Lifescapes Gallery

24 / Feb / 2010
Tea and Snakes served here!
Short-toed Snake Eagle, Kabini Photograph: Kiran Poonacha Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

Tea and Snakes served here!

If you’ve ever wandered off the urban jungle into the hinterland of India, chances are you’d have been assailed with sign boards and menus that shocked the palate and tickled the funny bone, albeit inadvertently. Pride of place probably goes to the all too common boards outside wayside eating joints with signs reading, ‘Tea and Snakes.’ While the sign writer has obviously made a meal (or snack) of the Queen’s language, he might be celebrated for getting it right if his client happened to ply his trade in Kabini. For here, where the customer is often short-toed and yellow-eyed, the snacks are quite literally snakes. In fact, even the main meals are snakes, with the odd side order of lizard, frog and rat. While smaller snakes and reptiles are swallowed up whole, they’re far from wholesome. The Short-toed Snake Eagle of Kabini prefers a more substantial repast of Rat Snakes and Keelbacks, and, when in an adventurous mood, the occasional Cobra or Saw-scaled Viper. He spends most of his time on the wing, soaring over the biosphere, keeping a keen lookout lest a tasty morsel slither by. And when he does spot a likely looking meal, he swoops down silently to issue a challenge. It’s usually an unequal battle between the diner and his dinner, and after putting his sharp talons and beak to good use, the eagle settles down to a well deserved meal. While not usually loquacious, he has been known to let out an appreciative whistle or two after a particularly satisfying dinner. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, and are invited to meet a resident raptor over a convivial cup of tea, please don’t forget one thing. Bring your own snacks.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 10:00 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Vinod Kumar VK says:

    This is a World Class image captured by Kiran!! Such an wonderful moment..So great image forever!!

  2. sowmya says:

    awe!!!! fantabulous…no words to say actually…!!!

  3. Japit says:

    don’t find word for amazing work.

  4. Awanish says:

    Snakey indeed…

  5. digvija says:

    Jose saar , I am still amazed at the consistently sharp writing….good for you Rajesh saar…..of the the photograph is outstanding!!!

  6. Benjamin Samuel says:

    Exquisite photography and as usual a decorous writeup by Rajesh.

  7. dev says:

    Excellent, after this article. I feel like booking tickets to your place. Well done

  8. satya says:

    outstanding. i didn’t believe it when u told me that it was an eagle.i thought it was an owl.till i saw the close up.terrific photography.keep it up

  9. Rajiv Lall says:

    Excellent photograph. I recollect while we enjoyed our boat safari at Kabini in June 2009 our guide was akeen photographer.
    We sighted a white headed eagle on an island, wonder if this is the same bird.
    Usually pictures posted on your site are wild life enthuist’s delight.

  10. Achayya Mukatira says:

    Great shot, keep it up!

  11. mahesh.p says:

    JAI HO

  12. Diwakaran Nair says:

    What a beautiful bird? If u didnt tell me it was an Eagle, I would have thought it was an Owl (except for the legs and talons). And, as usual, a story told so lightly yet informatively, and brings a smile to the face.
    Great Job Mr. Kiran and Mr Rajesh

  13. christina k. says:

    thank you once again for the picture and most important the note below the same. beautiful, so much of effort and passion. thanks a lot.

  14. Arvind says:


  15. neera dhawan says:

    Kabini is the place up on the way to or after Mysore ryt??

    Lovely narration ..thnx.

  16. B.S.Raghavan, IAS says:

    My deep appreciation for the excellent commentaries. I would be interested to know the identity of the author(s) of these notes so as to convey my sincere congratulations.

    • Jose Ramapuram, Director - Marketing, Orange County Resorts says:

      Dear Sir,
      The entire Lifescapes team is delighted by the overwhelming appreciation shown by our readers. We once again reiterate that it is your positive comments that motivate us to raise the bar in terms of quality of content. Answering yours and Mr Rajesh Rajoo’s question – Rajesh Ramaswamy, a good friend of Orange County, is the one and only author of Lifescapes. His profile can be viewed at

  17. priya shaikh says:

    Beautiful catch … pun intended for the diner and the photographer Kiran 🙂

    Love the way you have shared this beautiful reality of nature in such a light and humorous way.

  18. Jayadev Tenginakai says:

    I would like to appreciate the efforts put in by the team who are working on making the photographs reaching us. Selection of photographs and the information bundled along with it is really great.
    This is making a difference with your existing customers. Please keep this activity continued…..
    Thanks and Regards,
    Jayadev T

  19. Rajesh Rajoo says:

    I love, simply love reading your mailers. And believe me, I’m not one to read mailers. WHO WRITES THESE WONDERFUL PIECES? PLEASE THANK THE WRITER FOR ME. I wish I were out there at Orange County myself, right now. Wonderful writing indeed!

  20. B Ramagopal says:

    Yet another beautiful shot & write up as well.

  21. Lata Krishnamurti says:

    I have decided where I want to be next Christmas after seeing that spectacular shot!

  22. Devanand says:

    “If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, and are invited to meet a resident raptor over a convivial cup of tea, please don’t forget one thing. Bring your own snacks.” What an apt and brilliant ending to a deliciously witty (burp!) article! I lol as usual, Mr Rajesh. Pic is fantastic too.

  23. Teekay says:

    A nice shot and a complementing description..

    Jus loved it!

    Someday or the other, I am gonna make a visit 😉

  24. Revathy Uthaiah Chottekalapanda says:

    Amazing photograph!

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