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King Cobra Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

If there's a type of king you never want to meet, it's the king cobra. This long, venomous snake is usually shy, but if it feels threatened, it stands up and flairs its neck muscles to scare off its enemies. Learn more about this deadly predator.

Look Out for The King Cobra

The king cobra is a venomous (pronounced VEN-uh-muss) snake. A venomous snake's bite contains a poisonous fluid called venom. The king cobra's bite is so deadly that it could kill an elephant. So, you'll likely want to stay away from them. But unless you live in India or southern Asia, you don't have anything to worry about.

The king cobra is a venomous snake
king cobra

What Does It Look Like?

King cobras average about 13 feet, but they can grow to be 18 feet in length. If that snake stood up on its tail, it would be taller as three six-foot tall men standing on each other's shoulders. The weight of an adult king cobra ranges from 15 to 20 pounds.

A king cobra showing off its hood
king cobra

When a king cobra feels threatened, it makes itself look bigger by spreading special muscles and bones around its neck to create something called a hood. It then gives out a loud hiss, to warn whoever's nearby that they shouldn't come any closer.

Even though a king cobra doesn't have any feet, it can lift up the head-end of its body as if it's standing up. It's so good at this that it could raise up a few feet or more and look you in the eye!

Did you ever see a snake charmer raise a snake up with a flute out of a container? The king cobra's ability to lift its body straight up and flare its neck makes it a favorite snake for snake charmers.

A king cobra can raise its body off the ground
king cobra

All king cobras are covered in scales, but their color and markings vary depending on where they live. Their bellies are usually a shade of yellow, but their backs can be black, brown, tan, or olive-green.

Habitat of the King Cobra

King cobras live in the rain forests, swamps and grasslands of southern Asia, including India and China. They are shy snakes and try to hide from sight, but they can be spotted hanging out in the trees or slithering along the ground or in the water.

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