I got lucky to get here just as this big king cobra snake was eating this also big red-tailed racer (rat snake). I was less than 1 foot away from the king cobra here. When snakes are eating there isn't a lot that can bother them. Well, not a lot they can do. Especially when a snake eats a snake and has 2 meters of snake to get down his throat. He still had another meter of this red-tailed racer snake to go and the racer snake's tail was wrapped around a rock. So, it was slow going but this expat in Thailand has time. The red-tailed racer he is eating was one of my favorite snakes here - a BEAUTIFUL snake. They puff up vertically when agitated - opposite of cobras. They are really cool snakes.
Ophiophagus hannah is the scientific name of this impressive snake. They can grow to 6 meters in length and about 55 cm in girth. This is the largest venomous snake in the world. The head is large and has large shield scales. The scales are smooth. Color variation includes brown, olive green, black. There is usually some banding toward the tail-half of the snake. King cobras are active during the day or night, and have a wide range of territory in which they roam - around 10km square. Though it is called a terrestrial snake, you shouldn't be surprised to see it climbing in trees. It is thought to sleep in trees as well as between large rocks. They are said to travel dry streambeds often, and use them as a sort of highway for frequent trips. These cobras have been found up to 2,135 meters in elevation, all the way down to sea-level. They love deep forest, near streams, and bamboo patches. They are primarily snake eaters, but I have seen them eat monitors over 1 meter in length as well. the female builds a nest - usually of piled bamboo leaves - and guards the eggs which has an average of 20-51 eggs. Hatchlings measure 43-48 cm, and are black with yellow or white bands which go from tail to the tip of nose. The large venom glands and thick front fangs on these elapids make a bite from this snake potentially fatal.
Before this snake strikes it hoods and raises up off the ground to a height equal to 1/3 its body length. King cobras range throughout southeast Asia and also inhabit India and southern China.
Anyway. I just lucked into this king cobra chowing down and doing so very close to the fence. I'll post a photo or two at the king cobra page at ThailandSnakes.com because the photos were ultra clear.
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