RAUK - Archived Forum - Cape Cobras

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Cape Cobras :

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armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
Well its definitely spring here now in South Africa.
Just back from deHoop Nature reserve having spent some enoyable days observing cape cobras emerging from their winter retreats. The males have a definitive home range and use the same, or group, of burrows each year.
It is also the time when the capped wheatear is looking for a burrow to nest in. These plucky birds are known to evict puff adders, and perhaps cobras, from a burrow.
This bird came close but was wary, so maybe not. But I will keep looking.


'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Jonathan
Senior Member
Joined: 08 Sep 2009
No. of posts: 68


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Posted: 27 Sep 2009

Just getting a big red X there.  I'll see if I can fix it.


"England Expects"
Jonathan
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Joined: 08 Sep 2009
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
... nope, another big red X
"England Expects"
armata
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
Yeah, I don't know what the problem is????
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
armata
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
Try again?

'I get my kicks on Route 62'
armata
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
Another male cobra just 10m away from other, also getting attention from wheatear

'I get my kicks on Route 62'
armata
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
This is of interest. The cape cobra has a reputation as being aggressive and quick to strike etc etc.
Well this is the second male basking by his winter retreat (burrow) two people walked by 3m away and this was his reaction, then slipping away down the burrow. he came out 20mins later.
I have 10 cobras at permanent refuge that I have been observing for 2-5 years now. getting to be like my adder watching in the UK.
Same story with puff adders and southern adders, particularly females.

'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Jonathan
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Joined: 08 Sep 2009
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
Great pics.  Not quite like adder watching though.  Dunno what my reaction would be if lifting a tin and one of those buggers came out.
"England Expects"
dave fixx
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
What size are these individuals Tony? I wish we were just comming into spring again here.
Dave Williams
davewilliamsphotography.co.uk
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 27 Sep 2009
The first male, darker one is app 1.8m, the other app 1.5m
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
dave fixx
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007
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Posted: 28 Sep 2009
With you comparing it to your adder watching over here Tony,I can see the similarities as in knowing the individuals and watching them through the season but are they similar in habits? You said one returned out 20 minutes later ,will they stay around an immediate area in the way adders tend to.?
Sorry for all the questions but I have really been tracking adder movements this year more than ever as I have more chance to study them and it facinates me that you do the same with cobras.

Dave
Dave Williams
davewilliamsphotography.co.uk
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 28 Sep 2009
To watch a cobra all day basking and then going into retreat can be a bit like watching paint dry but it gives a good idea of activity cycles. Cobras are also individuals, one moved 10m away and occupied another burrow, and stayed there for the next day before returning to the original burrow.
Anothe unusual aspect, and most unusual in the snake worls, is that females go to the males. At least I have now observed this for four males over a few years. Female mate choice is controversal and I admit I need more observations.

The puff adders and southern adders are more like our UK adder, females very sedentary. Big difference of course is no communal hibernation, very rarely do you see a 'group' of adders here.
Also females seem to have an erratic reproductive cycle, maybe breeding every two or three years.
This is different to females further north in warmer areas, e.g. KZN.

It amazes me how little studies of behaviour have been done here on such well known snakes. Keeps me active and healthy though.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 28 Sep 2009
I should mention re Cape cobras. They know their ground. This photo shows a refuge of a male I have known for 4yrs, note lack of cover in the form of tall vegetaion. 'Cover' is in the form of burrows, and the ground is riddled with them.
Makes it easier for me and in many cases can observe from the vehicle, nice at my age!!!

When you spot a cobra moving over the ground, you get out of the vehicle and it haa done a 'magic' act and vanished; down a burrow of course, and as I say they know the ground, and which burrows offer the best refuge.


'I get my kicks on Route 62'
dave fixx
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007
No. of posts: 319


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Posted: 28 Sep 2009
Thanks Tony,
Interesting to see that the lady cobras are making an effort!I suppose if you are sitting there for some time and you are used to it,it could get tiresome but personally I would want to know where those guys were the whole time!.

Dave

Dave Williams
davewilliamsphotography.co.uk
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
No. of posts: 928


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Posted: 01 Oct 2009
Well I am back there on Monday, see what has developed. Though mating is at a peak late October to mid december.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'

- Cape Cobras

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