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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Graveyard Cobra

This morning I searched a dilapidated and heavily overgrown cemetery for basking reptiles. The individual plots in Chinese graveyards are often quite large, covered with bricks or concrete and surrounded by low walls. I was sitting on one of those low walls eating a rice dumpling when I noticed a faint rustling behind the tombstone three feet away, and got to witness an almost seven foot long Chinese cobra (Naja naja atra) slinking off into the undergrowth without much apparent haste. I was too gobsmacked to take a picture (never saw his head anyway), and kept sitting there for at least another twenty minutes, savoring the privileged experience of having lunch at arm's length from one of the most awe-inspiring predators on this island.