Snake Versus Eagle

Sambath Subbaiah's Image

When a short-toed snake-eagle flew past and swooped upon an Indian rat snake, Sambath thought the action would be over in seconds. Yet the snake fought back. ‘It coiled all over the eagle,’ he explains. ‘At one point, I thought it might escape.’ Through his open car window, Sambath captured the animals, eyes locked, in combat.

This large eagle, its wings spanning over 1.5 metres, is a proficient hunter of reptiles. It slices up and feasts on snakes – a valuable source of food in arid landscapes. While the bird mostly hunts non-poisonous snakes, such as the rat snake, it can also kill venomous ones. Occasionally, it preys on small mammals, too.

Behind the lens

Sambath Subbaiah

Sambath Subbaiah


Sambath is a nature photographer based in Tamil Nadu, India. He likes to photograph wildlife, especially birds in their natural habitat. His passion has seen him travel across India and other parts of the world. Sambath's objective is to bring the wonderful avian world to a broader audience and thus help in its conservation. His work has been published internationally.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • 600mm f4 lens
  • 1/400 sec at f6.3  •   ISO 2000
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