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Why did the Cobra cross the road?


Chinese Cobra (Naja atra)


Human activities have modified natural habitats in many ways. The most dramatic changes involve widespread degradation of entire areas, such as a shift from forest to agricultural use.


However, a more pervasive influence is the construction of linear open areas- roads, paths, walls, rail lines and catchwaters to name a few- through previously continuous habitat. These open areas differ to the surround area, such as sun penetration may modify floral composition.


Animals exhibit a wide range of behavioural responses to the environments provided by the altered habitat, some might outright avoid these open areas, and some- like this cobra, opted for a full-scale attempt to cross a road and catchwater to get to the forest.


Without my intervention (and disruption to photograph) the snake might of met its fate sooner than expected either by traffic or by drowning. Was observed to still attempt the previous trajectory and was given a helping hook over the catchwater. There are many ways we can help nature when encountered on the road. If it's safe for you, encourage it off the road in the direction they're heading. For animals that may cause harm, a long object such as a stick would be suitable. If unsure of the risk observe and try and encourage other road users to slow down to give the animal a chance.

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