An image and accompanying story allegedly shows a snake guarding two puppies who fell into an empty well in India.
The images appear to be real, but there is a lack of corroborating evidence to confirm the story.
Let’s first take a look at a caption commonly circulated with these images:
The incident occurred in the Indian state of Punjab. Two puppies fell into a well. Their mother ran near the well and started barking, and attracted the attention of the owner, who looked inside and to his surprise there was a king cobra at the bottom, which didn’t pose any threat to the puppies. Moreover, the reptile, looked after the puppies, by not allowing them to cross to the other side, where they could possibly drown, when the well is filled with water.
In general, they spent around 48 hours together at the bottom and in these 48 hours the cobra sat quietly next to them. When help finally arrived from the forest department, the cobra slithered to the other end of the well. The puppies were not injured at all and the reptile was immediately taken into the woods and was released into the wild.
Even the most deadly and dangerous creatures on earth know what Co-existence and mutual assistance is. The human race is in this respect far behind, and this is our biggest drawback.
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While the story above has a warm and fuzzy conclusion, there is no evidence present to corroborate the claims it makes. Even if the details regarding the puppies falling into the well are all true, we still can’t be sure of the snake’s intent in such a situation. Was the snake guarding them, or simply in a defensive posture against two creatures too big to eat?
Some versions do not contain the “Don’t forget to like and share” portion, but we have included it to point out that some Facebook page admins often post images like this for the sole reason of collecting more likes for their pages.
We reached out to the Wandering Herpetologist for an expert opinion of the photo. Founder Sara E. Viernum took a look at the image and provided the following comment:
The snake most likely tolerated the puppies instead of actually guarding and protecting them. King cobras feed on snakes and not mammals, their genus name Ophiophagus means snake-eater, and it would not see the puppies as tasty prey. The snake most likely didn’t see the puppies as predators either and therefore just tolerated them since it wasn’t interested in eating them and wasn’t threatened by them. As for the snake keeping the puppies out of the water, when the puppies moved around it probably caused the snake to become agitated and it in turn moved around to keep an eye on the puppies. Although they may not have been predators to the snake they are still a unknown organism that warrants caution. Even though the snake’s behavior may have been misunderstood it’s nice to know the snake was not injured or killed by the humans rescuing the puppies.
It is entirely possible that the snake and puppies were trapped at the bottom of the well together, as the images depict. However, it is impossible to know the intent of the animals. It would be nice to think that such a story is true, but most likely the animals merely “tolerated” each other during their ordeal.
Updated October, 29 2015
Originally published April 2013