- These are two types of cobras that share many similarities such as their telltale hoods.
- King cobras are significantly larger. Generally, cobras are 2-10 feet long and weigh up to 10 pounds. But king cobras grow to 12-18 feet and up to 20 pounds.
- The king cobra’s name comes from its diet: it eats many other types of snakes.
However, there are many traits and features that set them apart from one another. But what might some of these features be, and how can you learn to tell them apart?
In this article, we will address all of the ways in which a king cobra is different from the general classification of a cobra. We will discuss their physical differences as well as their behavioral differences. That way, you can learn how to tell common cobras apart from the king cobra.
Let’s get started and learn about these snakes now!
Comparing King Cobra vs Cobra
|Size||12-18 feet long; 10-20 pounds||2-10 feet long; 5-10 pounds|
|Appearance||Slender body with a chevron pattern on the back of neck; found in brown, green, or yellow and tan scales. Narrower hood than true cobras.||Hooded and found in a variety of colors; has a more narrow head and larger hood compared to the king cobra.|
|Lifespan||15-20 years||10-12 years|
|Behavior||Capable of rising up to four feet to stand and threaten prey or foes; has enough venom to kill an elephant in a single bite||Lives in a variety of habitats and locations; venomous and does not eat other snakes. Some cobra species spit venom, while others can be kept as pets|
King Cobra vs Cobra: Evolution and Origins
Cobras are a type of venomous snake that is native to Asia and Africa. There are many different species of cobra, but two of the most well-known are the king cobra and the regular cobra. In this section, we will explore the evolution and origins of these two snakes, and discuss the differences between them.
The king cobra, also known as the Ophiophagus hannah, is the longest venomous snake in the world. It can grow up to 18 feet long and is found throughout Southeast Asia, including in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The king cobra is known for its distinctive hood, which it raises when threatened to make itself appear larger and more intimidating. It is also known for its deadly venom, which can kill an adult human in as little as 30 minutes.
The regular cobra, on the other hand, is a more general term that can refer to several different species of cobra. Most commonly, it is used to describe the Indian cobra, also known as the Naja naja. This snake is found throughout India and Pakistan and is known for its distinctive hood and its neurotoxic venom, which can cause paralysis and respiratory failure in its victims.
Despite their many differences, both the king cobra and the regular cobra are part of the same family of snakes, known as the Elapidae. This family includes several other types of venomous snakes, such as the taipan, the mamba, and the coral snake.
These snakes are all thought to have evolved from a common ancestor that lived around 25 million years ago.
Key Differences Between King Cobra vs Cobra
There are many key differences between king cobras and cobras. Despite their names being similar, king cobras are members of the Ophiophagus genus while cobras are members of the Naja genus.
This makes them distinct in their scientific classifications. King cobras eat other snakes, while many other cobra species do not do this. Finally, some cobras have the capability of spitting venom, while king cobras do not have this ability.
Let’s discuss all of these differences in more detail now.
King Cobra vs Cobra: Size
The king cobra is regarded as the longest venomous snake in the world, While most other cobra species do not reach the same lengths and sizes. For example, the average king cobra reaches anywhere from 12 to 18 feet long, while other cobra varieties only reach 2-10 feet in length.
This also means that king cobras weigh more than the average cobra in general. For example, king cobras often weigh anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds, while other cobra species only weigh 5 to 10 pounds on average.
King Cobra vs Cobra: Venom and Diet
While all cobras, including the other genus known as king cobras, are venomous, there are some differences in the level of venom that they use as well as their dietary preferences. For example, king cobras are called king cobras because they frequently eat other snakes, while most cobra species eat rodents or birds.
King cobras also inject a large amount of venom per bite, enough to kill multiple people, while other cobras don’t have as much potency per bite. However, there is a type of cobra species that spits venom, often as far as 8 feet, which is an ability that king cobras do not share.
Whether you’re dealing with a king cobra or another type of cobra, it’s a good idea to avoid their venomous bite!
King Cobra vs Cobra: Appearance
It can be extremely difficult to look at a king cobra versus other types of cobras and tell the difference. Both king cobras and cobras have hooded faces that they use in order to defend themselves against enemies or predators, but the average king cobra has a smaller hood compared to other species of cobras.
Despite this fact, the average king cobra has a wider head than many other types of cobras. King cobras also have a chevron pattern on the back of their neck, while not all other cobras have this. However, it often takes an expert to pick out a king cobra compared to many other specific types of cobra species.
King Cobra vs Cobra: Behavior
There are some behavioral differences between king cobras and other types of cobras. For example, king cobras frequently rise up to 4 feet in the air and bite people on their upper bodies, while not all other cobra species do this. Many other cobras live in trees and deserts, while king cobras are often found in populated areas seeking out their next meal.
There aren’t very many people who recommend keeping king cobras as pets, though there are other cobra species that are kept as pets in specific situations. However, no type of cobra is often kept in a domesticated situation given their venomous bite and potentially aggressive nature.
King Cobra vs Cobra: Habitat
There are at least 37 species of cobra, and overall they exist in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. On the other hand, the king cobra only lives in south and southeast Asia. While king cobras inhabit wetlands, shrublands, and forests, there are other types of cobras that can live in a wide range of habitats such as rainforests, open grasslands, coastal plains, and arid climates.
King Cobra vs Cobra: Lifespan
A subtle difference between king cobras and other types of cobras is their lifespan. King cobras live an average of 15 to 20 years, while other cobra species only live anywhere from 5 to 12 years in total.
However, it depends on the specific species as well as the captive status of the snake itself. All snakes tend to live longer when kept in captivity rather than in the wild.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Suresh Suryasree/Shutterstock.com
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