A rooster in India showed real pluck while defending its brood from a cobra.
In the video above, the deadly snake is defensively coiled with its hood out, striking at the rooster several times. But the bird’s quick pecking maneuvers allow it to grab the snake in a position that keeps the rooster out of harm’s way, while the cobra writhes and tries to escape.
The rooster pushes the cobra away from the other chickens, sometimes dropping and pecking at it and sometimes running with the snake dangling from its beak. The bobbing movements of the rooster seem well-suited for this kind of fight, making it harder for the cobra to strike with its lethal venom.
At the end of the encounter, the rooster swallows the weakened snake whole, sliding the reptile into its beak as the creature’s muscles coil uselessly a couple more times.
The rooster’s behavior is not unusual; birds normally prey on snakes, and roosters have been known to kill and eat venomous ones when necessary. Domesticated roosters are always on the lookout for predators that may be after chickens and their eggs, though sometimes a big snake will win, killing the chickens in a coop and eating the eggs they laid.
The snake in the video above is likely a king cobra, a species which lives mainly in the rain forests and plains of India, southern China, and Southeast Asia. In addition to eggs and birds, they will also eat lizards. All cobras are venomous, and the amount of neurotoxin in one of their bites is enough to kill 20 people. They are typically shy, but can be fierce when cornered (by a human or a rooster).
The relationship between roosters and snakes has made its way into mythology, as well. In some stories, the crowing of a rooster is fatal to the mythological snake known as a basilisk.