Cobra information and facts:
Average lifespan in the wild: 20 years
Size: 13 ft (4 m)
Weight: Up to 20 lbs (9 kg)
Group name: Quiver
Did you know? Synthetic cobra venom is used in pain relievers and arthritis medication.
- The king cobra is a snake respected above all others, and for good reason. It is by far the largest venomous snake in the world, packs enough venom to kill an Asian elephant with a single bite to the trunk, and possesses a rare intelligence that scientists are only beginning to understand.
What does a King cobra look like?
The skin of this snake is either olive-green, tan, or black and it has faint, pale yellow cross bands down the length of the body. The belly is cream or pale yellow, and the scales are smooth. The male is larger and thicker than the female. The average lifespan of a King Cobra is about 20 years.
Where do King cobras live?
The king cobra ranges far and wide throughout tropical Asia. It's found in India, southern China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, where it reaches record lengths. It prefers habitats with dense undergrowth and heavy rainfall, such as rain forests and mangrove swamps. In southern India, where herpetologist Romulus Whitaker has set up the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station and plans to establish the world's first king cobra sanctuary, it inhabits the endangered montane rain forests of the Western Ghats.
What does a King cobra eat?
Its diet consists primarily of other snakes, including rat snakes, sizeable pythons and even other venomous snakes. When food is scarce, King Cobras may also feed on other small vertebrates such as lizards, birds, and rodents. After a large meal the snake may live for many months without another one because of its slow metabolic rate.
What sound does a King cobra make?
While most snakes hiss, the king cobra lets out a growling moan. This lets intruders or potential predators know that the snake is perturbed and ready to strike. To make the sound, the king cobra fills its lungs with air, and then quickly constricts its body. This forces the air through the glottis, the space between the vocal cords, resulting in a long moan, which some say resembles a dog's growl.
What length can a King cobra reach?
King cobras can reach 18 feet (5.5 meters) in length, making them the longest of all venomous snakes. When confronted, they can raise up to one-third of their bodies straight off the ground and still move forward to attack. They will also flare out their iconic hoods and emit a bone-chilling hiss that sounds almost like a growling dog.