King Cobra tasting the air with its tongue

King cobra

King cobras are the longest of all the venomous snakes. Lengths of up to five metres are not unheard of, although, a mere three metres is more realistic. Preying on other reptiles - particularly other snakes - king cobras have a rapid, deadly strike. The venom isn't as strong as some snakes, but enough is produced in a single bite to kill a fully grown elephant. When threatened, a hypnotic display sees the king cobra raise itself up, growl and extend its hood. This majestic snake is one of the most dangerous and feared snakes to inhabit the forests of Asia.

Scientific name: Ophiophagus hannah

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The King cobra can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, China, Indian subcontinent. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the King cobra distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world's longest venomous snake, with a length up to 18.5 to 18.8 ft (5.6 to 5.7 m). This species, which preys chiefly on other snakes, is found predominantly in forests from India through Southeast Asia. The king cobra is considered to be a dangerous snake and has a fearsome reputation in its range, although it typically avoids confrontation with humans if possible. It is also considered culturally significant and has many superstitions around it.

Despite its common name, this snake is not a member of the Naja genus ("true cobras") which contains most cobra species, but is the sole member of its own genus.

Read more at Wikipedia

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. If you find the content in the 'About' section factually incorrect, defamatory or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. For more information on our use of Wikipedia please read our FAQ.