King Cobra ( Ophiophagus hannah Cantor, 1836 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Ophiophagus hannah (Cantor, 1836)
Regional Names: 
Kannada: 
ಕಾಳಿಂಗ ಸರ್ಪ
English: 
Hamadryad
Photographs: 
Kerala
Distribution: 
Found in low to moderate elevation up to 2005 meter. Widely distributed from India (the westernmost limit) to many South-east Asian countries. In India it has been recorded from Goa; Western Ghats of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu; east coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha; Sundarban mangroves; Himalayan foothills from Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern parts of West Bengal to most of the north-east region and Andaman Islands. Type locality Sundarbans. Also found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Venom Type: 
Neurotoxic
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Due to very large and heavy body marked with light bands it can be easily identified. 

Description: 

New born- 43-50cm.
Average length- 300cm (10ft).
Maximum length- 5850cm (19.19ft).
individuals above 450cm (15ft) are not common in India.

Dorsal -
Body very long, slender and covered with large size smooth scales. Dorsal color variable according to geographical locations which includes gray, black, dark olive green, yellowish-brown with yellow or white bands throughout the body. Population of far North-east have almost patternless appearance of bluish-black. Population of Andaman Islands of rusty-brown color with or without bands. Bands of hood region are inverted V shaped and known for having characteristic to recognize each individual.

Ventral -
Belly color usually pale yellow or grayish with dark shades on edge of many ventrals. underside of hood have extensions of dorsal coloration which is characteristic to recognize different individuals.

Head -
Head large with rounded snout, covered with large shields and slightly broader than neck. Color similar to dorsal scales and usually have no patterns on top; light forms often bear black edge. Large eyes have rounded pupil.

Tail -
Long tail ends with pointed tip. Bands found in dorsal body continues till the end of it.

Scalation
Head: 
Scalation almost similar like Asian Najas. Presence of large occipital scales behind parietal scales is characteristic of this species which are not found in other "Cobras" of Naja genus.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 17/19:15:15 rows.
Ventral: 
240-254.
Sub Caudal: 
84-104; anterior scales undivided, posterior scales divided.
Diet: 
Feeds on all other snakes as major prey. Also feeds on monitor lizards as occasional diet.
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