King Cobra

Ophiophagus hannah
King of Snakes

The King Cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, with a length up to 18.5 feet. This species is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and parts of India, and is found mostly in forested areas.

The King Cobra is fierce, agile, and can deliver a large quantity of potent venom in a single bite. One bite could potentially kill an elephant. It is one of the most dangerous and feared Asiatic snakes.

King Cobra’s genus name, Ophiophagus, literally means “snake-eater”, and its diet consists primarily of other snakes, including rat snakes, sizeable pythons and even other venomous snakes. King Cobras may also feed on other small vertebrates such as lizards, birds, and rodents.

Conservation Status: The King Cobra is distributed across South-east Asia, but is not common. Wild populations have dropped significantly in many areas of its range because of the destruction of forests, but despite this the snake is not listed by the IUCN as in danger of becoming extinct.

Did You Know?
If a King Cobra encounters a natural predator, such as the mongoose, which has some resistance to the bite, the snake tries to flee. If unable to do so, it forms the distinctive cobra hood and emits a high-pitched hiss, sometimes with feigned closed-mouth strikes. These efforts usually prove to be effective, especially since the King Cobra is more dangerous than other cobras.