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Interesting Facts About The King Cobra

Updated on May 23, 2013

The king cobra also known as Ophiphagus hannah is the world's largest venomous snake. It is commonly found in India, Indonesia, Vietnam Malaysia and the Philippines. An average length of king cobra ranges between 3-4 meters and weighs 6kg although record has it for the longest king cobra measuring up to 5.8 meters and weighing up to 12kg. The difference in length and weight depends on the location where they are found. They can be found in different colors i.e. black, brown and olive green with either a white or pale yellow band across it length. They have an expandable head that allows it to swallow its prey. Below is a brief description of the most interesting facts you need to know about king cobra.

Geographical location

They are commonly found in the rainforest of countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, India, China (although they are rare), the Philippines, Burma, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Life span- An average cobra can live up to 20 years or even more. This long lifespan is attributed to the fact that it has mongoose and human as the only predators.

In some cultures king cobra is treated with a lot of respect. Its images are found in the entrance of many Buddhist and Hindu temples. The snake is also associated with other deities believed to bring blessings such as rain. Recently there has been environmental concern over some cultures which are seen as a threat to the snake. In such cases the king cobra snake is hunted from it natural environment in large numbers the fangs are removed and then force to drink milk.


They are very shy and usually avoid confrontation with human by escaping, however they can be very aggressive if threatened or provoked. It defends itself by raising a third of its body, making forward or backward movement as it exposes it fangs while producing hissing sound. In addition, they are very intelligent and this ability allows them to avoid dangerous environment.


King cobra snake has a poor sense of hearing; although it can pick ground vibration very well. In addition it has a very sensitive organ (Jacobson organ), and a forked tongue that allows it to picks the sense of smell and use it to detect presence of prey. Moreover, it can see very well at night and spot its prey moving 100 meters away.

Although there are other species of cobra that are more poisonous than king cobra, they can inject a large amount of neurotoxin from just a single bite enough to kill at least 20 people or an adult elephant. The young ones are equally dangerous since they can produce as much venom as the adult. The venom affects the nervous system and death usually occurs due to breathing difficulties, however they will not attack unless stumbled or threatened. Its venom doesn't affect mongoose which makes it easier for it to attack and kill the king with ease


Its meal consists of eggs, frogs, toads, fish, the rat snake, small python snake, and other species of cobra including its own kind. It is also known of devouring krait which the world's most poisonous snake. It has expandable jaws that allow that allows it to swallow its prey as whole. In addition, it has a very slow metabolism and can stay up to a month after a single meal. They will resort to eating small preys such as lizard when there is scarcity of food. Its meal of rat snake makes it to be found close to human habitat in search of the rodent.



This is the only snake of its own kind that makes nest on the ground for laying eggs the same way as birds do on top of trees. The nest is made up of leaves and sticks into a mound where she deposits her egg. The female lays approximately 20-40 eggs on the nest and covers them at an average temperature of about 280C until they hatch. The nest is protected by both male and female from intruders, although the female will move away once the eggs have hatched so as to avoiding eating the young ones. Both male and the female cobra guard their eggs and one is usually left behind to guard the eggs during hunting.

Cobra vs. Mongoose


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  • gavindonst profile image

    gavindonst 4 years ago

    Thanks for this expert feedback!

  • ChristopherJRex profile image

    ChristopherJRex 4 years ago from Fort Wayne, IN

    As this article was a nice summary of random King Cobra (scientific name being “Ophiophagus hannah,” not “Ophiphagus hanah”) facts, I won’t be too harsh in my critique (since this was not meant for experts), but I would like to illuminate a few important points. Let’s begin by making a distinction between “poisonous” and “venomous.” Poisonous creatures can make you sick upon being consumed while venomous creatures can cause suffering via a sting or bite. Since you can safely consume a King Cobra, they are not “poisonous.” Secondly, with regard to the “largest” venomous snake in the world, the King Cobra is the longest, with the Gaboon Viper being the heaviest. Specificity is key.

    When considering which snake is the world’s “most venomous,” we have to keep in mind that it is a very complicated question when a specific context is not provided. The context I believe you are referring to is the snake with the most toxic venom (as measured by LD50 values in mice), which happens to be the Inland Taipan (with an LD50 of 0.01 mg/kg), with venom that is over 10 times more toxic (drop for drop) than any species of sea snake/krait. In addition, venom gland size is directly correlated with the snake’s body size, becoming much larger in adult snakes. For example, in Prairie Rattlesnakes, a newborn may only produce a yield of 5 ul (microliters), but a large adult can produce 500 ul, having 100x more venom than the neonate. Adult snakes of most venomous snake species are much more dangerous to humans than neonates because of their potential for injecting a significantly larger bolus of venom.

    If you desire more details on any of this snake-related information, you may take a look at some of my snake hubs. Good luck on your future hubs!