King cobra bite: Why it has enough venom to kill 11 people and how to treat it
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As you may not know, the king cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world. Not only can this snake reach a length of nearly 20 feet, but a king cobra has enough venom to kill at least 11 people, or an entire elephant. A single bite will do that – but why do king cobras have so much venom, and how do you treat a king cobra snakebite?
In this article, we'll address all of these questions surrounding the king cobra, including why the bite is so powerful, whether cobras bite repeatedly, and how cobras interact with humans. Let's get started and learn everything you need to know about the world's longest venomous snake!
Why is the king cobra bite so powerful?
The king cobra is considered a very dangerous snake for a number of reasons. Not only is it big and fast, but its bite is capable of incapacitating creatures of all shapes and sizes in an instant. In fact, the king cobra doesn't need to use its body to hold down its prey like other cobras do. Their powerful jaws and level of venom render all prey helpless, without exception.
The king cobra's bite is so powerful because it packs a lot of venom in each bite. While the venom isn't particularly concentrated, and a bite from a black mamba is more severe than a bite from a king cobra, it's the volume of the venom that makes it so dangerous.
How much venom does a king cobra bite have?
A king cobra bite contains as much as 400-500 mg of venom . The average amount of venom needed to kill a rat is just over 1 milligram, so you can only imagine how powerful the common king cobra really is!
However, as mentioned earlier, a king cobra bite contains a lot of venom. That doesn't mean the venom itself is particularly potent or concentrated. If you are bitten by a king cobra, the 400-500 mg of venom is probably not injected. It's possible you could be poisoned by lower concentrations of king cobra venom, but are you willing to take the chance?
Do king cobras bite repeatedly?
There have been very few reports of repeated bites from king cobras. However, it's not beyond the realms of possibility. Often, a single bite from a king cobra is enough to make humans and animals flinch. But if someone doesn't get the message the first time, there's no reason a king cobra shouldn't bite a second time!
While this was not the work of the king cobra, there were reports of another species of cobra biting two brothers, one after the other, while working at a restaurant in Bangladesh. Both were taken to hospital and treated with antivenom, with respiratory complications and skin where they were bitten.
However, considering they were all rushed to the hospital within an hour, they eventually made a full recovery!
All that said, king cobras can bite repeatedly if they want to. But usually one bite is enough. Also, a cobra may want to get rid of a threat, just like you would want to get rid of a venomous snake bite!
What animals does the king cobra prey on?
King cobras often prey on birds, lizards and other snakes. They occasionally hunt rodents, but rats are not their first choice in general. King cobras can climb trees, which means they are often within striking distance of various birds. Given that king cobras can move at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour, it's easy to see how they can catch their nimble and fast prey.
The king cobra is an apex predator, very dominant among snakes except for the large pythons. Its diet consists mainly of other snakes and lizards, including Indian cobras, banded kraits, rat snakes, pythons, green whip snakes, and others. King cobras may also hunt Malabar and hump-nosed rattlesnakes. In some cases, cobras may strangle their prey, but this is uncommon with these types of venomous snakes.
How does the king cobra interact with humans?
Although king cobras are found in a variety of habitats and locations, they are often seen in populated areas. Although living with humans in cities and villages in India and China, the king cobra prefers to stay away from humans. In fact, they'd rather not interact with humans at all if they could!
Humans are the only real threat to adult king cobras, and they know it. Despite their powerful venom and the ability to kill 11 humans with one bite, cobras are very shy. They don't want to bite and will only bite when threatened or threatened at all. However, that doesn't mean they never bite. If a human scares or threatens a king cobra, they should be prepared for a potentially fatal bite!
How do you treat a king cobra snakebite?
King cobra snakebite must be treated with antivenom in a hospital setting. A king cobra's bite isn't just loaded with toxins; these toxins and venom target your heart and lungs. After being bitten by a king cobra, your respiratory system and heart suffer tremendously, and many victims who do not seek medical treatment end up dying of cardiac arrest or respiratory complications.
In fact, an asthma patient was treated in the UK for being bitten by a king cobra. Despite arriving at hospital within twenty minutes of being bitten, the man was admitted to intensive care. They were monitored over 12 hours while receiving antivenom treatment and infusions. They experienced erratic heart rates and respiratory problems, including difficulty swallowing, and they may not have survived without immediate hospital admission.
Although a king cobra doesn't want to bite, it still happens. That's why it's important to seek medical attention if you're bitten by any venomous snake, including one as venomous as a king cobra!
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I am a non-binary freelance writer working full time in Oregon. A graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BA in Theater and a major in Creative Writing, I have an interest in a variety of topics, especially the history of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping on the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my family's kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast-iron skillet.
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