The primary diets of a King Cobra are lizards, rodents, and other snakes. They are a key predator of both venomous and non-venomous snakes in the wild. King Cobras are also notorious for cannibalizing their own kind.
Some of the notable snakes they eat are pythons, rat snakes, banded kraits, and more. They also eat lizards. If there is no abundance of snakes, they will eat birds and other small vertebrates.
Foods That King Cobras Eat
Since King Cobras prefer snakes, one should not be surprised that its menu is comprised mainly of other snakes. King Cobras have extremely potent venom that can kill other snakes very quickly.
Read More: 13 Crazy Snakes That Eat Other Snakes
Although lizards are not their favorites, King Cobras will eat them if they need to feed. King Cobras will eat monitor lizards in the wild, and there is even documented evidence that they eat lizard prey alive.
The King Cobra is the favorite of snake charmers in India because of its size. They can grow up to 18 feet long, allowing them to tackle lizards that are too large for other snake species.
Read More: Can Snakes Eat Lizards?
Although pythons are huge, they may be no match to a cobra because a cobra has venom. Pythons are powerful, but they are not immune to the venom of a King Cobra.
On some occasions, a python may win the battle. There are occurrences where the python manages to coil itself around the cobra’s neck and head. Pythons are capable of killing King Cobras, but it is a matter of luck.
Cobras may also feed on Python Eggs if they are left unattended.
3. Rat Snake
Rat snakes are non-venomous and can grow up to five feet long. Their small size and the absence of venom make them perfect prey for King Cobras, who will seek out and hunt down rat snakes.
This feeding habit is problematic, as rat snakes typically stay close to human habitats. They feed on many types of rodents, which are common in populated areas.
This means that harmless snakes near human populations can attract more dangerous snakes like the King Cobra that feeds on other snake species.
Read More: Rat Snake Diet
4. Malabar Pit Viper
This viper is a venomous one that is known for its ambush hunting style. It is native to Southwestern India, and there are no other subspecies of this snake.
Since the King Cobra is common to the same country, it is not unusual for it to hunt this viper down. A Malabar pit viper is nocturnal, but the King Cobra has no problem hunting it down during the day.
5. King Cobras
King Cobras are cannibals. They are known to eat other King Cobras too. When they face an adult, they either wrestle with a fellow male or mate with a female.
On some occasions, a male King Cobra is going to eat a female one if the female is pregnant. The theory is that they want to destroy the male rival’s offspring.
Do King Cobras Eat Other Snakes?
Yes, one fascinating thing about King Cobras is that their diet mainly consists of other snakes and even their own kind.
King Cobras are not afraid to hunt down all types of snakes. The way they do it is through tracking the pheromones that other snakes leave in their trail.
Do King Cobras Eat King Cobras?
Yes, King Cobras are cannibals. They eat fellow King Cobras. The usual scenario is that they eat female King Cobras that are pregnant from another male. Scientists agree that they do this to ensure they destroy the other male’s progeny.
King Cobras are big, with an average size of eight to ten feet. The largest ones are 18 feet. They are highly agile on the ground, so other snakes, even their kind, cannot out-slither them. Most of the time, they prey on smaller rivals.
Do King Cobras Eat Pythons?
Yes, King Cobras eat pythons. King Cobras specialize in eating many kinds of snakes. In the wild, it is possible for a python to win a battle against a cobra.
Pythons can grow big, but their only power is limited to their muscle. Pythons have no venom, so they must make an accurate attack on the cobra’s neck and then constrict it. If the python fails to subdue a cobra, then it is going to be the cobra’s dinner.
Do King Cobras Eat Humans?
No, King Cobras don’t eat humans, but they can kill humans with their potent venom.
A King cobra may be huge, but it does not have a huge mouth. To be able to swallow a human, an animal must be able to open its jaws wide enough to fit a human’s shoulders.
Humans shoulders are broad and are positioned at a right angle against the neck and head. Therefore, there is no way a human will fit in King Cobra’s mouth, even if the human is a baby.
The same principle applies to other snakes, even the largest ones like the pythons, boas, and anacondas. If anything, the Titanoboa is possibly the only snake that can eat a human as its mouth can open up to three feet wide.
Do King Cobras Eat Monkeys?
King Cobras do not eat monkeys. They do not have the size to fit a monkey in their mouths. It is the same reason they prey on smaller animals, mostly other snakes.
Some snakes, on the other hand, can eat monkeys. There are videos of pythons eating monkeys in India. There is also evidence of boas eating howler monkeys. Boa constrictors as short as six feet can succeed in hunting monkeys and eat them.
King Cobras are carnivores, just like all snakes. However, they are scary because of many things. They are venomous, can grow up to 18 feet long, and will eat other snakes. They also eat other mammals if they cannot find snakes to feed on.
While a King Cobra may represent evil, it is a fundamental predator in an ecosystem. It does eradicate its area of the habitat of other snakes, both venomous and not. Thus, keeping the balance. However, a Cobra has slow metabolism and may not eat for several weeks or months after a full meal.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.