'Willot told me that the only way to catch a king cobra alive is to sneak up on it and grab it by the back of the head. This is despite his own maxim that you should always keep the biting end as far away as possible. Which is doable with a smaller Chinese cobra, but with the king, “It would be like trying to catch a lion by its tale.”
The snake is aptly named, everything about it is regal, its bulk, length that can reach 6 meters, its dreadful fangs, the threatening hood. But its name comes from its dominance over other snakes. It lives off other predators.
The reptile can live for twenty years. It is the only snake species known to build a nest, and show maternal care over its young. The male builds the nest and the female defends it aggressively. In attack it is as if a two meter snake stands up and shoots forward, when in fact that is only the first third of its six meter body. It has unusually good eye-sight, which it uses to stare-out any threat, and it “hears” movement through vibrations in the ground.
People in Hong Kong have had the snake rise to them to look into their eyes, dogs have been bitten and killed, houses have been infested, and yet recent records show no deaths from the species. It has killed here before but the snake has a paradoxical status as potentially the most dangerous in the world, yet a reluctant attacker. It is as if the species has learned that scaring the crap out of people is as good a defense as actually having to kill them.
Their poison is different from the pit-viper’s blood-thinning agent. It acts instead on the nervous system, causing paralysis and a quicker death, usually by asphyxiation from failed respiratory muscles.'