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King Cobra

Updated on February 26, 2016

Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah

Author  Hari Prasad
Author Hari Prasad


The King Cobra is certainly one of the most aggressive and deadly snakes in the world. They have venom that is powerful and they often strike many times instead of biting only once. Of all the Cobra species this is the one that is the longest and the one with the strongest venom.

The largest of these snakes are known to be about 18 ½ inches. However, the typical size you will find them is about 12 inches. The males are about 1 foot longer than the females. They are also wider around the middle part of the body. They have strong bodies and they have a very wide head. The average weight for an adult King Cobra is 13 pounds.

Many people underestimate how fast this particular snake is. The larger size of it may give the impression that it can’t do much. However, they are able to move quickly and they have amazing agility. Most people assume that all of them  are olive in color and most are. However, they can also be gray, black or tan. It depends on their location and the habitat around them.

They have various colorations on the body that will allow them to nicely blend in. This can include rings of black, brown, and tan of various sizes. They have a distinct yellow coloration of bands that are on the top of the head and run down the body. They also have a yellow or cream color along the smooth scales of the belly.

The combination of size, fierce appearance, and the deadly weapon paint a strong picture of a type of snake that people want to stay away from. The King Cobra also has very long and sharp fangs that can be very scary to see up close and personal!


Many people are creeped out by the extremely long tongue of the King Cobra too. It longer than any other species of snake. At the same time though it allows them to use their senses very well. They have the ability to collect smell on their tongue and then use receptors in the mouth to determine if it is food, a threat, or if the surroundings are safe.

Prey really has no chance due to the powerful venom of this species of snake. They are also believed to be able to see up to 300 feet away so even predators not very close to them are at risk. This type of vision is uncommon among snakes and it is believed to be one of the attributes that allows the King Cobra to thrive as it does.

Habitat and Distribution

India and Asia are home to the King Cobra and they tend to stick to the thicker areas of the forests. They can be very hard to find due to the thick foliage there that blends in so well with their overall coloring. Being in those forest areas can result in humans being bitten. There are plenty of types of jobs that occur around those areas and people that need a job have to be willing to take risk of coming into contact with such as difficult species of snake.

They have been found in locations that were never inhabited before by them. This is due to the shift from their usual habitat. The efforts of humans relating to construction, farming, and other movements tend to make the King Cobra relocate to places where they can find food and shelter without constant disruption.

King Cobra Video

Diet and Feeding Habits

When the King Cobra catches prey it will inject the strong venom. It doesn’t take long at all before the prey can’t move. They may have to strike several times with the larger prey to immobilize them. They have jaws that can open to swallow everything whole. The process of digestion can take days, weeks, or months depending on the size of what they eat. Most of the time hunting occurs at night but this snake has been seen feeding during daylight hours from time to time.


Males find the females that are ready to make by picking up the smells they emit. They males will try to mate but ultimately the decision is up to the female. She is going to be more aggressive during this courtship period than any other time of the year. Once mating has been completed she will deposit as many as 40 eggs.

She will watch the eggs and try to make sure that predators leave them alone. However, she will be very hungry by the time that they start to emerge. Instinct will take over for her and as the young emerge she will go find food for herself. They will be gone by the time she returns.

The young are very vulnerable and they make great meals for various predators. Only a couple of these young King Cobras will survive in the wild long enough to become mature adults.

Photo taken by TimVickers
Photo taken by TimVickers


In the wild the Mongoose will eagerly consume the King Cobra snake. They often will eat the younger ones though and bypass the older ones. They will also consume the eggs if the mother doesn’t well protect them. Birds such as the Eagle and the Hawk are also known to consume the young after they emerge from the eggs.

The efforts of humans though are what is the biggest issue for Humans.  The destruction of their habitat is a big part of why humans can be a problem for them. The more that humans do in regards to destroying such habitat though the more they are coming into contact with this snake in the wild.

Even though this is a very dangerous type of snake many people out there continue to want one for a pet. They will pay for it illegally if they have to on the black market. Since these snakes are illegal to have in many places that is the only way to get one. However, owning one of them is a huge responsibility.

King Cobra Quick Facts

Venomous Bite or Danger to Humans

The King Cobra is nothing to mock about as it is considered to be one of the most dangerous snakes found in the world. The bite from one is going to be very painful. They usually will advance with many strikes too, so it won’t be just one bite that is present. They are very fast and can bite repeatedly in a matter of seconds.

They can also strike a person that is standing as far away from them as 7 feet. The venom is very powerful so it will quickly start to spread through the body. Immediately medical care is very important. This can help to reduce the chances of a serious infection occurring in the body.

When someone does die from a King Cobra bite it is the spread of infection that is going to cause it. In areas where this snake is found there is an anti venom on hand at most medical facilities. It is very important to be able to identify the type of snake so know what this one looks like. You can’t take just any anti venom product, it has to be for the right type of snake that injected it.


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  • profile image

    peter 5 years ago

    most informatin about king cobras I ever seen.

  • profile image

    devil 6 years ago

    its human snake

  • profile image

    nani 6 years ago

    kobras gradually decreasing now

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    A wonderful, well written hub. Thank you for your hard work of research.