There is an eerie silence at the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park in Kannur these days. 

The visitors are completely kept away from coming near a particular enclosure there. The zoo is waiting to witness a rare occasion. 

 The resident of this enclosure, a mighty King Cobra, is busy making her nest!  Zzzz! She needs some privacy. 

The only ones allowed near the enclosure are the zoo keepers who put dry leaves inside so that the female Cobra does not run out of leaves to build the nest. The nest is already two feet high, and the male Cobras were shifted to another cage. 

Though no one witnessed the mating of the cobras, judging by the female’s haste in making the nest, the zoo authorities now assume that the mating had indeed taken place. 

A King cobra breeding centre was started at the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park-Mini Zoo on World Wildlife Day in March this year, and a female cobra was brought here for breeding in an artificial habitat. This was followed by a two-week long battle between two males to win over the female. Then the zoo was buzzing with the camera crew from the National Geographic Television and the Discovery Channel, who camped there to capture the whole mating ritual. 

Though no one witnessed the mating of the cobras, judging by the female’s haste in making the nest, the zoo authorities now assume that the mating had indeed taken place. 

The King Cobra is the only type of snake on the planet to build a nest for laying eggs, and it builds the nest by collecting leaves, weeds, and rotting vegetation. The snake lays 20 to 50 eggs at a time, and once laid, the eggs are all tucked in one place. She covers them with more leaves and then rests on top of the pile to protect the eggs. Usually, it takes 70 to 80 days for the eggs to hatch. 

The first successful instance of captive breeding of King Cobra in the country was reported from Dr. Shivarama Karanth Biological Park, Pilikula Nisarga Dhama near Mangalore in 2011. The Central Zoo Authority gave permission to breed the reptile in captivity in November 2007.