A six-foot-long cobra spat out a rat snake in front of people as it was being rescued by a reptile catcher.

The incident took place in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. A few residents saw the cobra swallowing a snake in a drain and immediately called the snake catcher.

By the time the snake catcher arrived, the reptile had become immobile after consuming its prey and had got stuck in a hole.

The snake catcher, 36-year-old Selvan, arrived at the scene within 30 minutes and caught the reptile using a stick. While he was rescuing the cobra, the snake started spitting out its prey, which was a 4-foot-long rat snake.

"I reached in 30 minutes and found a six-foot-long cobra stuck in a four-inch hole in the drain. The security guards said they saw the cobra swallowing a snake. The mobility of a snake will be affected after swallowing its prey. The bigger the prey, the tougher the mobility," the snake catcher told The Times of India.

"I caught the cobra using a stick. When I rescued, the cobra started spitting out its dead prey. Cobra and swallowed a four-and-a-half-foot rat snake," he added.

Selvan said he will be releasing the cobra into the wild along with other snakes he had rescued in the last two days.

Cobras are one of the big four highly venomous snake species that are responsible for most snakebites on humans in India. The three known species of Cobra Snakes found in India are Spectacled Cobra, Monocled Cobra and King Cobra. The world’s largest venomous snake is the King Cobra that preys chiefly on other snakes and can grow up to 18 feet.

In a bizarre incident last week, a 65-year-old man in the Indian state of Bihar, who was bitten by a snake on the snake, bit the reptile back to take revenge and succumbed the following day. The drunk man sank his teeth into the venomous baby krait snake, killing the reptile.

A Krabi Pitakpracha Foundation snake handler holds the four-metre (13 feet) king cobra he pulled from a sewer in southern Thailand
Representational image of a king cobra KRABI PITAKPRACHA FOUNDATION / Handout