The king cobra is active during the day and is not particularly aggressive, with their first response to threats being to flee, unless the animal in question is a nesting female, in which case they attack very readily. They are specialists in hunting other cold-blooded animals, particularly other snakes. Most of the snakes they hunt are not venomous and include rat snakes and pythons under 10 feet in length.
The king cobra ranges from northern India down through southern China and to the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines. Their preferred habitats are near streams in forests, bamboo thickets, agricultural lands and swamps. It is a large species with rare individuals reaching 18 feet in length, though they average between 10 and 12 feet. Their coloration varies, including black, yellow and white, often with chevron patterns.
Because they are not generally aggressive, king cobras are not a huge threat to humans, but they are very dangerous when they do bite. They possess a potent neurotoxin that attacks the brain and shuts down respiratory centers there. Death, when it occurs, comes from respiratory and cardiac failure, and depending on location, can happen very quickly. However, first aid treatments can prevent death and existing anti-venom is very effective.