King Cobra vs Anaconda: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Heather Ross
Updated: March 8, 2023
© A-Z-Animals.com
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South America is filled with amazing creatures. For example, this continent just so happens to be home to the heaviest snake of all. The anaconda is an enormous constrictor that lurks in the flooded wetlands, and it likes to eat large prey including deer. On the other side of the world in Asia lives the king cobra, the largest venomous snake with the scientific name Ophiophagus hannah. That means this animal prefers to eat other snakes. That begs the question, what would happen in a king cobra vs anaconda fight? We’re going to get to the bottom of this question by comparing both animals and determining a winner!

Comparing a King Cobra and an Anaconda

King Cobra vs Anaconda
A battle pitting king cobra vs anaconda would see two of the longest snakes duke it out.

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King CobraAnaconda
SizeWeight: 10lbs-15lbs
Length: 10ft-19ft
Weight: 250lbs -550lbs
Length: 17-22 feet
Diameter: 12 inches
Speed and Movement Type– 5 mph
– Slithering along the ground
-5 mph on land
-10 mph in the water
Attacking Method– Will lift the front of its body several feet from the ground and then strike, allowing it to deliver venom in the vital areas
– 0.5in fangs
Long fangs deliver up to 1000mg of venom
– A single bite can kill 11 humans
– Powerful bite for grasping
– Immensely powerful constriction that kills by stopping the prey’s heart while causing internal damage
– Fantastic hunting senses  
Defenses– Large size
– Threat display
– Their eyes on their head allow them to skim the surface of the water
– Swims in water
– Large size
– Camouflage
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator– Ambush prey in and out of water
– Bites and holds prey while coiling around them and constricting.

What Are Key Differences Between a King Cobra and an Anaconda?

Yellow Anaconda
Anacondas are large, powerful constrictors that regularly hunt prey as large as deer

©Chris Tefme/Shutterstock.com

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The greatest differences between a king cobra and an anaconda include their size and their methods of attack. The anaconda is a massive constrictor snake that can weigh up to 550lbs and reach 22ft long or 33ft at the maximum, but a king cobra is a snake that kills using venom and grows up to 19ft long and 15lbs. These snakes have significant differences in terms of their bodies and approach to killing prey.

Although these two differences can give us valuable insight into which of the animals is best-suited to win a fight, we need more data to make a definitive decision.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a King Cobra and an Anaconda?

What Eats Snakes
A king cobra vs anaconda fight will be decided by speed, power, and intelligence

©Vova Shevchuk/Shutterstock.com

In the animal kingdom, the biggest and fastest animals usually win fights. However, figuring out the winner of a battle between a king cobra and an anaconda will require a closer examination of the creatures. That’s why we have come up with five different categories of data to compare. By the time we’re done looking at figures like speed, defense, and attack methods, we’ll know which snake is the winner of this bout.

King Cobra vs Anaconda: Size

Anacondas are far larger than king cobras. The average anaconda can grow up to 22ft, but the largest anaconda ever found was 33ft long and weighed over 800lbs. The king cobra can grow quite long, up to 19ft at its maximum. However, the snake’s weight is a low 15lbs. They don’t need a lot of weight because their venom does all the work.

The anaconda has a serious size advantage against the king cobra.

King Cobra vs Anaconda: Speed and Movement

The king cobra and the anaconda are both about the same speed. An anaconda can move about 5 mph on land at its highest speed, and that’s the same speed the king cobra can reach. In the water, the anaconda can go about 10 mph.

The speed and movement of anacondas and king cobras are the same, so this is a tie.

King Cobra vs Anaconda: Attacking Method

The anaconda is an ambush predator that has amazing senses that allow it to hunt other animals. When it finds something to eat, it will often sneak up using the water as cover. As the animal passes by, the anaconda will lunge, and bite it with many small, backward-facing teeth. Once latched, it will coil around its foe and constrict until the prey’s heart gives out and the respiratory system fails.

King cobras also ambush their prey, but they rely on venom to kill. They have enough venom to kill 11 humans or an elephant in a single bite. They prefer to land a bite, let the venom take effect, and then collect their prey after it’s dead.

Both animals have equally potent methods of attack.

King Cobra vs Anaconda: Physical Defenses

The anaconda is a massive snake that uses its size as a physical defense. Despite this snake being so large, the animal can hide in tall grass and water. This limited camouflage and large body make it a very unappealing target for most animals.

The king cobra can hide, but it prefers to use a threat display to deter any predators coming after it. After all, this snake can stand just about eye level with most animals in its range, and it can even strike at a human’s torso, neck, and head.

The anaconda has better physical defenses.  

King Cobra vs Anaconda: Predatory Behavior

The anaconda is an ambush predator that likes to constrict enemies after dragging them into the water. The disorientation caused by the water and the immense power of the snake’s constriction leads to the prey’s death.

When king cobras attack other snakes to eat them, something they do quite often, they have a specialized technique for the occasion. They will usually wait until they can land a powerful bite on the back of the animal’s head and then they will slither away to let the venom sink in. The envenomated snake will die and the king cobra will come back to a fresh kill.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a King Cobra and an Anaconda?

Anaconda Face - Anaconda
Anacondas will ultimately use their size and power to overcome a smaller enemy

©Mark_Kostich/Shutterstock.com

An anaconda would win a fight against a king cobra. This outcome assumes that both of these creatures met in an open area that doesn’t allow an ambush to happen. Otherwise, the anaconda might just snatch the water-loving king cobra into the water and make for a much less interesting fight.

The anaconda is a very large creature that can strike surprisingly fast for its body size. Yet, the king cobra has a fast strike of its own.

The king cobra could certainly start the fight by landing an attack. Even if it sank 1,000mg of its venom into the anaconda, that’s not the end of the fight. By getting close to the constrictor, this animal leaves itself open to getting grabbed.

If the anaconda lands a bite, it will quickly coil around the much smaller creature and start crushing it. The effects of the venom would take too long to incapacitate the anaconda, giving the constrictor more than enough time to finish the king cobra. This would be a short-term victory, though. The king cobra’s venom will get the anaconda eventually.

Of course, the anaconda could land the first strike and completely neutralize the king cobra, ending the fight in minutes. The king cobra could do a hit-and-run if it was smart enough. However, since the snake doesn’t plan on eating the anaconda, it may not occur to the snake to just bite and flee.

The most likely result is the anaconda killing the king cobra and then dying a little while later.

What Kind of Animal Can Defeat an Anaconda?

Because they are such deadly, silent attackers, there are very few animals that can withstand an ambush from an adult anaconda. In a solo fight, they would be in trouble for sure. As a hunter, the anaconda has too many evolutionary advantages against most foes.

Every now and then though, you pick the wrong fight! If a really hungry anaconda wanted to tackle a fully-grown crocodile, it would probably lose that battle. Only the perfect surprise attack could work for the giant snake.

The crocodile, especially a saltwater croc, has an incredible bite, and one such chomp from its great maw would spell the end for a would-be attacker. The anaconda has to get its head close to the croc to bite, and that would leave it vulnerable. The thick, squat body of a croc would also be very difficult to effectively constrict. Crocodiles are so low to the ground and have such weight, an anaconda probably should look elsewhere for their next meal!

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King Cobra vs Anaconda
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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

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