National Geographic : 2001 Nov
ONE THAT ALMOST GOT AWAY Final Edit KING COBRA Kiss of Death "I know I have mastered the snake when I can touch it with my lips," Othman Ayib (above) told photographer Mattias Klum. Klum joined the snake charmer and naturalist at the Tok Snake Sanctuary in Langkawi, northwestern Malaysia, to see a recently captured king cobra that had been spotted on a golf course and would have been killed had Ayib not gone to its rescue. "When he let it out of the bag, it struck at everything that moved," says Klum. "But Othman had a way of calming it, slowly following its movements so he could reach out and caress its head. Finally he leaned in for the kiss." Klum photographed the scene lying on his stomach a few feet away. "That. was close enough," he says. "Neither of them offered me a kiss, and I didn't ask for one." NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * NOVEMBER 2001 You can send this picture as an electronic greeting card at nationalgeographic.com/ ngm/0111.