According to the authoritative Thailand Snakes website the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world’s largest venomous snake. Found across Thailand, the predominantly black with lighter coloured chevron serpent can grow up to 5.7 metres (18.8ft) in length, though the longest caught in Thailand reportedly measured 5.84 metres (19 feet 2 inches).
Tremendously strong and smart, king cobras are very fast moving and cable of injecting up to 7 ml of venom with one bite, with the venom of younger king cobras more toxic than older. Vern Lovic, owner of Thailand Snakes website, reports of knowing a man “whose brother was bitten on the upper arm/shoulder and died in less than 10 minutes on the way to hospital”. They can (and supposedly have) killed elephants.
With such knowledge it makes what you see in the above video even more chilling and something you should never try and do yourself if you happen across a king cobra.
In the video above a man grasps a king cobra on the side of a trail somewhere in Southern Thailand by the tail and pulls it into a clearing. The snake immediately rises its head off the ground, flaring its hood and displaying its distinctive golden-yellow throat.
The Thai snake whisperer stands over the snake, gently speaking to it. At first the snake stands erect, a sprung-coil like tenseness evident even from the cell phone video. The Thai snake whisperer continues seducing the snake with his softly spoken words and gradually it relaxes, sinking back closer to the ground.
While still firmly grasping the snake’s tail, the Thai snake whisperer bends forward to rub its erect head and flared hood, gently pushing it to the ground before quickly grasping it tightly around the base of the head.
To the terrifying screams of children and with frightened villages giving him a plenty of space, the Thai snake whisper carries the snake to the roadway where he squirts water from his mouth onto his head – whether in some form of ritual or simply to revive it is unknown – before laying it on the road where it’s impressive length is adequately displayed.
Sadly the number of king cobra’s in Thailand is being rapidly depleted to service the demands of the Thailand tourism sector.
Having seen dozens of king cobra’s churned through one of dozens of snake shows across Thailand, Mr Lovic says on his website that ‘the Thailand tourism sector could use 600 or more adult king cobra’s a year. Hundreds more, perhaps thousands per year more, are killed by people that come across them for food or out of fear.
Assessed as Vulnerable in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Mr Lovic says ‘king cobras are disappearing from the wild at a frightening rate.’
‘I hope the IUCN Red List updates their listing for Ophiophagus hannah and assigns a label more serious than ‘Vulnerable’; Something drastic is needed to save the country of Thailand’s wild king cobras before they disappear like they did in Penang, Malaysia’, he says.
Feature video Supplied
- KING COBRA – LARGEST VENOMOUS SNAKE IN WORLD (Thailand Snakes)
- PYTHONS STRIKE SAME TOILET TWICE (PHOTOS) (Khaosod English)
- ‘Uninvited’ snake hitches a ride in driver’s side mirror (UPI)