The biggest King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) can reach lengths of 18 ft (5.5 m). The venomous snake is also known as the hamadryad. It is the longest venomous land snake in the world. The King Cobra is also the most poisonous snake on the planet.
On the average, the King Cobra can reach lengths of 12-13 feet (3.6-4 m). The 18 foot lengths have been found among several individual species. In spite of the length, most King Cobras rarely weigh over 45 pounds (about 20 kg).
Generally, the male will weigh more than the female. In other snake species, the female is heavier. The King Cobra has an average lifespan of 20 years in the wild. Those kept in captivity may have a longer lifespan.
The biggest King Cobras’ color is influenced by their location. The snake may be yellow, tan, black, green or brown. Some species also have yellow or white bands around their stomachs. The stomach color varies significantly.
Some have an off-white shade with bars of a dark hue. There are also some with a solid cream color.
Researchers have observed that King Cobras inhabiting forests usually have a darker color. Those living in open woodlands and grasslands are lighter in appearance.
The King Cobra’s most distinguishing feature is its hood. The flaring occurs when the neck cervical ribs are extended. This spreads out the loose skin.
The snake can be found in Southeast Asia. Majority of the species are found in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and southern China. But even though it lives on land, the King Cobra can swim. In fact, the snake is frequently found near lakes and streams. Aside from forests, the snake thrives in swamps, bamboo thickets and woodlands.
The snake can also be found in mountainous regions. Some King Cobras have been seen at altitudes of 6,500 feet (1,981 m).
The creature is carnivorous. Majority of its prey consist of fellow snakes. In particular, the King Cobra loves to feed on the Asian rat snake. Most prefer to eat non-venomous snakes. However, it can eat poisonous snakes too.
Some King Cobras have also been seen eating its own species. If there are no snakes, it will eat rodents and small birds. Some are also capable of feeding on reptiles and other small animals.
The smallest and biggest King Cobras all share superior senses of sight and smell. The snake can detect prey 300 feet (100 m) away.