Watch a Brave Mother Chicken Fearlessly Protect Her Babies From a King Cobra

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Cobra with raised heads
© Skynavin/

Released in 2021 and watched millions of times, this short video gives us a fascinating insight into the lengths that Mom animals will go to to protect their babies. The maternal instinct is clearly powerful for this mother hen as she chooses to take on a king cobra!

Chicken babies on a log

Chicks usually stay with their mothers until 6 to 8 weeks of age.


Mom Chicken to the Rescue

This starts off as what looks like footage of a chicken with her chicks in an alley. She appears to be backed into the top corner with all of her chicks, and it shows that she might have some ducklings with her too! Out of the bottom of the alley emerges a snake. You may not have noticed it but the mom chicken sure does!

She races towards the snake to confirm that her suspicions are correct and then goes back to her chicks. Making loud warning clucks, she paces around, herding her chicks into a corner. Then, she goes back to the snake, which has made its way across the alley and is getting closer to her and her family.

The cobra is startled by the chicken and raises its head in an attacking posture and this triggers a similar confrontation from the hen. She spreads out her wings to make herself look larger, clucks loudly, and leaps about. Meanwhile, the chicks cower in a corner of the alley.

When a hen is being protective, she will fluff her wings out to make herself appear as big as she can.

©Racheal Carpenter/

Snake Drama in an Alley

King cobras usually eat other snakes but if food is scarce they would certainly resort to eating chicks. The snake lowers its head again and remains still whilst the hen herds her chicks together again. However, it is not long before the cobra is on the move again. As it gets closer to the chicks it triggers another frantic response by the chicken — one little chick nearly gets trampled by its own mother!

With the mother distracting and attacking the snake, the chicks move in small groups out of the corner of the alley. It seems to be a hopeless situation because the chickens are trapped in the alley and the snake is showing no signs of giving up. However, right at the end of the video, the snake appears to stay in one place as the mother saves the last of her brood. Perhaps it decided that this meal was simply not worth the hassle!

Large cobra with expanded ribs

Cobras primarily consume other snakes but will eat birds if food is scarce.

©Roberto 33/

Chicken vs. King Cobra

CategoryChickenKing Cobra
Lifespan3 to 10 yearsAbout 20 years in the wild
Height/Length27.6 inches (average)10 to 12 feet in length
Weight5.7 pounds (average)Around 13 pounds
DietOmnivoreConsists of mainly cold-blooded animals but will eat mice, rats, and squirrels
TemperamentEach chicken has a distinct personality. They can be shy, aggressive, fearless, enjoy company or be standoffish.A more cautious snake, generally peaceful; only strike when cornered
DefensesStrong, flexible toes with sharp clawsStriking, spitting venom, hissing, and feigning death
King cobra


king cobra

is much bigger than a chicken and can reach lengths of 10-12 feet and weigh around 13 pounds.

©Eric Isselee/

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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