Name: King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
Other name: hamadryad
Conservation Status: Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)
Classification and Taxonomy:
Distribution: The king cobra has a wide distribution in South and Southeast Asia. It occurs up to an elevation of 2,000 m (6,600 ft) from the Terai in India and southern Nepal to the Brahmaputra River basin in Bhutan and northeast India, Bangladesh and to Myanmar, southern China, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. In northern India, it was recorded in the Garhwal Himalaya in Uttarakhand, in Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim. In the Eastern Ghats, it occurs from coastal Odisha to Andhra Pradesh. In the Western Ghats, it was recorded in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. It also occurs on Baratang Island.
Diet: The king cobra's diet consists primarily of other snakes and lizards, including Indian cobra, banded krait, rat snake, pythons, green whip snake, keelback, banded wolf snake and Blyth's reticulated snake. It also hunts Malabar pit viper and hump-nosed pit viper by following their odour trails. In Singapore, one was observed swallowing a clouded monitor. When food is scarce, it also feeds on other small vertebrates, such as birds, and rodents. In some cases, the cobra constricts its prey, such as birds and larger rodents, using its muscular body, though this is uncommon. After a large meal, it lives for many months without another one because of its slow metabolic rate.
Lifespan: 20 years
Reproduction: The female is gravid for 50 to 59 days. The king cobra is the only snake that builds a nest using dry leave litter, starting from late March to late May. Most nests are located at the base of trees, are up to 55 cm (22 in) high in the center and 140 cm (55 in) wide at the base. They consist of several layers and have mostly one chamber, into which the female lays eggs. Clutch size ranges from 7 to 43 eggs, with 6 to 38 eggs hatching after incubation periods of 66 to 105 days. Temperature inside nests is not steady but varies depending on elevation from 13.5 to 37.4 °C (56.3 to 99.3 °F). Female stay by their nests between two and 77 days. Hatchlings are between 37.5 and 58.5 cm (14.8 and 23.0 in) long and weigh 9 to 38 g (0.32 to 1.34 oz).
Venom: The king cobra's venom consists of cytotoxins and neurotoxins, including alpha-neurotoxins and three-finger toxins. Other components have cardiotoxic effects.
Dymadex's blogs on reptiles and amphibians. Reptiles are tetrapod animals characterized by scaly skin. Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates characterized by smooth skin.
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