Transcript Slide 1

By Rudyard Kipling
How the Cobra Got its
• The king’s Latin name (Ophiophagus hannah)
refers to its favorite meal— ophiophagus means
• Its culinary preferences probably gave the king
cobra its English name. King cobras prefer
nonvenomous snakes like the rat snake, but
they also dine on venomous Indian cobras,
kraits, and even small king cobras, thus earning
the ignoble title, ‘cannibal.’
Species Facts
• Size/Life Span:
The King Cobra can
usually be found between
3.7m (12 ft.) and 5.5m
(18 ft.). 5.5m has been
the longest recorded.
• Hunting and Diet: The
King Cobra is a
carnivore (meat-eater).
King Cobras are
venomous; one bite can
paralyze and kill their
prey within minutes. The
victim dies from
suffocation, as the lungs
and heart stop.
King Cobras
• When disturbed or angry, the cobra
assumes a threatening position, raising
the front part of its body while expanding a
hood near its head. The snake creates its
hood by expanding its movable neck ribs,
which stretches out the loose skin around
its neck.
Image from “King Cobra,” National Geographic EXPLORER
of a
• It has a head as big as a man’s hand and can stand tall
enough to look you straight in the eye. Its venom can
stun your nervous system and stop your breathing.
• Drop for drop, a king cobra’s venom is actually less
lethal than a common cobra’s. The king more than
makes up for it by delivering more venom per bite—as
much as .2 fluid ounces (7 milliliters) of liquid. That’s
enough to kill an elephant, or 20 people.
Cultural beliefs &
• Several of India’s major religions pay tribute to the king
and smaller common cobras in their stories.
• In Hinduism, cobras are considered manifestations of
Shiva, the god of destruction and regeneration.
• A Buddhist story describes how a massive cobra
(probably king) spread its hood over the Buddha to
protect him from the sun while he meditated. Cobra
images guard the entrances of many Buddhist and Hindu
Cultural Beliefs and
• King cobras have also been worshipped
as sun deities with power over rain,
thunder, and fertility.
• On the annual lunar holiday of Nag
Panchami, Hindus refrain from plowing
and field work out of respect for cobras.
Images from “King Cobra,” National Geographic EXPLORER
Cobra Habitat
• One of the king cobra’s natural habitats is the cool
undergrowth of rain forests. It often stays near streams,
where the temperature and humidity are relatively
• It spends almost a fourth of its time up in trees or
bushes, but also likes plains and mangrove swamps.
• As deforestation causes the king’s habitat to shrink, it
can find itself in enemy territory—the human realm of tea
estates and villages.
Traits of a
Mongoose in the
• Diet-Carnivore
Wild: beetles, crabs,
earthworms, fallen fruit,
grasshoppers, ground
birds & their eggs,
millipedes, reptile eggs,
rodents, scorpions, slugs,
snails, snakes & termites
Zoo: apples, carnivore
diet, high protein dog
• habitat/rangegrasslands, brush lands,
woodlands, rocky
country; Gambia to NE
Ethiopia and south to
South Africa
• Status-widespread
currently not in danger
Banded Mongoose
Mongoose: Thieves
• Most coup attempts occur against a vulnerable
young royal: Wild boar and mongoose are
notorious thieves of king cobra eggs.
• Hatchling cobras are susceptible to army ants,
giant centipedes, civet cats, and more
Image from “King Cobra,” National Geographic EXPLORER
Mongoose Fighting
a Cobra
The Indian mongoose is well known for its
aggressive hunting behavior. It eats rodents and
snakes and will even attack highly venomous
snakes, such as this cobra.
The mongoose has been introduced to other
areas to control rodent and snake populations,
but its predatory habits often disrupt the
ecosystems into which it is introduced.