King cobras are active by day and night, but are rarely seen. They hunt by smell, 'tasting' the air with their forked tongues to track their prey.



King cobras shed their skins at the beginning of the breeding season. When the female sheds her skin, a scent or pheromone is released, which attracts a male to her. They may remain entwined for many hours while he fertilises her. Unlike most snakes, king cobras can form stable pairs, and the male and the female may co-operate in searching for a nest. Once a site has been found, the male lurks nearby, ready to fight off any egg-eating predators. About 20-50 white eggs are laid by the female. Newly-hatched king cobras are glossy white with yellow stripes, and are already about 50cm long. They are able to hunt almost immediately.

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