(Last Updated on : 24/08/2011)
King Cobra in India is world's longest venomous snake with a length of 5 mt. It belongs to the Elapidae family. The scientific name of King Cobra is Ophiophagus Hannah. It can inject in a single bite upto 6-7 ml of venom which is sufficient kill 20 people. In India King Cobra is both feared and respected. This snake is worshipped in the occasion of Nag Panchami. This snake holds an important position in Hindu mythology. This reptile has the mesmerizing power paralyze the senses of a person with its enchanting hissing sound.
Habitat of King Cobra in India
Cobra in India" >King Cobra generally prefers deep forest and avoids direct confrontation with human. It usually likes rain forests and plain forest in India. King Cobra in India can be found in the National Parks and sanctuaries of Buxa, Corbett National Park
, Manas, Namdhapa, Simlipal and Sunderban
Physical Traits of King Cobra
A King Cobra can be of 12-13 feet in length and its average weight is 6 kg. King Cobra has two circular ocelli patterns on the backside of its hood. The skin of King Cobra is olive-green, tan, or black, and it has faint, pale yellow cross bands down the length of the body. The adult ones are yellow, green, brown or black, with yellowish or white cross bars on its body. The scales of the body are smooth. The head of a mature snake can be quite massive and bulky in appearance. Their jaws are quite flexible and can be expanded to swallow large items. The life span of a King Cobra is about 20 years.
Mythology related to King Cobra in India
In Hindu Mythology King Cobra is seen curled around the neck of Lord Shiva
. Lord Vishnu is also depicted reposing on the body of Sheshnag, the sacred serpent with multiple King Cobra heads. In the festive occasion of Nag Panchami this snake is worshipped in India. The King cobra images are found to be depicted in the temple sculpture.
Characteristics of King Cobra
The King Cobra can be highly aggressive and agile. When irritated, King Cobra rises one third of its body with the spreading hood. The young snakes are more violent than the older. The special characteristic of this snake is that the female remains with the eggs till they hatch, though in most other species of snakes, the mother lays the eggs and goes away. It is the only female snake of the world that binds its own nest.
King cobras are able to hunt at all times of day, although it is rarely seen at night, leading most herpetologists to classify it as a diurnal species. King Cobra sheds its skin several times a year in a process known as ecdysis.
Diet of King Cobra
King Cobra is a snake eater. Its diet includes other snakes comprising rat snakes, sizeable pythons and even other venomous snakes (including kraits, cobras and smaller members of its own species. It also takes lizards, birds, and rodents. After a large meal the snake may live for many months without another meal due to a very slow metabolic rate.
Venom of King Cobra
King Cobra's venom consists of neurotoxins and cardiotoxic compounds. Toxic constituents in venom are mainly proteins and polypeptides.
During a bite, venom is injected through the snake's half-inch fangs into the wound, and quickly attacks the victim's central nervous system, comprising severe pain, blurred vision, vertigo, drowsiness, and paralysis and the victim falls into a coma. Death soon follows due to respiratory failure.