The king cobra is distinguishable from other cobras, most noticeably by its size and neck patterns.
King cobras are the longest of all venomous snakes. Their average size is 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 meters), but they can reach 18 feet (5.4 meters).
Their venom is not the most potent among venomous snakes, but a single bite can deliver up to two-tenths of a fluid ounce of neurotoxin, enough to kill 20 people, or an elephant. The venom causes respiratory arrest and cardiac failure. Fortunately, king cobras are shy and avoid humans whenever possible.
King cobras are listed as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction. They face numerous threats from humans. The habitats of many king cobras in Southeast Asia have been destroyed by deforestation. Large numbers are killed for skin, food, and medicinal purposes. Many are collected for the international pet trade and they are further persecuted by humans who fear their menacing reputation.