A viral online video re-emerged Friday of a man calmly and dutifully cleaning out a cobra pit. The worker was recorded picking up and tossing several of the serpents aside to sweep up the assortment of things that were resting underneath them.
The incident reportedly took place at a zoo in Southeast Asia. Although the footage first appeared in 2011, it returned to make rounds on the internet.
The worker was in a small pit surrounded by hundreds of dark black cobras. He wore red flip-flops, navy shorts and a plain white t-shirt as he entered the pit with a broom in hand.
He completed his cleaning tasks with ease, even as two of the snakes appeared to have bucked at him. The zoo worker didn’t flinch once, and instead, grabbed one of the snakes that attempted to pounce him by its neck and tossed it to the other side of the concrete pit.
Most of the snakes seemed to stare at him in awe, conveying what one YouTube commenter alleged of the incident, saying: “the cobras probably think this dude is crazy…that’s why they’re staying away from him.”
The worker was able to adequately sweep up eggs, feces and dried snakeskin after moving the cobras to the other side of the pit.
Cobras are primarily found in Africa, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. Many of these snakes either posses hoods or the ability to lift the upper portion of their body. There is, however, a debate over what defines a true cobra. The number of cobra species ranges between 28 and nearly 270, but this depends on what is used to define the snake as a cobra.
“The name cobra references several species of snakes, most of which are in the venomous snake family Elapidae,” Sara Viernum, a herpetologist, told Live Science in 2014. “Elpididae includes other snakes like coral snakes, kraits and mambas.”
The cobra’s most distinctive behavioral displays include its defense mechanisms. Hooding, hissing and the raising of its upper body are defense methods used by the serpent. Most cobras have the ability to stand approximately as tall as a third of their overall body length.
Only select species of cobras have the ability to spit venom at its enemies through its fangs. The king cobra, known scientifically as Ophiophagus hannah, is considered to be one of the most popular venomous snakes worldwide. This cobra variety has the ability to eat other large snakes.
A man remained calm as he cleaned out a tiny pit surrounded with cobras, pictured March 25, 2006 is a cobra in Abu Rawwash, Egypt.Photo: Getty Images