King cobra

King cobra and his venom

King cobra

Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah
English name: King Cobra
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Elapidae
Link to Red List page: Red List Page of King Cobra

IUCN red list classification as vulnerable

Where to find

He’s present in the north of India, South-east Asia, and East Asia.


His habitat has as characteristic the presence of water. So he likes the forests in areas with lakes and rivers or streams.


King cobra on average is around 3 meters long. But he can reach the length of 5 or more meters. He’s the longest venomous snake.


King Cobra
CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

King cobra behavior is very different from other snakes, his diet consists of cold blood animals. He hunts and eats prevalently other snakes, his scientific name Ophiophagus is meaning snake eaters. In case of necessity, he becomes even cannibal.

In spring the female lay around 40 eggs and stay with them all the incubation time. Even the male remain around to defend the eggs. when the eggs hatch the mother and father leave, otherwise probably they eat the babies.

Differently, from other snakes, he is diurnal. He doesn’t love the inhabited areas and he lives prevalently in the forests. Anyway, he visits the towns but to encounter him is unusual, he is a very discrete animal.


He is famous as a killer but is a not justified fame. In fact, when he meets human he doesn’t search the fight. Like even Mamba, he advises you to go before the attack. Usually, he stands up to one meter and he opens the muscles below the head, then he emits a hiss in low frequency. Anyway, if he feel manaced he doesn’t hesitate to attack. The attack is rapid and he can bite more times.

The venom is a neurotoxin, it is powerful but not the more powerful. The real danger is the quantity injected into the victim. Up to 7 ml, it is a huge quantity and it is enough to kill an elephant in few hours.

In conclusion the major risk

The major risk is the destruction of the forests, his natural habitat. In fact, the habitat destruction is pushing him to visit more frequently the urban areas because of the missing prey.

The other risk is the capture and introduction in the pet market.

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