This is the amazing moment a cobra and a monitor lizard were caught in a battle in the middle of a road in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
A surprised safari photographer captured the action from a car just a few meters away.
The snouted cobra is a a highly venomous species with neurotoxic venom endemic to Southern Africa. They are predominantly nocturnal but can often be encountered during the day, as seen in this encounter.
Photographer Helen Young told her story: “In April this year, I was on a solo trip to Kruger as my husband went climbing. I left Shingwedzi camp as the gates opened and headed off down to Letaba. Not too far down the road, I came across a very odd looking shape in the distance and I could not make out what it was. I approached slowly and was amazed to find a massive cobra (snouted cobra is the consensus) trying to take on a large monitor lizard.”
“The lizard showed immense strength as it dragged the snake up the road. I didn’t want to move my car in case I spooked the snake – this meant that they got a bit too close for comfort (at one point they were both tangled up partly under my car).”
“As time went on I could see that the lizard was flagging. It had clear bite wounds in its neck and it was covered in venom.”
“Despite this, incredibly, the lizard was able to escape the snake’s jaws a couple of times and made a swift exit. Unfortunately for the lizard, the snake caught it again (once in the face). This went on for some time and the lizard eventually stopped moving.”
“In the end a car sped past which frightened off the snake (via the underneath of my car). I stayed quite a while with the monitor lizard to see what would happen next. The lizard remained motionless in the road except for a couple of flicks of its tongue. I suspect it became road kill but at least it should have fed something in the end.”
“I’m very glad to have caught this interesting sighting on film to share with others!”