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  • Writer's pictureVedant N.

King Cobra vs Python - Who Would Win?

King cobra vs Python. Who would win a fight between these two snakes?

The king cobra and the python are two of the world's largest and most deadly snakes. The king cobra, as the world's longest and most venomous snake, can easily bring an elephant down.

Similarly, the reticulated python is the world's longest-living snake species, capable of quickly squeezing prey, including humans, to death. Despite their unfriendly reputation, some people look after them as pets. In terms of distinctions, pythons are nonvenomous constrictors, but the king cobra is known for its lethal toxin. In addition, pythons are often larger, longer, and have better camouflage, whereas king cobras are far more agile.

Size and Appearance

The King Cobra snake is the largest of the venomous land snakes, reaching lengths of up to 18.5 feet and a neck width of up to 1 foot. King Cobras, on the other hand, are typically thin and weigh no more than 20 kilograms. A third of the King Cobra's body can be lifted off the ground. Like other snakes with the name cobra, the King Cobra may flatten its neck, giving it a distinctive hood. When threatened or attacked, the King Cobra would hiss, rear up, and compress its neck ribs into the hood. Even though their scaly skin gleams, it is dry to the touch. Cobras can be yellow, green, brown, or black as adults. The color of their throat is light yellow or cream.

King Cobra vs Python
King Cobra

The Pythonidae family includes some of the world's largest snakes. Most pythons are huge snakes that can grow to be over 30 feet long, such as the reticulated python. Different python species have a vast range of colors and sizes. Coloration can range from highly patterned scales, like those on the Burmese python, to solid brown to bright green, depending on their local surroundings and requirement for camouflage. Pythons are hefty for their size, regardless of length. They have triangular heads with sharp, backward-curving teeth, which they employ to catch prey. The teeth of arboreal pythons are longer than those of terrestrial pythons.

King Cobra

Reticulated Python


14-18.5 feet

16-30 feet


20 kilograms

80-140 kilograms


The King Cobra snake can be found across much of continental Southeast Asia, as well as in dense highland forests. Because it is a superb swimmer, the King Cobra prefers to live in places with lakes and streams. Because of the deforestation of trees, King Cobra populations have dwindled in several sections of their habitat. According to legend, the King Cobra is the only snake that builds nests for its eggs. Nagaraj, or 'the King of Snakes,' is a popular Hindu figure in India.

King Cobra vs Python
King Cobra - Hindu figure "Nagraj"

Pythons prefer to live in warm, rainy regions in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Australia. Rain forests are home to many species, but pythons can also be found in grasslands, woodlands, marshes, rocky outcrops, dunes, and shrubs. Depending on the species, pythons seek refuge in hollows, under rocks, abandoned mammal burrows, and tree branches. Pythons have become accustomed to refuge amid urban garbage and farmland as people have constructed python habitats. One species of python has built its home in the Western Hemisphere, despite being native to the Old World. The Burmese python is an invasive species that has been detected in Florida, where it is successfully breeding.


King Cobra are ophiophagous, meaning they prey on other snake species, especially venomous snakes. Rat snakes, pythons, other cobras, kraits, and pit vipers are some of their most common prey. When food is sparse, they eat rodents, small mammals, reptiles, birds, and other tiny animals. They hunt by following their prey's olfactory trail. Because snakes have such slow metabolic rates, a good-sized meal can keep them going for months.

Pythons are known for squeezing their live victim to death slowly. Pythons usually consume tiny mammals like mice, but they have also been known to kill and eat larger creatures like pigs. To kill their prey, they swiftly grab a living animal with their jaws and begin wrapping their bodies around it. This is referred to as constriction. When the animal has suffocated and its bones have been crushed, the python stops constriction. The python's mouth is then unhinged, and it begins to swallow its victim head-first. The snake's muscles work together to push the food down the length of the snake's body and digest the animal.

Behavior in Wild

King cobras are solitary reptiles who only congregate to breed. They're active during the day, but they're also visible at night. Like other snakes, king cobras get chemical information through their forked tongue, which picks up fragrance particles and transmits them to a sensory receptor in the roof of their mouth. When irritated, King cobras prefer to flee rather than face confrontation. However, if they are repeatedly provoked, they can become extremely hostile. When scared, they stretch their neck and rear up the anterior portion of their body, exposing their fangs and hissing loudly. When faced with a natural predator that is resistant to the neurotoxins, such as the mongoose, King cobras usually try to run.

King Cobra vs Python

Pythons move by scooting forward in a straight path due to their size. The movement is known as "rectilinear progression." Pythons raise their belly and push themselves forward by stiffening their ribs against the ground for support. Pythons can only move at a speed of 1.6 kilometers per hour. Many python species are adept swimmers, while others prefer to live in the trees. Pythons, unlike their near relatives, the boas, lay eggs. The fact that most python mothers stay coiled over their eggs to protect them while they develop is very remarkable. When the temperature drops too low, the mothers of larger species "shiver" to warm their eggs.

Final Verdict - King Cobra vs Python

Now let’s see, who would win a fight, between a King Cobra, and a Python?

The King Cobra, like one of the Elapids, kills its victim by injecting venom through its hollow fangs, whereas pythons rely on their ability to camouflage, wait, and constrict their prey. Cobras can also move quickly due to their small size; hence they are known to chase and follow their prey. The python is undoubtedly the winner in terms of size; it is much longer but considerably heavier than the King cobra.

The venom sack of a King Cobra is enormous and contains venom. Although not the most effective venom in comparison to other poisonous species, the sheer quantity in its sack should be enough to kill a python in less than 30 minutes. In contrast, a python must rely on its weight and muscle to asphyxiate a cobra.

Although it appears that both will kill each other at first glance, the scenario is straightforward: the king cobra, being more agile, will bite the python, and the latter will simply catch and crush the cobra. They were both killed in the end. However, snakes, unlike warm-blooded animals, are cold-blooded and have a slow metabolism. For example, the head of a severed rattlesnake can survive for up to 3 hours after the trauma. This is because snakes require less food and oxygen to carry out their biological functions.

To slowly kill King Cobra, the python must grab the king for at least 3 hours, which is implausible because pythons cannot tighten their muscles for hours. Python muscles are designed to contract and retain prey with a high metabolic rate, similar to warm-blooded animals that die from a lack of oxygen in 5 to 15 minutes.

A five-foot-long python once gripped a 17-foot-long cobra for more than two hours. After plunging his venomous fangs into the python, the king cobra let go and slithered away into a nearby pond. The python, though, was relatively small in this case. However, I believe the scales are tipped in favor of the cobra.


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