Cryptid Profile: The Crowing Crested Cobra
Within the continent of Africa, there is said to be a large snake that hides among rock and boulder patches on the side of small mounds known as hillocks. The unknown reptile is believed to feast upon the abundance of Rock Hyraxes (a small mammal that resembles a guinea pig but is closely related to elephants and manatees) within the region and is considered to be extremely venomous to both animals and humans.
Thought to be able to grow to lengths of over 20ft, the Crowing Crested Cobra makes the deadly 9ft Black Mamba look tiny by comparison and ultimately ranks as one of the largest snakes in the world, just behind the Anaconda. Not completely satisfied with striking fear into just about anyone who ventures into large fields littered with rocks and boulders, the snake is occasionally sighted high in the branches of trees of the area as well. The slithering serpent is said to lay dormant on a branch until anything that it deems worthy of being a meal walks underneath. Once the soon to be meal is within range, the snake shoots downward with fangs exposed and delivers a fatal dose of venom with just one bite. The unfortunate victim is dead within seconds.
So what is so special about this deadly snake that resides in Africa? Besides its potent venom and enormous size, the snake is also said to possess a brownish-black skin tone, a bright red face, a red bony coxcomb, and facial wattles like that of a rooster. Oh yeah, it is also able to crow, again just like a rooster.
To clarify, only the males of this species of snake are said to sound exactly like a rooster crowing in the morning, the females are said to sound more like a clucking hen. Both male and female are said to be able to produce the same warning sound which resembles a deep, low clicking noise. This sound is emitted whenever someone or something ventures too close to their den and the warning is heard for only a few seconds before the snake lets out its specific cry and strikes. After reading about this snakes unique features, there is no way it could be a real creature. It is way too unbelievable, right? Don’t be so sure just yet.
In 1944, a local witch doctor by the name of J. O. Shircore published an article in the paper on the unique features of an unknown snake skeleton that he had in his possession at the time. The skeleton possessed remnants of a five boned coxcomb that still had bits of red flesh attached to it, as well as the exact same kind of rib bones found within the flexible hoods of normal cobras. Originally played off as a genetic abnormality and nothing more, Shircore vowed the creature was anything but a rare fluke. A few years later, Shircore would be presented with two additional snake skeletons that also possessed bony coxcombs, preserved flesh, and cobra hood rib bones. Sadly the skeletons were never taken seriously and were eventually lost after never having been thoroughly studied.
Nearly 15yrs later in May of 1959, a new report of a Crowing Crested Cobra would come to light and spark interested in the snake once again. A man by the name of John Knott was said to be driving back to his home when he encountered a large snake crossing the road in front of him. Unable to stop, Mr. Knott ran over the large creature and killed it. Intrigued by the strange creature he had just witnessed, Mr. Knott got out of his car and walked over to the body of the dead reptile before him and studied it closely. He described seeing the body of a snake that was nearly 7ft long, was black in color, and possessed a red crest upon its head which appeared to have five spikes within it. Having satisfied his curiosity, he left the body where it rested in the dirt and returned home.
So what is the Crowing Crested Cobra? Is it really an unknown snake that sounds like a rooster/hen? More than likely not. Many researchers believe in the theory of misidentification during ecdysis. Basically, this means that the misidentification happens while a snake is shedding its skin. Some people feel that back in the day, a snake (or snakes) which was in the process of shedding the skin on its head, was seen while remnants of the old skin still remained attached. This gave the illusion that the snake had a head crest or coxcomb. Combine that with the fear that some get when they see a snake in general, and you have a new even deadlier creature to be afraid of. But what about the reported crowing sounds the snake is said to make? Some researchers believe that what some witnesses of this snake were actually hearing were the sounds made by a dying animal as it was being attacked and eaten by an unseen snake, quite possibly a Black Mamba, a Gaboon Viper, or a Rhinoceros Viper.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google