king cobra

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.

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: main image: courtesy of Duncan McRae, Herpafauna.