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King Cobra Snake Facts

Updated on June 4, 2014

Some interesting facts about the King Cobra snake

The King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is an important part in the mythology and legends of the Far East. It has been used as a model for small statues, jewelry and decorating. Still prevails in Burma is a strange tradition, a young woman stands in front of a King Cobra snake and offers it milk in bowl. If the snake moves forward, she should kiss her on the head.

It is considered one of the most venomous snakes in the world. The snakes of this species can exceed 5.5 meters (18,5 ft) in length, making it the world's longest venomous snake. Males are larger and thicker than the females. This snake has a life expectancy of around 20 years. The King Cobra colors varies with their geographical range. From yellow and black in India to those that are blackish brown with white and ivory in China.

Scientific Classification

Scientific name: Ophiophagus hannah

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Serpentes

Family: Elapidae

Genus: Ophiophagus

Species: O. hannah

Some books on King Cobras

King Cobra - Habitat

The King Cobra lives in Southeast Asia, notably India, where it abounds and is revered in some places in China, Malaysia and the Philippines. They are well known for being the preferred species for the snake charmers of South Asia.

They are found near streams in both dense and open forests, as well as bamboo stands and agricultural areas, for instance, tea plantations. They also inhabit tropical mangrove swamps.

King Cobra - Habits

They are both good swimmers and climbers, spending a lot of time in the trees. King cobras hunt both in daylight and at night. However, like most snakes, is shy and avoids contact with humans and only if harassed becomes fiercely aggressive. When confronted, is able to raise a third of his body, getting the height of an adult human, and continuing to advance to the attack. Simultaneously, they form the hood and emit a creepy hissing sound.

They detect their prey using the forked tongue, sensing vibrations and keen eyesight. Due to their extremely slow metabolism, they can go months without eating, after ingesting a large prey.

King Cobra - Diet

Its scientific name, "Ophiophagus" literally means "snake eater". The basic food of the King Cobra are other snakes both venomous and non-venomous, however rodents, other reptiles, amphibians and birds are also included in their diet .

King Cobra - Reproduction

King cobra mating season runs from January to April. Prior to mating, male and female perform a kind of nuptial dance in which face each other with heads held high. At the time of laying, the female prepares a nest of leaves, grass and thin branches. it is dangerous to get near the nest at this time because the male is always on guard. This snake, lays an average of 24 eggs, and remains coiled on the eggs until they hatch, which may last between 60 and 80 days.

King Cobra - Venom

Despite not having the most potent venom (it as a lower toxicity than the majority of their relatives, the cobra), it has the ability to inoculate large quantities per bite, making it one of the most deadly snakes. In one bite it can inoculate up to 7 milliliters of its neurotoxic venom, enough to kill 20 people or even an elephant. A bite from this snake will bring in instant pain, blurred vision, vertigo and paralysis. Sometime after, cardiovascular and respiratory system will fail inducing coma and result in death.

King Cobra - Conservation status and major threats:

King cobra populations are dropping in some areas of its range, mostly because of the destruction of forests, but despite this, the snake is not listed by the IUCN as in danger of becoming extinct.

King Cobra video

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