Nature’s creatures have been using chemical warfare for millions of years. Perhaps the most notorious of all venomous snakes, the king cobra packs a potent bite. Just one injection of its lethal venom is strong enough to bring an elephant to the ground.
Serpents defend themselves, strike prey and inject victims in a variety of ways. And the king cobra is widely recognized around the globe for its iconic hood and terrifying hiss. But this cobra’s defensive responses are not just smoke and mirrors – these fierce predators can deliver a bite with enough toxins to kill 20 people.
The king cobra thrives in the forests and lands of southern Asia, where it hunts snakes, lizards, eggs and small mammals. “They are the largest of the venomous snakes,” says Matt Evans, biologist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. “They are the dominant snake in their habitat, reaching upwards of 15 feet in length. King cobras are incredibly quick moving and aggressive snakes… They are also great at picking up visual cues.”
King cobras often watch for potential prey from tree limbs – they can even spot quarry from nearly 300 feet away. These renowned serpents also detect movements through ground vibrations. And once they pinpoint their next meal, these fast moving cobras can strike from over three feet away. With its deadly fangs and potent poison, the king cobra delivers more venom than almost any other snake on the planet.
Once the venom enters the prey’s nervous system, it quickly becomes dizzy, and then sleepy, until finally – full body paralysis. Then the king cobra expands its jaws and swallows its prey whole.
Watch World’s Deadliest Predator Weapons Sunday July 25 7P et to learn more about nature’s most common and powerful predators and their weapons of choice.