King Cobra

King Cobra
KING COBRA (Ophiophagus hannah)
Pronounced: O-fee-o-fay-jus ha-nu Order: Squamata
Kingdom: Animalia Family: Elapidae
Phylum: Chordata Genus: Ophiophagus
Class: Reptilia Species: hannah


Longest of the venomous snakes, the King Cobra can also stand up on 2/3 of its length, leaving 1/3 in the air while it continues to move. Since a King Cobra can grow up to 18 ft long – that means…6 ft of it can stand up – that’s taller than most people! If that’s not enough to intimidate you, it can flare out its neck into a hood with dark markings to make it look even bigger and scarier. Oh, and hiss loudly. If you still choose not to retreat, it can inject enough venom into you to kill an elephant! Its poison quickly paralyzes the nervous system and causes heart failure.

Hannah lives in the South Eastern Asian rainforest, in clearings, bamboo stands and around forest edges, as well as near rivers and swamps – as long as it is rainy, humid and around 95 degrees. Although they can grow to 18 feet, the norm is around 12 feet. They can weigh between 12 and 20 pounds.

They may be deadly, but King Cobras are also great parents. They are the only snake to build a nest and have both parents stay and guard their eggs there until they hatch. In the snake world, that would make them Parents of the Year! They lay 20 – 50 eggs which hatch in 70 – 77 days into young which are 12 – 25” long.

King Cobras can eat anything smaller (or roughly the same size) as they are – other snakes, lizards, frogs, and small mammals are examples. Their predators are humans, mongoose, and birds of prey. Their average lifespan is about 20 years.
King Cobras are deaf to ambient noises (noises that are heard through the air). However, they can feel through vibrations in the ground, so can still “hear” noises if they travel this way. Likewise, they don’t smell with a nose, but can taste smells through the air with their sensitive (forked) tongue.

The main danger to the conservation of King Cobras is habitat destruction caused by humans constructing roads and buildings on their native habitat.


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