Called the king
of snakes, the king cobra can grow up to a length of
6 meters, making it the longest venomous snake in the
world. One bite delivers enough venom to kill an elephant
or 20 people.
Although deadly to humans, the king cobra feeds almost
exclusively on other snakes and despite its aggressive
reputation the king is much more shy and cautious than
smaller snakes. King cobras will only attack people
when cornered, to protect its eggs or in self defense.
Throughout its entire range (from India to Indonesia)
less than five people are killed annually due to king
Apart from being the largest venomous snake on earth,
the king cobra is also more intelligent than other snakes.
Caregivers say that the king is a fast learner and can
distinguish between their carers and strangers.
Scientist also believe that some king cobras mate for
life – a lot like humans - and build nests for
their eggs which they will protect until they hatch.
The king cobra inspires fear and awe from people in
India. On the lunar holiday of Nag Panchami, Hindus
will not plough or work their fields out of respect
for cobras and in Burma a huge king cobra is presented
to the village of Myanmar in a basket. Upon opening
the basket the cobra rises to its full height when
a Shan priestess will walk forward and kiss it.
Unfortunately the king cobra faces extinction due to
habitat destruction. In Southern India more than a dozen
cobras are killed annually when they venture into tea
plantations and villages, coming in direct contact with
humans. The king’s future looks bleak and to make
matters worse, king cobras rarely breed in captivity.
Thus far only two cases of kings breeding in captivity
have been recorded.
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is the proud home of one of
these magnificent snakes.