Even cobras should know better than to mess with a mother protecting her babies.
That maxim is proven once again in a two-minute video shared by the Kruger Sightings YouTube channel. In the clip, captured at South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a Cape cobra, which would be intimidating to many much larger mammals, including this human, is seen lunging at a Cape ground squirrel. While the squirrel understandably falls back a few feet, it doesn’t run off like this human would do in the face of a giant snake.
Instead, the determined squirrel bravely stands its ground, facing off against the large snake. It seems like the squirrel doesn’t stand a chance and even one of the camera operators can be heard commenting, “he’s not going to win against this.” The camera operator should have been referring to the snake. That’s because the squirrel was not a he, but a she—and she was a mother who wasn’t going to let any pesky old snake anywhere near her babies.
According to safari guide Dave Pusey, whose experience witnessing the fight of a lifetime is included in the caption to the YouTube video, the female squirrel most likely “had youngsters close by and just wanted the cobra to move away from the area.” As the battle stretched on for half an hour, the squirrel used some slick tricks to exhaust the snake, using its tail to distract the cobra, luring it to lunge, and then jumping away at the last minute.
Eventually, the snake was too tired to keep up the fight and found a hole to slither off, proving that the squirrel is one tough mother.