How Long Does A King Cobras live and Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 18th, 2022

Cobras are among the most recognizable snakes on the planet, with their frightening hoods and imposing erect postures. However, their beauty, arrogance, and poisonous bite have earned them admiration and dread.

The most poisonous and lethal snake on the planet is the king cobra. It is, however, a snake that will not attack unless provoked or attacked. The king cobra, which is larger and more dangerous than any other poisonous snake, can kill creatures hundreds of times its size. 

King cobra, Ophiophagus hannah is a venomous snake species of elapids endemic to jungles in Southern and Southeast Asia, goa India

This reptile may remain in the wild for decades because of its big size, protective attitude, potent venom, and capacity to reproduce in great numbers.

The scientific name for King Cobras

Ophiophagus hannah is the scientific term for a king cobra. Hannah is a reference to a Greek fable about tree-dwelling fairies. Ophiophagus means “snake eater.” The king cobra is a snake that feeds on other snakes and spends much of its time in trees.

Forest cobras, Ashe’s spitting cobras, Mozambique cobras, and Indian cobras are just a few of the 20 cobra species. The genus Naja, or true cobras,’ includes these.

King Cobra’s average life expectancy

A king cobra’s average lifespan in the wild is 17 to 20 years, while it may be longer in captivity, away from the stressors and hazards of the outside world. They are frequently seen in zoos, where they are protected from predators such as other snakes and animals such as the mongoose they would encounter in the wild. However, the oldest king cobra ever reported was 22 years old.

Cycle of life

A king cobra’s breeding season lasts from January through April. When a male king cobra is attracted to a female, it uses its head to push her around. If there are other male king cobras around, they wrestle, and the stronger one mates with the female. 

The king cobra is a monogamous species, staying with the same mate each breeding season. As a result, it is the only snake that creates a nest for its eggs. As a result, its yearly mating process can yield up to 50 eggs each time she is impregnated, allowing her to give birth to hundreds of kids. 

The eggs are jealously protected by their mothers, but they swiftly learn to defend themselves once the babies are born. They are born with venom and are abandoned by their moms just as they are about to hatch. This early introduction to self-sufficiency helps king cobras prepare for a lifetime of survival.

Hatchlings are the young of the king cobra. Each hatchling might weigh anything from half an ounce to an ounce and a half. They are typically 12 to 29 inches long and have a vibrant color scheme. This serves as a deterrent to predators. 

Their scales change from dark brown to black to green as they mature. After hatching, they leave the nest to find prey and live alone. A hatchling’s venom is just as potent as an adult king cobra.

Intimidating posture

Like all cobra species, the king cobra may flatten down its cervical ribs in the neck area, giving the snake the appearance of a hood. When the king cobra senses danger, it will do this, and a pair of black spots on the hood might trick a prospective predator into believing they are the cobra’s eyes, causing the predator to become unnerved. 

When confronted with a threat, the king cobra may raise the upper part of its body above the ground. Then, to ward off its attacker, the snake will hiss. As a final option, it will use its fangs to attack.


The king cobra’s venom is a neurotoxic substance that affects the neurological system and can cause a victim’s heart to stop beating. The king cobra’s venom comprises polypeptides and proteins produced in specific glands behind the eyes. When the snake bites, the venom rushes from the fangs into the bite location, quickly incapacitating its prey.


The king cobra’s food consists primarily of other snake species, although it will sometimes devour its kind. In addition, small rodents like rats and mice, as well as lizards, will be added to the king cobra’s diet. 

Because snakes cannot chew their food, they rely on powerful stomach acids to break down and digest their meal. As a result, they like to hunt during the day and rarely venture out at night.

Weight and measurement

The biggest king cobras may reach 18.5 feet in length, although the average king cobra is between 12 and 15 feet long. The average weight of a king cobra is around 44 pounds.


The number of king cobras in the wild is unknown. But it’s now considered a vulnerable species. Its population is rapidly dwindling. The population of this snake faces two primary threats: habitat loss and poaching. As a result, it is listed as an endangered species in India.

Interesting facts about king cobras

Highly intelligent

King cobras have excellent vision and are highly clever creatures. For example, they can see and focus on their target from three hundred feet away. They are also said to have fantastic memory.

Profound neurotoxin

They generally pursue other snakes and smaller animals, and their neurotoxins are pretty potent. For example, a single bite from a king cobra is enough to kill a giant elephant, and a single bite may also kill up to 30 people at once.


They stare at their opponents before attacking and begin hissing threateningly. The king cobra consumes all of its prey after biting it, and its toxins aid digestion. Their jaws are highly flexible, with lower jawbones that may move independently of higher jawbones.

Only a few forms of anti-venom exist for treating intoxications and bites from king cobras. Thailand manufactures one form of anti-venom, whereas India manufactures the other.

Skin color 

The skin of a king cobra is ordinarily black or olive green, with golden cross bars on its body.

Final thoughts

To answer the question: the average life expectancy of king cobras is around 17 to 20 years. But the oldest one ever recorded lived for up to 22 years. 


Editorial Staff

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