20+ Interesting Facts About King Cobras

  1. King cobra is a venomous snake in the family “elapid.” They are endemic to forests, grasslands, and swamps in South and Southeast Asia.
  2. The king cobra is the sole member of its genus, not related to true cobras. This name is due to its diet of other snakes, including cobras.
  3. Several species of cobra snakes spit venom and are known as spitting cobras. King cobras do not have this ability.
  4. The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake. Its average length is 3-4 meters (approximately 10-13 feet), while the longest snake reached 5.71 meters (18.7 feet). Like other venomous snakes in the London Zoo, this potentially dangerous king cobra was killed after the start of World War 2. (Source)
  5. The primary diet of king cobras is other snakes, both venomous and non-venomous having a length of up to 10 feet. The king cobra can neutralize the venom of other snakes. Sometimes they eat rodents, lizards, and smaller king cobras.
  6. King cobras are unaggressive and usually avoid humans. It only strikes if cornered or to protect its eggs. In its entire range, the average number of human deaths from king cobra bites is less than five per year.
  7. King cobras are the priority of snake charmers in South Asia. They cannot hear the flute but move following the movement of the flute or charmer. 
    A snake charmer with two snakes
    Snake charmers in South Asia prefer king cobras

  8. King cobra does not have the most powerful venom among venomous snakes. However, the large amount of venom it delivers to a single victim is enough to kill an elephant or 20 humans. The neurotoxin in their venom can cause death due to respiratory arrest and cardiac failure.
  9. King cobra is the only elapid whose venom has hemorrhagic and protease (an enzyme that breaks proteins into amino acids) properties.
  10. King cobra is the only snake that builds a nest to protect its eggs. The female snake uses leaves and other plant materials for this purpose.
  11. Mongoose is the main predator of king cobras due to its natural resistance against snake venom, speed, and sharp bites. Birds of prey can also kill these snakes.
  12. Compared to many other snakes, the king cobra has a low-pitched hiss. It produces a sound similar to a dog’s growl.
  13. IUCN has declared king cobras vulnerable due to human activities. They face the risk of hunting for their meat, skin, and medicinal properties of venom. They also suffer from habitat destruction due to deforestation.
  14. In case of danger, the cobra tries to look bigger by raising its upper body. It also spreads the hood present below its head by expanding its ribs and adjacent muscles.
  15. Females are larger than males in around 66% of snake species. King cobras are different from many other snakes because males are bigger than females in this species.
  16. King cobras are famous as the most intelligent snakes. They are known so due to nest-building, distinguishing their handlers from other people in a zoo, and adopting different hunting methods according to the situation.
  17. The venom in king cobra contains a potent painkiller. Research is underway to use this venom for treating chronic pain.
  18. King cobra’s short fangs are attached to the upper jaw. Their inward angle assists the snake in pushing the prey toward the stomach.
  19. A female king cobra lays 20 to 50 eggs in a clutch. She guards the nest for around two months and leaves after hatching the eggs. The male cobra also remains nearby and guards the nest.
  20. Male cobras fight for mates. However, these fights are not fatal and end when a snake empowers the other and pushes its head to the ground.
  21. King cobras are worshipped as gods in India and Myanmar (Burma). There are also several myths associated with these reptiles. The most famous is their remembering of the human face and taking revenge if mistreated.
  22. The average lifespan of king cobras in the wild is 20 years. Their lifespan is almost the same in captivity.

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