously tracked by the King Cobra telemetry project. OPHA057, previously known as OPHA006 went missing when his transmitter malfunctioned in early 2016, and since April of this year we had no idea what had happened to him! OPHA057 was recaptured when a member of the Bird Research team at Sakaerat spotted him crossing a road in the village before sheltering in a pile of debris under a person’s house. Following his capture, he was re-implanted with a transmitter and since then he has frequented areas that he was tracked in previously. He also goes missing periodically, which is apparently characteristic of him. He is tracked in both forested areas and through areas in the village and actually shares a small overlap in home range with OPHA018.
Length and weight at last check-up: 2.6m, 1.9kg
OPHA058 was first spotted mating with OPHA018, but due to safety concerns, was not captured at the time. However, several days later, one of our field technicians was tracking OPHA018 when he noticed another snake, now OPHA058 a few meters away from where OPHA018 was sheltering. Surprisingly enough, OPHA058 stayed still long enough for other team members to arrive with some gear to go in for the capture. Following her capture, her and OPHA018 were located together in a shelter site and stayed there for several days. Several weeks later, we captured some camera trap photos of what looked to be OPHA058 constructing a nest, and after inspecting the mound of leaf litter OPHA058 was sat on for several days, we can confirm that she has laid approximately 30 eggs!