The following video is brought to you courtesy of the They will Kill You YouTube Channel. Click the video below to watch it now.
? NEW MERCH AVAILABLE: https://theywillkillyou.com/
Follow us on Instagram: @theywillkillyou
Voiceover by Carl Mason: [email protected]
The Ophiophagus hannah, or King Cobra, is one of the world’s most venomous animals. This serpent usually preys on other smaller snakes and lizards, as well as tiny mammals such as rats and mice. Surprisingly, for such a dangerous predator, it tends to be quite timid in nature. It avoids human beings altogether unless confronted or attacked. However, if it feels intimidated, it might lunge at the perceived threat. King Cobras are massive, capable of growing from 10.4 to 13.1 ft. There’s a record-breaking specimen that was measured at an impressive 19.2 feet, making it the longest venomous snake in the world. Its skin is usually a dark shade of green, adorned with black and white circles all over its body, with the exception of the head. A King Cobra’s mouth is rounded, and it contains two large fangs through which the venom is injected. The King Cobra also has several more teeth. Its lower jaw features two separate rows. Meanwhile, it has two to five gnashers on its upper jaw. Like all other species of snakes, it can unhinge its jaws to swallow its prey whole. Though it can technically hunt during the night, it’s mainly a diurnal predator. These cobras can go for months without hunting down new prey, as they must wait for the previous one to be completely ingested. Their metabolic rate is incredibly slow, and so a single hunt is enough to keep them satisfied for a long while. Their most reliable senses are, without a doubt, their taste and touch. Using their tongue, they detect particles in the air. That way, they can discover hidden prey almost 330 feet away. This is why the King Cobra and other snakes frequently flicker their forked tongues.
The King Cobra usually inhabits forests and lives primarily in South and Southeast Asia, namely India, Nepal, China, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore. It’s India’s national reptile and featured heavily in folk stories and mythologies in the region. Because its natural habitat is being destroyed, it’s considered a vulnerable animal by the IUCN. This is a direct consequence of the severe deforestation occurring in its regional environment. They’re also hunted down by poachers who use their skin and venom in traditional medicine, especially in China. In India, people can spend up to 6 years in jail if discovered hunting the King Cobra. As mentioned before, the King Cobra isn’t a particularly aggressive animal. That being said, it can be vicious when protecting its nest. Their hiss is so low pitched that people often describe it as sounding like a growl. It has a lower frequency than the hisses given out by other species of snakes. When it’s about to attack, the cobra tends to raise half of its body above the ground. This is heavily associated with snake charmers who make the serpent seemingly dance.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s a distinction to make between venomous and poisonous. An animal is venomous if their venom affects you through their sting or their bite. Meanwhile, an animal, or plant, is poisonous if, when you eat it, its poison affects your body. The King Cobra lunges at its prey only when it feels threatened. It can hold its bite down for up to 8 minutes. It can also bite several times in a single lunge. Its fangs release venom that includes cytotoxins and neurotoxins. These are chemicals that affect the cells and nerves, respectively. Cytotoxins are actually used to fight cancerous cells.
Anti-venom is used as a first measure to treat the King Cobra’s bite. Usually, a bite should require high doses. To put it in perspective, this snake can produce enough venom to take an elephant in little more than 3 hours. It’s essential to keep the affected area immobilized. When possible, bandage the limb up and keep the bandages tight. The treatment with a sprained ankle is the perfect example. The most effective anti-venom is the Polyvalent. It has been proven to neutralize the effects of the King Cobra’s venom. There are other potential treatments used around the world. Turmeric root is ingested in Thailand to create a resistance to the toxins. It’s usually eaten by snake charmers.