Vikram Ramesh

A Life in the day of a Snake Eagle

A Short Toed Snake Eagle is a resident of most parts of the Indian Subcontinent. It is more popularly known as ‘The Snake Slayer’. It preys on reptiles, mainly snakes. It spots its prey either by hovering at a great height or by watching from a nearby vantage point such as a tall tree. Once the prey is spotted, it swoops down in a quick swift and surprises the prey. It usually lands on the snake’s tail, making it immobile and then attacking its head.

On this particular day, i was driving through a grassland when i found the Eagle sitting on top of a tree. Waiting for its prey, with those watchful eyes. Hoping that it would make a hunt in front of me, I tucked my car away behind a bush, out of its sight. After about 30 minutes, the Eagle took off from its perch and landed in front of a nearby tree. Quickly, i took my Binoculars out to check if it had landed on a rat snake.

To my surprise, it had not landed on the snake but just beside it. The Eagle was blocking the Snake’s exit paths. In anticipation of a duel between the two, I slowly took my camera out and waited. The Eagle and the Snake were still in front of each other. The Snake had no choice but to confront the Eagle. The Eagle jumped off the ground and tried to land on the Snake. *Click* *Click* *Click* . The Snake was not in any mood to give up and it kept dodging the Eagle. The Eagle tried attacking the Snake many times but was not successful and it finally gave up. The Snake lived its day.

The Eagle was however not done for the day. After about 20 minutes, it spotted another snake and this time, it was a successful hunt. In the end, there was a clear winner for the day. Nature.