King cobra

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

King cobra
12 - The Mystical King Cobra and Coffee Forests.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Subfamily: Elapinae
Genus: Ophiophagus
Günther, 1864
O. hannah
Binomial name
Ophiophagus hannah
Cantor, 1836
Distribution O. hannah.png
  Distribution of the king cobra


The King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), or hamadryad, is in the Elapidae family of snakes. It is the longest venomous snake in the world. An adult King cobra can grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m), though most are less than 12 ft (3.7 m).[2][3]

The King cobra lives throughout India and in some parts of the south and the east of Asia. It is known around the world for its dangerous venom. It mostly avoids humans.[4] The King cobra lives up to 20 years.[5]

The King cobra lives in thick forests,[3][6] and likes areas dotted with lakes and streams.

It eats mostly snakes but sometimes lizards and rodents.[7][8] After a large meal it may live months before eating again.[3]

The Indian grey mongoose is one of the few predators of the King cobra but may not attack them much.[9]

Venom[change | change source]

The venom from a bite can be deadly. The snake can kill a man with a single bite.[7] The mortality rate can be as high as 75% without antivenom.[7][10][11]

There are two kinds of antivenom that can be used to help when someone is bitten. Bites do not happen often, snake handlers are most likely to be bitten.[4]

Parenting[change | change source]

Unlike many snakes the female king cobra is very good parent. It makes a mound as a nest for its eggs and protects them for 60-90 days until they hatch. It lays 20-40 eggs. [12] The mother stays until the eggs begin to hatch and then leaves to find food for herself. Baby king cobras are 18–22 inches (460–560 mm) and have venom as strong as adults.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Stuart, B.; Wogan, G.; Grismer, L.; Auliya, M.; Inger, R. F.; Lilley, R.; Chan-Ard, T.; Thy, N.; Nguyen, T. Q.; Srinivasulu, C.; Jelić, D. (2012). "Ophiophagus hannah". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T177540A1491874. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T177540A1491874.en.
  2. "Cobra". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mehrtens, John (1987). Living snakes of the world. New York: Sterling. ISBN 0-8069-6461-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 O'Shea, Mark (2011). Venomous snakes of the world. ISBN 978-0-691-15023-9.
  5. "National geographic- KING COBRA". 10 September 2010. They are fiercely aggressive when cornered; average life span in the wild: 20 years
  6. Miller, Harry (1970). "The cobra, India's 'good snake'". National Geographic. 20: 393–409.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Capula, Massimo; Behler (1989). Simon & Schuster's guide to reptiles and amphibians of the world. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-6716-9098-1.
  8. Coborn, John (1991). The atlas of snakes of the world. TFH Publications. pp. 30, 452. ISBN 978-0-86622-749-0.
  9. Mondadori, Arnoldo 1988 (ed.). Great book of the animal kingdom. New York: Arch Cape Press. p. 301.
  10. "Ophitoxaemia (venomous snake bite)". Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  11. Sean Thomas. "Most dangerous snakes in the world". Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  12. Piper, Ross (2007). Extraordinary animals: an encyclopedia of curious and unusual animals. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-33922-6.

Other websites[change | change source]