King Cobra

Cobras live in hot tropical areas in Africa, Australia, and Southern Asia and their relatives, the Coral Snake, can be found in the United States.  They can be found underground, in trees, and under rocks.  The King Cobra is not only an excellent climber but a super swimmer as well.  They live in forests near streams. Cobras live up to 20 years or even more, when they are in the wild. A group of cobras is called a quiver.

Cobras are hunters and will quietly follow their prey until they are ready to attack.  They can move very fast and can speed along with their heads raised.  Cobras are carnivorous, which means they will eat other snakes as well as birds, bird eggs and small mammals. Cobras slay their prey by injecting poison through their tooth. Neurotoxin stops the breathing and heartbeat of the victim.

A cobra’s main preys are mouse, rat, rabbit, ground squirrel, though they also like to eat amphibians, lizards, snakes, eggs and birds. Similar to all snakes, cobra’s chin has two independent bones which are attached droopily to its skull. This enables the snake to gulp an animal, which is wider than its head.

Cobras can hear. They sense sound through contact with the ground much better than human beings. Cobras smell their prey using their forked tongue. The tongue goes in and out, picking the scent particles from the ground and passes it to a smelling organ called Jacobson’s organ. This enables the snake to snuffle out its next meal. Like other snakes, cobras have a very slow metabolism that allows them to go for days or even months without feeding, depending on how hefty their previous meal was.

Cobras reproduce by laying eggs. Females typically lay 20 to 40 eggs at a time, which incubate between 60 and 80 days. Cobras are the rarest of snakes in the world, which put up nests for their eggs, which they guard intensely till the eggs are hatched. King cobras are the only species of snake to build nests for their young, which they guard ferociously. The baby cobra, called hatchling, like its parents can defend itself even in the initial days and spread its covering and strike.

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King Cobra is the longest species of venomous snake in the world. King Cobras are timid and shy. They avoid humans – run and hide when people are around but turn ferocious and hostile when disturbed. King Cobra is almost 18 feet (5.5 meters) in length and is the longest and most venomous of all. Its venom delivers a huge amount of neurotoxin (almost seven milliliters) in a single bite that it is powerful enough to kill 20 people or even an elephant. Cobras are the only snake in the world that can spit their venom and they are accurate up to about half their own length. Though there are other snakes with more potent venom, the amount of neurotoxin that a king cobra can emit in one bite is enough to kill 20 people — or one elephant. Fortunately, king cobras are shy and avoid people.

Spitting Cobra, one of the species of cobras, though not fatal on contact, can cause blindness. It can also lead to skin scarring, if the bite is left untreated. Though the names suggests otherwise, spitting cobras do not discharge the venom. They spray it by pressing the muscles on the venom glands, thus forcing the venom out on front openings in the tooth. If cornered, they spit to a distance of about 6.5 meters. National Geographic compares their warning hiss to a growing dog.

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A cobra’s biggest enemy is mongoose, an animal which is very quick that it can dart in and bite the back portion of cobra’s neck before it defends itself. The mongoose is the best-known enemy of the cobra. According to Cobras.org, mongooses have thick fur to protect against cobra fangs and often defeat cobras in fights using their speed and agility. They can bite the Cobra’s back before the snake can defend itself. Cobras are also threatened from other snakes and humans.

4 cobraCobras are not poisonous, they are venomous. This means that even though they have deadly venom in their sacs, the rest of the snake is edible.

 

This piece was written by Ike Ezugwu with materials from Online Sources like Cobras.org and National Geographic.

 

 

 

 

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Cobras live in hot tropical areas in Africa, Australia, and Southern Asia and their relatives, the Coral Snake, can be found in the United States.  They can be found underground, in trees, and under rocks.  The King Cobra is not only an excellent climber but a super swimmer as...