King Cobra Facts
- The truly impressive King Cobra remains best known for one outstanding fact. That’s the amazing statistic that it ranks as the longest known species of venomous snake known to man. Despite its great length, however, it remains rather surprisingly light.
- The common name of this reptile creates a great deal of confusion, however, being very deceptive. That’s because, regardless of its other impressive attributes, it does not qualify as a true cobra. True cobras have decidedly different attributes.
- It nevertheless remains worthy of respect. In point of fact, this remarkable animal actually forms the sole member of its own genus. No other known species even comes close to its physical qualities. This fact alone also makes the snake of particular interest.
- This fascinating snake also remains worthy of being considered extremely dangerous to humans if provoked. This status holds true due to a combination of two factors. Those are the toxicity of its venom, and the sheer quantity of venom produced.
- For the moment, the IUCN lists the amazing King Cobra as Vulnerable. That status is reflected on the organization’s Red List. Habitat loss forms a grave peril, given its region, of course. It also faces the threat of climate change, like other species.
King Cobra Physical Description
Quite remarkably, the beautiful but deadly King Cobra averages about 13 ft (4 m) in length. Exceptional individuals, however, sometimes attain a length of a much as 18.5 ft (5.6 m). Both measurements far outdistance any other known venomous snakes, though.
Despite its great length, however, the extremely dangerous snake remains a relative lightweight reptile. Surprisingly, this reptile typically averages no more than 13 lb (6 kg) in weight. In point of fact, the heaviest King Cobra on record only weighed 26 lb (12 kg.).
In color, the fabulous reptile also typically presents either one of several distinct color patterns. This trait further separates it from most related creatures. These patterns include either an olive-green, tan or black, with yellow bands crossing the body along its length.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Elapidae
- Genus: Ophiophagus
- Species: O. hannah
King Cobra Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The mighty King Cobra evolved as endemic to the forest regions of Southeast Asia. This truly impressive range includes India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Within that range, individual specimens typically prefer to inhabit rather dense highland forests.
The fabulous creature also primarily preys on other snakes. However, most individuals will also consume small invertebrates. The King Cobra remains classified as diurnal, and primarily hunts during the day. During the night, it remains concealed, unless disturbed.
Despite its exaggerated reputation, this reptile isn’t typically aggressive unless provoked. When this happens, though, it will raise as much as one-third of its body length into the air. Subsequent to that, it will also flatten its head in preparation to strike.
This species also remains capable of delivering multiple envenomings in a single encounter. This further makes the incredible King Cobra stand out, since many, although certainly not all, other poisonous snakes lack this ability to repeatedly poison its victims.
In addition to its other unique attributes, it represents the only known snake that builds nests for its eggs. These it builds using dry leaves and twigs. One mating produces anywhere from 7-43 eggs. Those that survive to adulthood live an average of about 20 years.