Unlike its name suggests, the king cobra is not a true cobra, but is placed in a separate genus from them. The king cobra is longer than the true
cobras — in fact, it is the longest venomous snake in the world. They average at 13 ft (3.9 m) in length, bu can attain a length of 18 ft (5.4 m).
To put this in perspective, the king cobra is longer than most crocodiles. Although they generally move with their body flat on the ground, they can
rear up to 1/3 of their total body length, making them up to 6 ft (1.8 m) tall — as tall as a full-grown human.
It has a head as big as a man’s hand and can stand tall enough to look
you straight in the eye.
Its venom can stun your nervous system and stop your breathing.
King cobras are most noted for their venom, which is located in salivary glands behind the eyes — these glands are attached to two hollow, erect
fangs. These fangs are ½ inch (12 mm) in length and are attached to the upper jaw. The lower jaw consists of two bones loosely hinged together, which
can allow large prey to be swallowed.
King cobras have good eyesight, being able to see 330 ft (100 m) away. They lack external ears, but can still hear due to sound traveling through
their skin to the jaw bone, then to the quadrate bone (next to the ear bone), and from there to the inner eardrum. They taste and smell with their
forked tongue, drawing scents into their mouth which are then recognized by the Jacobson's organ. Holes in the trachea emit a low hiss resembling a
The king can’t see the royal purple—or any other color. Still, its
eyesight is better than most snakes’. It’s good enough to see a moving person almost 330 feet (100 meters) away.
The snake focuses by moving the lens in and out, and can sleep with eyes open, seemingly alert.
Drop for drop, a king cobra’s venom is actually less lethal than a
common cobra’s. The king more than makes up for it by delivering more venom per bite—as much as .2 fluid ounces (7 milliliters) of liquid.
That’s enough to kill an elephant, or 20 people.
With no limbs or cutting teeth, the king is unable to tear its food.
However undignified, the king gulps down every meal whole.
Its digestive tract is like a long straight tube. Blunt teeth puncture the food and the venom’s enzymes start the digestive process. From the long
stomach, food travels through the small intestine, the large intestine, and then out the cloaca.
King cobras have the basic snake appearance, with a long, round, scaled body that tapers to a pointed tail. The head is flat on top, with two black
beady eyes located on the front. The neck is exaggerated due to folds of loose skin on either side of it. When the king cobra becomes scared or
agitated, ribs in the neck flatten out, expanding the folds of skin and creating a long, narrow hood. This hood lacks patterns of any kind,
distinguishing it from true cobras.
King cobras vary greatly in colour. Depending on where they live, they could be brown, black, yellow, or green, interspersed with yellow or white
crossbands (chevrons). Generally, king cobras found in darker forests are darker in colour than those found in open forests or savannas. The colour of
the belly also varies, from a uniform light cream-colour to a creamy colour interspersed with darker bars.
But I am so cute, but as deadly as my much older brothers and sisters.
I will end on this note, a picture is worth a thousand words.
[edit on 14-9-2005 by SpittinCobra]