The heavy and mascular King Cobra can kill other snakes with its powerful
venom. The snakes follow fangs grow to a length of 0.5 in. The Cobra
punches them into its prey like hypodermic needles, and injects a powerful
venom.The venom glands lie gehind the eyes. The snake can then dislocate
its jaw to engulf large prey.
The cobra uses its menacing hood to warn off other animals. Its neck spreads to form a hood with a double chevron marking on the back. Its skin is olive green, tan or black with pale yellow crossbands down the length of the body. The underbelly is cream or yellow. The cobra detects prey by flicking its tongue out to collect scents from the air. Inside the mouth, the tongue passes over the Jacobson's organ- a receptor that analyzes different scents.
Large; smooth, shiny scales; distinct light cross bands mainly on the forebody; large head scales edges with black.
The King Cobra is mainly found is Asia, you can find it in clearings, amongst bamboo theckets and in the borders of the forest. In Northern India, the cobra can be found in forest, and up into the foothills of the Himalayas. Cobras can climb trees with ease, but will rarely do so unless chasing his next meal. Cobras can also be found on farmland and in outlying parts of villages. As forest are cleaned, Cobra are increasingly encountered by humans. In India, King Cobras are confined mostly to the dense forests of the Western Ghats and the northern hill forests. Nilgiris, Plains and Western Ghats upto Goa, the Himalayan foot hills (upto 2000 m) starting near Lahore in Pakistan through North Indian to Assam. Forests of Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and the Andamans.
The King Cobra preys on other snakes and lizards. It will attack venomous snakes and nonvenomous ones, such as small pythons. The cobra tracks prey by sight and by tasting the air with it's tongue. It strikes quickly and it's venom paralyzes the victims nervous system. The King Cobra can dislocate it's jaws like other snakes, and gradually work it's meal into its long stomach.
The King Cobra is active by day, it moves quitely through vegetation and deliberately avoids disturbances. If an intruder startles the King Cobra, it rears its head, spreads it's neck to form a hood and sways back and forth. This is intended to intimidate the intruder so the Cobra does not have to strike. If an intruder does not leave when warned the Cobra will strick quickly and deadly. The Cobras bite is little use against birds of prey, which swoop down from behind to strike the snakes head. The Cobra will hide in thickets to avoid these enemies.
Snake Charming in India
Snake charming is fascinating and at times mystifying. The eyes of the Cobra are hauntingly black and hypnotic; the snake is beautiful to watch when it is being worked by a skilled charmer. The hood is then spread and the markings apparent. The colours of the hood merge from black to brown to beige and, when framed against the sunlight, it appears almost translucent. No visit to India is complete without experiencing it.
But the true essence of the art is not observed by the tourist. There are initiates of the Shiva cult who handle Cobras without any danger of being bitten. The Commercial snakes, generally the Spectacled Cobra, have either had their fangs extracted or the poison sacs removed. In general their lifespan is shortened due to mouth rot. The performance, nevertheless, is spectacular and colourful.