King cobra facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
King cobra
The king cobra
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Ophiophagus
Binomial name
Ophiophagus hannah

The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), or hamadryad, is in the Elapidae family of snakes. It is the longest venomous snake in the world. An adult king cobra can grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m), though most are less than 12 feet.

The king cobra lives thoughout India and in some parts of the south and the east of Asia. It is known around the world for its dangerous venom. It mostly avoids humans. The king cobra lives up to 20 years.

The king cobra lives in thick forests, and likes areas dotted with lakes and streams.

It eats mostly snakes but sometimes lizards and rodents. After a large meal it may live months before eating again.

The Indian grey mongoose is one of the few predators of the king cobra but may not attack them much.


The venom from a bite can be deadly. The snake can kill a man with a single bite. The mortality rate can be as high as 75% without antivenom.

There are two kinds of antivenom that can be used to help when someone is bitten. Bites do not happen often, snake handlers are most likely to be bitten.


Unlike many snakes the female king cobra is very good parent. It makes a mound as a nest for its eggs and protects them for 60-90 days until they hatch. It lays 20-40 eggs. The mother stays until the eggs begin to hatch and then leaves to find food for herself. Baby king cobras are 18–22 inches (460–560 mm) and have venom as strong as adults.

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King cobra Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.