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

Indian Cobra
© Vova Shevchuk/

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: August 11, 2023

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King cobras are incredibly dangerous venomous snakes. They can kill up to 11 people with a single bite due to their potent venom. However, some animals have the right agility, wits, and power to attack venomous snakes. We’ve already covered how a mongoose would attack a cobra, but how would it fare against the king cobra? This snake is not a true cobra and is much larger and has more powerful venomous bites than members of the Naja genus. We will look at a king cobra vs. mongoose match and show you which of these animals would survive the fight.  

Comparing a King Cobra and a Mongoose

The King cobra is larger than the mongoose.
King CobraMongoose
SizeWeight: 10lbs-15lbs
Length: 12ft-19ft
Weight: 5lbs – 11lbs
Length: 0.8ft-2.5ft
Height: 8-12in
Speed and Movement Type– 12 mph
– Slithering along the ground
– Up to 20 mph
– Runs with a gliding gait, head low to the ground.
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
Long fangs deliver up to 1000mg of venom – A single bite can kill 11 humans
-28 teeth
– 4 powerful incisors capable of breaking bones
– Powerful sense of smell used to find burrowed prey
– Good sight during the day
– Excellent hearing used for hunting.  
Defenses– Large size
– Threat display
– Thick fur that deters bites and holds
– Limited resistance to snake venom
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator– Some species hunt alone, others together
– Pursuit hunters


What Are the Key Differences Between a King Cobra and a Mongoose?

What Eats Snakes

Mongooses are noted for their audacious attacks on venomous snakes, such as king cobras.

©steve bushman/

The greatest differences between a king cobra and a mongoose are morphology, attacking methods, and size. The king cobra is a limbless reptile measuring up to 19ft long that uses venomous bites to kill prey. Mongooses are carnivorous mammals that measure just 2.5ft long and use powerful bites to slay enemies. These creatures are very different from one another, and those differences will significantly impact the battle.

Although these differences will undoubtedly inform the battle’s outcome, they are not the only elements that matter. That’s why we’re going to compare other factors in this fight.

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

close up of a king cobra

The king cobra has powerful venom as a weapon in this fight.


As with most fights between animals, some of the key factors in a king cobra vs mongoose fight will be size, speed, and attacking methods. Yet, we also have to consider other elements to give us a complete view of the battle.

That’s why we’re going to examine five total factors, assign advantages to the animals, and then use that information to determine which of them will be left standing.  

King Cobra vs Mongoose: Size

A king cobra is bigger than a mongoose. The average king cobra grows between 12ft and 19ft long, and they can weigh up to 15 lbs. The mongoose weighs between 5lbs and 11lbs, grows 2.5ft long, and stands less than 1ft tall. The king cobra can draw up a significant portion of its body, allowing it to “stand” several feet high.

The king cobra has the height advantage over the mongoose.

King Cobra vs Mongoose: Senses

Mongooses have great senses. They can hear well, have a good sense of sight, and smell well enough to locate prey under the ground. This allows the mongoose to know where its prey is before its prey senses it.

King cobras do have a strong sense of smell.

The Mongoose has the advantage in senses.

King Cobra vs Mongoose: Speed and Movement

The mongoose is faster than the king cobra. A mongoose can hit top speeds of 20 mph, and this mammal has a lot of agility to help it change directions quickly. The ability of a mongoose to move so well helps it hunt down many animals, particularly snakes.

A mongoose has a speed advantage.

King Cobra vs Mongoose: Attacking Method

Mongooses use their powerful bites to kill their foes. They have 28 teeth, four of which are relatively long incisors that can crack bones with ease.

The king cobra has one method of attacking: rearing up and biting with potent venom. The venom is so powerful that it can kill 11 humans in a single bite. These snakes have fangs that dig deep into prey and allow them to inject as much as 1000mg of venom.

King cobras have a more powerful, surefire means of killing foes.

King Cobra vs Mongoose: Physical Defenses

The Mongoose has thick fur, strong skin, and resistance to snake venom. These factors make them almost perfect for hunting venomous snakes. The king cobra has a good threat display. It can rear up and lift several feet of its body off the ground, hiss at its foes, and spread its hood. Although that is effective at scaring people off, that won’t work in this case. However, the king cobra’s massive size is also a powerful defensive element.

Mongooses have a defensive advantage.

King Cobra vs Mongoose: Predatory Behavior

The king cobra is an ambush predator that uses its surroundings to hide before springing forth and delivering a deadly bite. Once they land a bite, it’s just a matter of time until their prey dies.

Mongooses can hunt in groups or alone, and they are pursuit hunters. They find prey that is suitable to them and then chase the animal down and kill it.  

King cobras have a more impactful type of predatory behavior than a mongoose.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a King Cobra and a Mongoose?

Mongoose (Helogale Parvula) - standing on sandy rock

The Mongoose is a very agile animal with a deadly bite.

©Oscar David Toledo Marin/

A mongoose would kill a king cobra in a fight. The mongoose specifically hunts venomous snakes throughout its range for food. These animals have some resistance to venomous snake bites, which means they come into this battle with an advantage.

The king cobra needs to bite the mongoose probably more than once to put it down. Meanwhile, the mammal has far more speed and agility, and it can crack a snake’s skull with just a single bite. That is why this fight starts with the mongoose running around the king cobra, testing its reactions, and looking for an opening.

Since the king cobra stands up to fight, it will have to turn its head at some point to follow the mongoose. After a few strikes, the mongoose will see its opening, biting the cobra and killing it.

The king cobra is a huge snake, but its head is still vulnerable to the mongoose. The longer the snake, the more complex the fight. The mongoose would have to wait for a strike and then counter or climb the king cobra to inflict a fatal bite.

It seems more likely that the mammal that constantly hunts venomous snakes comes away with a victory. However, it is possible that the king cobra lands a massive venomous bite and overwhelms the mongoose’s system. In that case, the mongoose would be vulnerable on the ground and end up being eaten.

Fun Facts about the Snake-Killing Mongoose

Mongoose (Helogale Parvula) - and baby

Mongooses live in groups of 50 or more members.

©Cassidy Te/

  • Mongooses are fierce – but they are also prey to pythons, hawks, leopards, and jackals. Marabou storks prey on mongoose pups – which they swallow whole.
  • Mongooses usually win when fighting snakes because they simply wear the snake out by biting it continuously, although experienced Mongoose warriors can crush a snake’s head with one bite.
  • A group of mongooses can include more than 50 members and is called a “mob”, “gang” or “pack”.
  • Mongooses take turns standing guard like prairie dogs.
  • Mongooses live around 20 years in captivity and 6 – 10 years in the wild.
  • Mongooses live in underground burrows with complicated tunnel systems.

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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