38 king cobra eggs hatch at Pilikula zoo

The hatching began on the 76th day, Thursday, after the eggs were laid, and the hatchlings emerged from the eggs till Friday.

PBP director H J Bhandary said that the team is excited over the captive breeding success. 

“ PBP was selected by the Central Zoo Authority, for an exclusive conservation and breeding programme of giant squirrels and king cobras.

 Eight-year-old Nagamani, that was rescued and brought to the park from Sampaje, due to an injury, had laid the eggs, after mating with Nagendra, who was born in the zoo, when the zoo had undertaken captive breeding in 2010.

For the first time in the country, captive breeding of king cobras was undertaken, and more than 100 king cobras were bred in 2010.

Three king cobras had laid about 100 eggs. While some of the king cobras were sent to zoos across India, as part of an animal exchange programme, there were many that were released in the wild.

Currently, the park has about 14 king cobras, of which five are females. For the identification of the snakes, a microchip is placed. The Central Zoo Authority has sanctioned about Rs 20 lakh for the project,” he said.

A team of officials, including senior scientific officer Jerald Vikram Lobo, biologist Suma M S, veterinarian Dr Madhusdhan K and caretaker Dinesh Kumar K P, have been closely monitoring the breeding of snakes at the king cobra breeding centre.

Bhandary said after mating, the female snake takes about 30-45 days to lay eggs. The incubation period is about 90 days, however, in this case, eggs started hatching after 75 days.

The foetal development occurs after the eggs are laid. At the specially designed incubation facility for king cobra eggs, the humidity maintained is about 80-90%.

Zoo to remain closed

Due to heavy rain and flooding at a few enclosures, and trees being uprooted, the zoo will remain closed to the public till Monday, said Pilikula Biological Park director H J Bhandary.

Several animals such as deer, sambar and barking deer have been shifted from their regular enclosures due to flooding.

Several trees have been uprooted. A tree fell right outside the shed of the ostrich enclosure.

From the point of view of the public and animal safety, the zoo will remain closed, and a further decision will be taken based on the situation.

Meanwhile, the health of the animals is being monitored closely, as there are chances of them falling sick quickly, because of the prevailing weather conditions, he said.