National Geographic : 2001 Nov
THE FOREST'S DEADLY KING Where the king cobra resides, no smaller snake of any species is safe. 0. hannah, a formidable ground hunter, normally feeds on others of its kind. In Langkawi, Malaysia, I witnessed a victim being swallowed (below), the cobra's visible trachea allowing it to breathe despite a mouthful. In a behavior unlike other snakes, a female king rounds up leaf litter with her body to build a nest and may defend a small territory around it. She injects her potent neurotoxin in copious amounts through relatively small fangs (about ten millimeters long). Her hatchlings-usually numbering between 20 and 40-emerge already loaded with poison, which increases in quantity as they attain the great lengths (up to 18 feet) for which the kings are known.