TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video captured in eastern Taiwan surfaced on Friday (July 24) showing the rare spectacle of cobras scarfing down rice.
On Sunday, Hualien County Councillor Wu Tung-sheng (吳東昇) uploaded a video on his Facebook page in which a cobra can be seen gulping down large servings of rice. Above the video, Wu wrote that a member of the public had captured the video in Hualien City's Meilunshan Park and that it was significant because cobras are rarely seen eating rice.
Liberty Times identified the recorder the footage as a woman surnamed Fan (范), who said that she had captured the scene at 11 a.m. on July 18. She stated that the rice had been left out to feed stray dogs.
Fan said that when the first cobra spotted her, it quickly fled the scene. However, it came back five minutes later and was eventually joined by another cobra, which took turns with the first one chomping down on the rice.
She said that she shot the footage from a window in her house, which is located about two meters from the spot. Fan said that she managed to get footage of both the cobras partaking in the free carb feast.
Herpetologist You Chung-wei (游崇瑋) told the newspaper that when he saw the footage, he said: "If I hadn't seen the video, I wouldn't have believed it." The expert said the behavior was unusual because the snakes are carnivorous, normally feeding on rodents, lizards, frogs, toads, birds, eggs, and fish.
You speculated that because the food had been left overnight, rats might have fed on it. He surmised that the cobras might have been attracted by the scent left behind by rats.
In response to netizens' concerns that the rice would cause the snakes to suffer indigestion, he said that their gastrointestinal tract is relatively short and that occasionally eating rice should not cause serious problems. Fan said that as far as she knew, the food bowls set out for stray cats and dogs are emptied and cleaned every day, but she could not rule out the possibility that rats could steal some morsels before their intended recipients can get to the bowls.