Python versus king cobra in a battle at NTU campus

Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015.
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. PHOTO: ABHISHEK AMBEDE
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015.
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. PHOTO: ABHISHEK AMBEDE
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015.
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. PHOTO: ABHISHEK AMBEDE
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015.
Students at NTU were stunned to see a king cobra and a reticulated python fighting on the grounds of the university on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015. PHOTO: ABHISHEK AMBEDE

SINGAPORE - Students and staff at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) were stunned by the rare sight of two snakes locked in battle on a road at the school on Thursday afternoon.

One snake, which looked to be more than two metres long, was locked in the deadly embrace of another, photographs posted on Facebook showed.

Both snakes were captured by NTU pest controllers on Thursday.

The photos on the Facebook page of the NTU Graduate Student Council had been shared close to 1,000 times by Thursday night.

The shots were taken by graduate student Abhishek Ambede, 25, who said that many of those in the Research Techno Plaza, where he works, caught the snakes wrestling on the road near their building.

He estimated that the longer snake was "10 to 12 feet" in length, or about 3.6m long.

After the photos went viral, sources on the Internet identified the longer snake as a king cobra - which is extremely venomous. The snake wrapped around it is thought to be a reticulated python.

The python was shorter, at about five to six feet, Mr Ambede said.

The PhD student in the school of computer engineering in NTU, said this was the first time they have seen or even heard of a cobra on campus.

At least 20 to 30 people were gathered to watch the fight, and some tried to take photos up close, not realising that one of the snakes was venomous, he told The Straits Times.

He took his photos from more than four metres away, with a zoom lens, he said.

After at least 15 to 20 minutes of wrestling, the cobra, which tends to avoid humans, slid away into the bushes.

"Snakes can't hear, but it could have sensed there were many people from the vibrations," he said.

NTU's pest control officers captured the python, which seemed exhausted after its struggle with the cobra, and was slithering sluggishly on the road.

The cobra made another appearance at 4pm, Mr Ambede said, and both the pest controllers and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) were alerted.

However, the shy reptile managed to slip away again. At about 10pm, the snake was finally captured by pest controllers. 

Mr Ambede posted on Facebook at around 10.15pm: "The King has been caught 15 min ago and is safe and sound inside a bag! Its is with the NTU Pest Control people and they will be taking it to the zoo they said! A snake's life saved, and people saved from danger!"

Earlier, he had expressed concern that joggers may unwittingly encounter the cobra. While it is a "timid" snake, "if by mistake someone steps on it, it may attack", he said.

But he stressed that NTU lies in a forested area and he would like to see "animals and people can co-exist peacefully with each other".