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King Cobra Snakes

Khushnuma Irani
The King Cobra ranks among the world's longest venomous snakes. This post lists some interesting facts about this feared and misunderstood creature.
There exists a deep-set bias in the human psyche when it comes to snakes, and perhaps, all reptilian species. They are often associated with negative energies, are considered to bring ill-luck and misfortune. As sad as that is, most snakes, including the King Cobra are quite reclusive and shy, and go great lengths to avoid human contact. Curious to learn more? These facts ought to interest you.

Facts about King Cobras

  • The King Cobra, at 18.5 feet, is the world's longest venomous snake.
  • Its lifespan, on an average is 20 years.
  • A full-grown King Cobra can weigh up to 20 pounds.
  • It is either olive, yellowish olive or pale yellow. In India, one can find species that are yellow and black. Species found in China can be blackish brown, with white and ivory.
  • It is identified by its distinctive hood, which is visible when it flattens its neck, giving it a hood-like appearance.
  • Its venom is capable of killing a human being with a single bite; this is because the venom is neurotoxic.
  • The King Cobra is primarily found in Southeast Asia, Northern India, and Southeastern China. Is also found in the Malay Peninsula, western Indonesia, and in the Philippines.
  • It prefers to live close to water bodies like lakes and streams.
  • The population of this snake is dropping because of deforestation and other parts of its natural habitat.
  • It smells its prey using its forked tongue, which is what picks up the scent and transfers it to a special sensory receptor also called Jacobson's organ.
  • Prey tracking is also done through its sharp eyesight, and sensitivity to vibrations.
  • It will swallow its prey whole, this is convenient because of its extremely flexible jawbones which are connected by equally pliable ligaments.
  • The King Cobra mostly preys on and eats other snakes, either venomous or non-venomous. When it can't find snakes, it will rely on lizards, birds and other rodents.
  • It relies on its neurotoxic venom as a defense mechanism, but if it is faced by natural predators (which are resistant to its venom) they will try and flee. Or they will resort to forming the hood and hissing.
  • As a part of its mating ritual and while competing with other male King Cobras, the two snakes will compete to stay upright, and the winner is the one who keeps the other snakes head bowed. This is a gesture of dominance.
The venom of the King Cobra snake is made of proteins and polypeptides and it is neurotoxic. It attacks the nervous system instantaneous inducing pain, blurred vision, vertigo, drowsiness and paralysis. Coma and death follow due to cardiovascular and respiratory system failure.
  • The only antidote for King Cobra bites is manufactured in Thailand and India, these are not easily available and can be prone to shortage.
  • Though the King Cobra is considered to be the most dangerous snake, it is quite a reclusive and shy reptile. It will avoid confrontations as much as possible with humans. More deadly than the King Cobra are the Monocled Cobra, Russel's viper and Banded Krait.
  • This species actually make nests for their eggs. The female King Cobra will gather materials for the nest, construct it and then lay up to 50 eggs in the nest. Then she will incubate them for almost 80 days. The male King Cobra during this period will protect the female and the eggs till the eggs hatch.
  • The neonate King Cobras are almost 20 inches long with a black and white color when they hatch.