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King Cobra: Is This Animal Endangered?

The longest poisonous snakes on Earth are King Cobras. They can reach up to 20 feet in length, making them one of the most hazardous creatures on the planet.

  • Status: Vulnerable
  • Known as: King Cobra
  • Estimated numbers left in wild: Unknown, but declining
Head of a King Cobra

Although King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is a vulnerable species, it can be found in certain locations. These snakes are found in forests, marshes, and around water sources throughout India, Southeast Asia, and Southern China. Their venom is a neurotoxin that acts swiftly on its victims.


King cobras were worshipped by priests and snake charmers in Southeast Asia, but King Cobra bites are known to cause death due to respiratory failure within 30 minutes of the bite.

These species are not listed as endangered animals, but King Cobra populations continue to decline due to loss of habitat and over venom collecting. King Cobras are at high risk for extinction because they live in protected areas that are being destroyed by human activities.

This snake is rightly feared throughout its range as its poison is highly neurotoxic. While the cobra’s venom is not the most potent, the large amount that will be delivered with a bite would be enough to kill an elephant or several dozen human beings.

Those who are bitten often die of cardiac arrest.

Anatomy and Appearance

The King Cobra is the largest venomous snake in the world, with most of the snakes measuring between 3 to 4 meters, although some specimens have achieved a length of 5.5 meters.

Unlike constrictors, the cobra is a slender snake, usually weighing 6 to 10 kilograms, with the heaviest cobra (which lived in a zoo) weighing 12.6 kilos.

The undersides of the snakes are very light yellow or cream in color while the dorsal surface is black or dark green with lighter bands. Young cobras are more brightly patterned, although this darkens as the snake age.

However, because the cobra tends to be shy and reclusive, keeping to areas of dense vegetation (forests, bamboo thickets, mangrove swamps), they interact fairly infrequently with people. They will try to retreat when confronted, but if unable to, they will attack aggressively, raising themselves up and spreading their hood.

Biting is the usual way of delivering the venom, but they can also spit, aiming at the eyes.


Southeast Asia Jungle

The cobra’s range extends throughout most of South-East Asia and includes India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the southern parts of China, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

King Cobra Habitat

These snakes live in forests, swamps, marshes, and near water sources.

King Cobra Diet and Nutrition

King Cobra Fighting Mongoose

Oftentimes King Cobras are classified by their diets. They are an ambush predator that often eats other snakes, lizards, frogs, and poultry.

The cobra’s diet consists mostly of other snakes, especially rat snakes and small pythons. However, this snake will eat other venomous snakes such as other cobra species and kraits.

When reptilian food is scarce, the cobra will take birds, lizards, and small mammals. The hatchlings are highly venomous from birth and tend to be more skittish than the adults.

They eat these creatures because cobras require a lot of energy to digest their prey due to the cobra’s large size. The snake are also capable of eating deer in order to survive in certain areas.

King Cobras are also capable of eating cbra eggs if the opportunity arose. They act quickly on their prey, constricting them to suffocate or piercing them with venom before consuming their prey.

They always release their prey after feeding because they cannot digest anything that is too large for King Cobra’s mouth.

In order to regulate their body temperatures, these snakes have been known to bask in the sun. 

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King Cobra Hissing

They have a variety of predators in the wild that include mongooses, civets, and large birds of prey. The snake is also preyed upon by humans in some areas. the snake is most vulnerable to predation when they are young and have not yet had a chance to grow their full length.

These species are endangered species due to human activity. They are killed for their skin, which is still used today as apparel.

They are also hunted for their meat because it is seen as a delicacy by some people in Southeast Asia. Their venom has been used for medical purposes and can be found in anti-coagulants, anti-hypertensive medications, and cardiac glycosides.

King Cobra Mating Habits

King Cobra Mating

King Cobras mate during the first 3 months of the year. Cobras are polygamous and will mate with multiple partners during the breeding season. They don’t mate for life.

Male King Cobras resort to fighting each other for the right to mate with a female. The victor will coil around the female and will use his tail to keep other males away.

The female builds a two-chambered nest out of vegetation in which she lays her 20 to 50 eggs in the lower room and then she remains in the upper chamber to guard the clutch.

Females will lay eggs in a nest that is usually made up of leaves. The heat from the rotting vegetation incubates the eggs which can take up to 3 months. Just before the eggs hatch, the female leaves before she is tempted to eat her offspring.


King Cobra’s venom is a neurotoxin that acts quickly on its victim. It is a potent neurotoxin. They also release their venom through their fangs and both the fangs and the saliva contain poisons. The venom is the deadliest of all snake venoms.

Its venom is not only used for prey but can also be used to protect cobras from other predators. Cobras will use their venom to kill another animal and then feed on it. The venom is so powerful that cobras do not need to chew the flesh of their victims, they just let the prey decompose in their stomachs.

Role in the Ecosystems

King Cobra hunting reptiles

The King Cobra is an important predator in ecosystems because they feed on reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. They help in controlling the wildlife population.

King Cobra and Human Relationship

This snake has a complicated relationship with humans. For the most part, humans tend to be afraid of King Cobras and avoid them whenever possible.

King cobras are also known to be one of the most dangerous animals on Earth. However, Kobras is also used by humans in traditional medicine. In some areas, they are considered to be pests because they often eat poultry or other livestock.

They are also hunted for their skin, but their skins have little commercial value. Their venom is currently being researched because the venom they have has been known to be capable of treating breast cancer and other types of cancer.

King Cobra Facts

Here are some of the interesting facts you need to know about King Cobra:

  • Known as the longest venomous snakes in the world.
  • They are large snakes that can reach a maximum length of 20 feet. It’s one of the world’s most dangerous reptiles.
  • They live in forests, swamps, marshes, and near water sources throughout India, Southeast Asia, and China.
  • Their venom is a neurotoxin that acts quickly on its victims.
  • Most cobra species are in highly populated areas, which is why they are considered as vulnerable are vulnerable.
  • The cobra habitats have been disappearing to make room for farms and villages.

Conservation Status

A Group of King Cobra


The main threats to the King Cobra come directly from man and from habitat destruction as a result of deforestation.

Previous generations of people from South-East Asia, particularly India, often viewed the cobra in a religious sense and tolerated its presence more than now, when people are less likely to want to share space with a potentially dangerous animal.

And, as more land is put to agricultural use, it increases the chance that humans will come into contact with the snake. They are also looked upon as a source of meat, skins, and are also used to make traditional medicines, which adversely affects their numbers.

Habitat Loss

The habitat of the King cobra is being threatened by deforestation, as well as agriculture and urban development. Due to habitat loss, the snakes will retreat into agricultural fields in order to find prey, but cobras are often killed by farmers who fear the snake to attack on people.

Conservation efforts

The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station in India offers a sanctuary not only for cobras but for other indigenous species. CITES has included the king cobra on its roster of animals that need a permit for export, and also sets quotas on how many of the cobras can be exported yearly.

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King Cobra Conservancy

King Cobra Conservancy Logo

The King Cobra Conservancy is a key partner in conservation efforts. They have assisted in education and outreach, habitat restoration, research and behavioral assessments, monitoring of venomous snake populations, and the prevention of non-native King Cobras.

The conservancy has also helped restore cobra habitats by providing cobras with the necessary swampy wetland environments that they require to thrive.

Each year the King cobra conservancy works with a range of countries in order to create reports on range country reports which cover population density for the cobra, prey base biodiversity survey, disease, Distribution Map, life history survey King Cobra human-cobra conflict.

Conservation efforts are largely focused on removing the main threats to this species survival.

World Wildlife Fund

World Wildlife Fund Logo

The World Wildlife Fund has helped cobra conservation by protecting their habitat. Conservation is important because it protects this species of snake from extinction as well as helps to prevent extinction.

The World Wildlife Fund is a global conservation organization that aims to protect endangered species and their habitats. The World Wildlife Fund was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Switzerland.

The World Wildlife Fund has more than one million supporters worldwide and works in more than 100 countries. The World Wildlife Fund has six main areas of conservation in mind: forests, freshwater, wildlife, oceans, climate, and energy.

See Related: These Are 13 of the Longest Living Animals on Earth

Final Thoughts

King Cobra in a Basket

King Cobras are among the very dangerous snake and longest venomous snakes in the world and one of the most dangerous animals on Earth. They is classified as a vulnerable species, but there are still certain areas where King Cobras can be found.

Their habitats have been disappearing to make room for farms and villages which has led to this animal is endangered. The conservation efforts by organizations such as King Cobra Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund help protect these reptiles from extinction and also help prevent their extinction altogether.


What does King Cobra eat?

King Cobras eat a variety of animals, including mammals, amphibians, birds, and other reptiles.

How long can King Cobras grow?

King Cobras can grow up to 20ft long.

Do King Cobras live in the water?

King Cobras are not water snakes. King Cobras are reptiles and belong to the family Elapidae. King Cobra’s habitat is varied, but King Cobras don’t live in trees or on the typical ground.

They can be found living in forests, swamps, marshes, and near water sources throughout India, Southeast Asia, China.

What is King Cobra?

King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is a venomous snake and is considered also to be the longest one in the world and they are considered to be one of the most dangerous animals on Earth.

They live in forests, swamps, marshes, and near water sources throughout India, Southeast Asia, and China. The venom they have is a neurotoxin that acts quickly on its victims. And is classified as a vulnerable species.

Why is King Cobra venom dangerous?

King cobra venom is an incredibly potent neurotoxin that quickly immobilizes and kills its victims. cobras contain highly toxic venom which they inject into their prey through long hollow fangs.

Their venom affects the functioning of the nervous system and causes severe pain all over the body. King Cobra holds multiple records for longest living captive snake or most people bitten by a King Cobra or most poisonous animal in the world.

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