King Cobras, with their threatening hoods and intimidating upright postures, are some of the most significant snakes in the world. They are both respected and feared because of their elegance, prideful stance and venomous bite.
King cobras live mainly in the rain forests and plains of India, southern China, and Southeast Asia, and their coloring can vary greatly from region to region. They are comfortable in the trees, on land, and in water, feeding mainly on other snakes, venomous and nonvenomous. They will also eat lizards, eggs, and small mammals.
They are the only snakes in the world that build nests for their eggs, which they guard ferociously until the hatchlings emerge.
King cobras may be best known as the species of choice for the snake charmers of South Asia. Although cobras can hear, they are actually deaf to ambient noises, sensing ground vibrations instead. The charmer’s flute entices the cobra by its shape and movement, not by the music it emits.
King cobras can reach 18 feet (5.5 meters) in length, making them the longest of all venomous snakes. When confronted, they can raise up to one-third of their bodies straight off the ground and still move forward to attack. They will also flare out their iconic hoods and emit a bone-chilling hiss that sounds almost like a growling dog.
Their venom is not the most potent among venomous snakes, but the amount of neurotoxin they can deliver in a single bite—up to two-tenths of a fluid ounce (seven milliliters)—is enough to kill 20 people, or even an elephant. Fortunately, king cobras are shy and will avoid humans whenever possible, but they are fiercely aggressive when concerned.
A bite by a King Cobra can lead to death within thirty minutes. One bite can actually kill approximately 20 men. There are even records of King Cobras that have killed elephants in a few hours.
There are only two types of anti-venom produced for treating bites by King Cobras. One is manufactured in Thailand by the Red Cross, while the other is made in India by the Central Research Institute.
According to the Australian Department of Clinical Toxicology in the University of Adelaide, the untreated fatality rate of King Cobra’s victims is 50-60%.
King Cobras have remarkable eyesight, enabling them to detect moving prey as far as 330 ft (100 m) away. In addition to his advanced smelling and eyesight capabilities, the Ophipohagus Hannah is said to possess one more unique element that makes him ‘King’.
Hatchlings will reach average lengths of 20 inch (50 cm), and will have venom that is as strong and powerful as that of adult kings. They can fully defend themselves, exactly like their parents. Baby kings are usually very nervous during their first few weeks, so if disturbed they might become extremely aggressive. Juvenile Kings are shiny black stripped by narrow yellow bands. As they grow older, they acquire the famous olive green color of a King. However, it may take some time until a young King Cobra can display its notorious hood.When a King Cobra does find his Kingdom in the wild, he will usually live an average lifespan of 20 years.
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