King Cobra Facts
- First of all, the truly impressive King Cobra remains best known for one outstanding fact. That holds true because it ranks as the longest known species of venomous snake ever discovered by modern man. Despite its great length, however, it remains rather surprisingly light.
- But, the common name of this reptile creates confusion, being rather deceptive. That’s because, regardless of its other impressive attributes, it does not qualify as a true cobra. True cobras have decidedly different attributes.
- Most notably, this remarkable animal actually forms the sole member of its own distinct genus. In fact, no other known species even come close to its particular physical qualities. This fact alone makes the snake of particular interest.
- Finally, this fascinating snake also remains worthy of being considered extremely dangerous 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.
King Cobra Physical Description
Most notably, the rather beautiful but deadly King Cobra averages about 13 ft (4 m) in length. However, exceptional individuals sometimes attain a length of a much as 18.5 ft (5.6 m). Both measurements far outdistance any other known venomous snakes.
Yet, despite its great length, the extremely dangerous snake remains a relative lightweight. That’s because 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 addition, in color, the reptile also typically presents one of several distinct color patterns. This also 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 quite 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 is not typically aggressive unless provoked. When provoked 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.
In addition to its other unique attributes, it represents the only known snake that constructs nests for its eggs. These it builds using dry leaves and twigs. One mating produces anywhere from 7-43 eggs. Those individuals that survive to adulthood live an average of about 20 years.