Ophiophagus – King cobra

Just like there’s only one king, there’s only King cobra in this genus

Ophiophagus, a name that translates to “snake-eater,” is the genus assigned to one of the most iconic snakes in the world, the King Cobra. The King Cobra is the world’s largest venomous snake and one of the most fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom. The size of the head of a fully grown King Cobra can indeed be as large as a grown man’s hand, a testament to its impressive size.

King Cobras can reach lengths of up to 5.5 meters (18 feet), making them the longest venomous snakes. Despite their formidable size and potent venom, capable of killing an elephant with a single bite, King Cobras are more cautious and tend to avoid humans. They have a reputation for being aggressive, but this is a misconception. They are reclusive and would rather retreat than confront a human.

However, if they find themselves cornered or if they are protecting their eggs, King Cobras can become defensive and may strike. When threatened, they can raise up to one-third of their body off the ground, spread their iconic hood, and emit a bone-chilling hiss. This intimidating display is usually enough to deter any would-be predators or threats.

King Cobras are found in various South and Southeast Asian habitats, including forests, mangroves, and swamps. They are incredibly versatile and have been known to swim in rivers and climb trees. Their diet primarily consists of other snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, which is where their genus name, Ophiophagus, comes from.