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The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is an elapid found predominantly in forests from India through Southeast Asia. This species is the world's longest venomous snake, with a length up to 18.5 to 18.8 ft (5.6 to 5.7 m). Despite the word "cobra" in its common name, this snake is not a member of the Naja genus ("true cobras"), which contains most cobra species, but the sole member of its own genus. It preys chiefly on other snakes and occasionally on some other vertebrates, such as lizards and rodents. The king cobra is considered to be a dangerous snake and has a fearsome reputation in its range, although it typically avoids confrontation with humans if possible. It is also considered culturally significant, with many legends and associations with Hindu gods around it in some Indian subcontinent cultures.
The king cobra is distributed across the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the southern areas of East Asia (where it is not common), in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It lives in dense highland forests, preferring areas dotted with lakes and streams. King cobra populations have dropped in some areas of its range because of the destruction of forests and ongoing collection for the international pet trade. It is listed as an Appendix II animal within CITES.
A wild King Cobra which was rescued by the authorised Snake Rescue experts from Kalinga Centre for Rainforest Ecology.