The mesmeric swaying and hissing blind eyes of the King Cobra cast a spell over the most courageous and paralyze them with fear. For so dreaded is this king of snakes that feeds exclusively on other snakes and sometimes on monitor lizards, that there are stories galore of how people lose their senses when faced with this menacing reptile!
The King Cobra is among the most poisonous snakes in the world, and with length of up to 5 m, is considered the longest venomous snake in the world. The adult King Cobra is yellow, green, brown or black, with yellowish or white cross bars on its body. It has a big hood and a yellowish-white throat. One of its special characteristics 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 in the world that binds its own nest. Made of earth and leaves with coils of its body, the female lays the eggs and guards them till they hatch. The young are jet black with yellow or white with yellow or white cross bars on the body, and four similar cross bars on the head. The average life expectancy of a King Cobra is 12 to 15 years.
The King Cobra is generally found in deep jungles and mild cool climates with a lot of humidity. Though it usually tries to escape when disturbed, when angered it stands menacingly with one-third of its body erect, and its hood spread. It is regarded as a fierce and aggressive snake, and tea-garden workers often encounter it in the North East of India.
In India, the king Cobra can be found in the National Parks and Reserves of Buxa, Corbett, Manas, Namdhapa, Simlipal, and the Sunderbans.