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125

king cobra

OLogy Series
animal
card
125

king cobra

OLogy Series
animal

The king cobra is the largest venomous snake in the world. Whether slithering on land, climbing trees, or swimming, it's an effective predator. When threatened or on attack, the king cobra rears its head and creates a hood by spreading its neck ribs. Its sharp fangs are used to bite and inject venom into prey. Its bite carries enough poison to kill an elephant.

The king cobra is the only snake to:

lay eggs

shed its skin

build a nest for its young

Are you right?

Correct!

Like most snakes, king cobras lay eggs and shed their skin several times a year. But king cobras are the only snakes to build nests for their young.

For centuries, king cobras have been used by flute-playing snake charmers because:

they are easily hypnotized

they sway to the sound of the music

they follow the charmer's movements

Are you right?

Correct!

King cobras are used by snake charmers because they respond to the charmer's movements. Cobras can't even hear the music because, like all snakes, they're deaf.

Like all snakes, the king cobra is venomous.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

The king cobra may be venomous -- however, most snakes are not. Most are constrictors, which means that they kill their prey by squeezing an animal until it can't breathe.

The king cobra eats snakes and other small animals, as long as they're smaller than its head.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

The king cobra can open its jaw wide enough to swallow prey bigger than its head. As do all snakes, it swallows its prey whole.

king cobra
Scientific name: Ophiophagus hannah
Size: 10 to 12 feet; can grow to 18 feet long
Habitat: near water and dense forests in
southern Asia and Africa
Diet: snakes, frogs, lizards, and small mammals
Characteristics: scaly skin that glows but is dry to the touch
Threats: deforestation and poaching

Image credits: courtesy of Duncan McRae, Herpafauna.