The king cobra may be the longest of all venomous snakes, but that's not the reason for its regal title. The "king" in "king cobra" -- and in "kingsnake," as well -- simply means that those snake species will sometimes devour other snakes. King cobras also eat lizards, bird eggs, and rodents, but they often turn their hungry eyes towards other snakes, especially nonvenomous rat snakes and small pythons, as well as venomous true cobras and kraits. Luckily for people, these royally-named snakes are pretty shy and try to avoid humans whenever possible.
Slither and yon:
- Cobras are basically deaf and can only be "charmed" because they are responding to the vibrations made by musical instruments.
- The most venomous snake in the world is arguably the inland taipan, but it lives in remote areas of Australia and is almost never encountered by people.
- Although snakes do have nostrils, they smell with their tongues, licking particles from the air and identifying them in their vomeronasal systems.