The king cobra holds the title of being the largest venomous snake in the world. Reaching lengths of up to 18 feet, they are genuinely intimidating. This species of cobra can be found in India, Indonesia, Southern China, and the Philippines. Like most venomous snakes, they hold a reputation for being extremely deadly to any that trouble them.
King cobras have short fangs, but they can still deliver an explosive amount of venom with a quick bite. Their venom is contained in glands on the sides of their head. A common myth was that snakes carried venom in their bones. This rumor has since been discredited. Yet, that single dose of venom delivered is potent enough to kill an adult elephant. Despite the strength of their venom, they only use it when hunting or for self-defense. They would instead not use it. The cobra is more likely to run away with quick bursts of speed than waste venom on an opponent. Still, if a cobra is threatened, it will raise one-third of its body off the ground and spread its ribs out to display its trademark hood, followed by hissing to intimidate an enemy. If intimidation fails and there is nowhere to run, the cobra will send out a quick and precise bite.
The cobra possesses neurotoxic venom. This venom can destroy the victim's nervous system, leaving them paralyzed. In addition, muscle tissue can also rot away. If left untreated, the effects of the toxin could lead to death since the victim is unable to breathe due to the body's paralysis.
A king cobra has a varied diet. These snakes will feed on rats, mice, small birds, and even other snakes. Of all things king cobras are known for, it is its cannibalistic nature. Other snakes make up most of the cobra's diet. As long as another snake is a reasonable size, it is fair game to the king cobra.
At the same time, though, a king cobra's appetite can lead it into trouble. For example, in rural areas where cobras are native, rats, a cobra's prey, may wander into a home. Knowing that potential prey is in a house, a cobra will sometimes make its way in after them. This leads to dangerous encounters between humans and cobras and can lead to its death.
King cobras are one of the few snakes that will defend their nest of eggs from danger, and they will shield their nest fiercely. Nevertheless, mongoose and other predators may try to dig up the eggs. In situations like these, the cobra will not hesitate to strike and hiss.
Despite the king cobra's fierce reputation, they are outstanding members of the reptile family. Their strength, speed, caution, and intelligence make them apex predators that are to be respected. The opportunity to see a king cobra from a safe distance is an educational experience for anyone willing to learn about them. Education is the gateway to clearing their name of false claims spread about them over the years.