Rare, deadly albino cobra slithers into home during rainstorm in India


A rare and venomous snake was found inside a home in southern India earlier this month, wildlife officials said. 

The albino cobra, measuring five feet long, slithered into the house during a spell of heavy rain. It was rescued and examined before ultimately being released back into the wild, the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust, an Indian nonprofit organization, wrote on Facebook. Members of the trust turned the cobra over to forest rangers after collecting it from the home.

The organization also shared a video of the release on its social media page — it shows the large ivory-colored snake emerging rapidly from a paper bag on a patch of grass before zooming off into the forest.

With flattened heads and distinctive hoods, cobras are notoriously dangerous creatures whose venom can cause paralysis and even death in humans if bites are not treated in a timely manner. 

“It is crucial to handle these snakes with great care and expertise, as any mistake can lead to severe consequences,” the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust said. As the organization noted, the albino cobra is a particularly rare breed of snake. Their white or yellow-toned appearance gives them an unusual look, which is caused by a genetic abnormality that results in a lack of melanin pigment in their skin. Albino cobras are not typically seen in southern India.

The rescue on May 3 is just one of several that were reported by India’s Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust since the beginning of the month. In the last week alone, wildlife officials found and rescued at least three other large, venomous and potentially deadly snakes spotted in neighborhoods across the southern Indian province of Tamil Nadu.

On May 10, a two-foot-long common krait was rescued from a property not far from the home where the albino cobra was found. Like the cobra, the common krait’s bite is also highly poisonous.

“The consequences of a bite from a Common Krait can include intense pain, swelling, paralysis of the respiratory muscles, and even death,” wildlife officials said.

Three days later, an Indian cobra, measuring three feet long, was found and rescued from a property about 50 miles away. Also known as the “spectacled cobra,” the Indian cobra is seen throughout India and in parts of southeast Asia. The Indian cobra poses a particular threat to humans, as its venom, although generally used to hunt prey, is especially toxic. 

Around the same time as the Indian cobra was discovered, another snake, a Russell’s viper measuring four feet long, was found and later released after being spotted on a property in southern India. The nature conservation trust characterized the viper as “one of the most venomous snakes in India,” noting that the creature can grow up to seven feet long.

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