The king cobra is a fascinating and mysterious creature. A venomous snake with a distinctive adaptation, the hood that gives it its name. Learn more about these beautiful animals with this list of king cobra facts and expand your knowledge.
King cobra is not a real cobra
True cobra’s belong to the genus Naja, this grouping encompasses many species of snakes all considered similar. They are primarily of African decent though you can see a handful of species through southeast Asia. King cobras share many features and traits with true cobra’s, but they’re actually members of their own genus that they share with no other species of snake. This genus is called Ophiophagu. They’re primarily of southeast Asian decent and get much larger. The name king cobra is not meant to lump it in with the true cobra’s. It actually stems from the fact that it’s hooded like the others, but is cannibalistic and often eats its southeast Asian cobra cousins. This gives the illusion of him being above them so to speak.
The king cobra is the longest of all venomous snakes
The king cobra is known for it’s massive size in comparison to other venomous snakes. As an example, the second longest venomous snake in the world is the black mamba. A native to Africa. It tops out at about 14ft. A terrifying size for such a capable predator. But, it pales in comparison to the mighty king cobra. This massive creature tops off at a whopping 18ft. Can you imagine being in presence of something so impressive! It’s no wonder it’s known as the king.
Their biggest predator is the Mongoose
The mongoose is an interesting predator in that it actively hunts venomous snakes for its food source. Evolution has given these spunky little mammals an upper-hand in their endeavor. The mongoose has resistance against venom. It would have to be bitten multiple times to be affected. In the meanwhile, the mongooses speed and agility can help it to crack the king cobras skull with a single well placed bite. It usually begins by circling the snake, checking for weaknesses and openings before finally making its move so as to decrease the likelihood of being struck. A worthy opponent for this majestic serpent.
King cobras are the only snakes that build nests for their young
Most snakes lay their eggs somewhere they deem safe and curl up on top of them. They don’t change their environment in anyway to do so. The king cobra on the other hand is very focused on keeping their eggs safe from predators. The expecting mother takes nearby leaf litter, weeds, and sticks and pushes it all together to make a mound of debris. She then lays the eggs and places more debris on top of them, just in case. Once all the hard work is done she can relax and just sit on top of her newly made nest waiting. Oftentimes the leaf litter helps with camouflage as well, keeping both mother and babies safe.
King cobra’s live a long time
King cobras are the third longest living snakes in the animal kingdom. Surpassed only by pythons and rattlesnakes. This majestic creature can live an average of 20 years. This is a long time when you consider that brown snakes only have a lifespan of about 6-7 years. Of course ages can vary widely from king cobras in the wild and those in captivity. Some king cobras who are born in captivity and are well and properly taken care of, can reach a grand old age of 30 years.
King cobra’s can swim
When you think of a king cobra no doubt you picture a massive snake slithering along the ground and nowhere else. But this couldn’t be less true. King cobra’s are actually adept at both climbing and swimming. Both of which they can do much faster than a human. In fact, king cobras have been seen to go faster than even some boats. Evolution blessed these snakes with these attributes to help open up the pool of potential prey. Being good at climbing and swimming makes it possible for them to hunt both in the water and in the tree tops. This helps decrease the possibility of them starving in hard times.
Painkillers can be derived from king cobra venom
The venom found in snakes including the king cobra are all chemically complex and comprised of many elements. Scientists can now extract certain parts of venom that can be helpful while removing the parts that are harmful. Specifically there are proteins found in the venom that when given to a host can act as a pain reliever. This amazing concoction is said to be 30 times stronger than morphine with no observable negative side effects. This could revolutionize the medical field because it’s a pain reliever than wouldn’t cause dependency. The epidemic of prescription drug misuse could lower exponentially if this medication saturates the market.
King cobra venom is a deadly neurotoxin
There are different kinds of venom and they can effect the body in many widely varying ways. If a snake has neurotoxic venom it means that the effects of being bit will be nervous system issues. The first symptoms to appear will be redness, swelling, and pain at the bite site. But, withing moments the other symptoms will begin. Because the damage is in the nervous system symptoms can include drowsiness, respiratory paralysis, palatal paralysis, drooping eyelids, headaches, blurred vision, vertigo, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and stumbling gait. These symptoms are seen within 15-20 minutes after the envenomation. It’s a nasty bite that always requires medical intervention!
They are very intelligent snakes
The king cobra is considered the most intelligent snake in the world. This is due to certain behaviors and traits that just aren't seen in other snake species. For instance, it has the ability to recognize its trainer or handler when in captivity and can show preferential treatment towards them. It also keeps within specific territories and recognizes the boundaries of those territories. They will fight to the death to protect the space that is theirs when other males wander in. In fact, even the above mentioned nest building trait is also seen as a sign of intelligence and forethought. It’s a truly unique snake.
Their hood is actually a ribcage
The trademark majestic hood that so resembles a crown, isn’t always part of the king cobra’s look. It’s usually closed, making the head look similar to any other snakes. It only unfolds it when it feels like it’s being threatened and in danger. It’s a powerful warning. But how can the hood open and close so easily? It’s actually designed much like a rib cage. It has several thin bones spread out but connected. These are attached to muscles on the side of the head that are used to fan out the bones when needed. Thus giving it its famous hood.
If you love these animals like we do and want to show it, why not check out this beautiful silver cobra coffee spoon. It was designed with the king cobra’s impressive hood fanned out on the top of the spoon for both aesthetic and grip. It’s a work of art, but also a functional tool that sure to add some pizzazz to your morning coffee routine.