The king cobra has the formidable position of being the longest venomous snake on Earth.
In this breathtaking video, we see a man carefully trying to hold a magnificent king cobra with varying degrees of success. Whilst we applaud his bravery, we must also mention that holding venomous snakes is never advisable unless you are an expert and know exactly what you are doing!
King Cobra, the King of the Snakes
King cobras can grow up to 13 feet long and live up to 20 years old in the wild. Young snakes are black but have yellow or white crossbars on their body and tail. They also have four crossbars on their head.
As adults, they can vary in color; some are yellow or green but others are darker and can be brown or black. Most have crossbar or chevron markings that are yellow or white. Underneath they can be one color or can have markings in bars, and their throat is either yellow or cream.
They inhabit areas of China, southeastern Asia and India, and prefer an environment where there are streams and swamps, forests, and bamboo thickets. You will often find them in the vicinity of agricultural areas and mangrove swamps. By staying near streams, they can enjoy fairly constant temperatures and humidity levels. The snake in this clip is on the ground, but these snakes like to spend a lot of their time in trees and bushes.
King Cobra Fangs and Venom
These snakes are fierce and aggressive. They have fangs of around half an inch, fixed to the upper jaw. They cannot be any longer than this or they would penetrate their mouth because they are angled backward, pushing prey towards the stomach.
When they bite, venom that has been produced in glands is forced by small muscles into the hollow fangs and is injected into the unfortunate prey. It contains powerful neurotoxins that attack the nervous system, including the nerves that govern the breathing. There are also other toxins that start to digest the paralysed prey.
These cobras mostly hunt cold-blooded animals, and are particularly keen on other snakes! Some become so fussy that they will only eat one type of snake and Asian rat snakes, pythons, and dhamans are popular prey, as long as they are not longer than 10 feet. However, they will also attack venomous Indian cobras and even small king cobras!
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