A king cobra the length of a stretch limo slides through a field. Looking for food, it raises its head and flicks its tongue. Suddenly, a rat scampers past. The snake takes off after the rodent. As it nears its prey, the cobra strikes: It sinks its venom-filled fangs into the rat to knock it out, then swallows the snack in one gulp.
LARGE AND (MOSTLY) IN CHARGE
King cobras are venomous snakes that live in South and Southeast Asia. The reptile makes its home in forests and swamps. It can grow up to 18 feet long. And the animal's toxic bite is powerful enough to kill an elephant.
Cobras eat small mammals, lizards, and birds. They can also end up on the dinner menu—the snake is a favorite meal of the mongoose, a kind of mammal.
When facing predators, king cobras try to act like tough guys. They often expand ribs and muscles on both sides of their necks to create what’s called a hood. The hood makes the snake appear extra-big.
While cobras can become aggressive when hungry or threatened, they know how to make their families feel at home. These are the only snakes that build nests for their eggs. How sweet.
Fun facts about the King Cobra
- They are the only snake that builds nests for its eggs. The female will guard the eggs until they hatch.
- Snake charmers in Asia often charm king cobras.
- The cobra is mesmerized by the shape and movement of the flute, not by the sound. They live to around 20 years old.
- Its conservation status is "least concern".The main predator to the king cobra is the mongoose because the mongoose is immune to its venom.
- However, mongooses rarely attack king cobras unless they have to.
- Venom from a king cobra can kill a human in around 45 minutes.
- However, they do not attack unless they feel cornered and only around 5 people a year die from king cobra bites.They shed 4 to 6 times per year.
- They are revered in India where they represent the god Shiva.
Their venom is not the most potent among venomous snakes, but the amount of neurotoxin they can deliver in a single bite—up to two-tenths of a fluid ounce—is enough to kill 20 people, or even an elephant. King cobra venom affects the respiratory centers in the brain, causing respiratory arrest and cardiac failur
Habitat and behavior
King cobras live mainly in the rain forests and plains of India, southern China, and Southeast Asia, and their coloring can vary greatly from region to region. They are comfortable in a variety of habitats, including forests, bamboo thickets, mangrove swamps, high-altitude grasslands, and in river.
Why You Might Need COBRA?
COBRA, which is the acronym for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, was introduced in 1986 to make health insurance available to employees who were terminated or voluntarily left jobs which offered them health insurance. The only exception to this is employees who were fired for reasons of gross misconduct. Employers are also required to offer COBRA when they reduce the number of hours an employee works in a week so that he or she is no longer eligible for benefits. COBRA recipients must pay the full amount of the premium, as there is no longer a contribution by the former employer.
Threats to survival
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the king cobra as vulnerable to extinction. These snakes face a variety of threats stemming from human activities. Heavy deforestation in Southeast Asia has destroyed the habitats of many king cobras, while they are also harvested in large numbers for skin, food, and medicinal purposes. They are also collected for the international pet trade. King cobras are also persecuted by humans who fear their menacing reputation.
In Vietnam, the king cobra is a protected species. Protected areas within this snake’s geographic range likely provide some safeguards, and organizations like the King Cobra Conservancy work to better understand the behaviors of the species in order to educate the public and protect the snake’s habitat. The Indian government implants microchips in captive king cobras to allow officials to identify any snakes that have newly been taken captive—which has been outlawed—in order to reduce the illegal wildlife trade.
© 2021 Keerthi Chinnathambi