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Academic & Professional Books  Reptiles & Amphibians  Reptiles

King Cobra Natural History and Captive Management

Handbook / Manual Monograph
By: Tom Charlton(Author), Romulus Whitaker(Foreword By)
151 pages, 146 colour photos and 1 colour map
King Cobra
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  • King Cobra ISBN: 9789838121835 Hardback Apr 2018 In stock
Price: £51.99
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About this book

The king cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world, is widely distributed across much of tropical and subtropical Asia. Its generic name Ophiophagus ('snake-eater') is indicative of its cannibalistic tendencies; its diet is comprised almost exclusively of snakes, including its own kind. The enormous lengths that the king cobra can reach, combined with an intimidating threat display and possession of highly neurotoxic venom, have led to it being greatly feared by many. It is widely considered as one of the most formidable snakes in the world.

However, whilst undoubtedly dangerous when provoked, the king cobra is undeserving of its fearsome reputation. Research has shown it to be an extremely shy and elusive reptile exhibiting fascinating behavioural traits, some of which are totally unique within the world of snakes. Even after more than 180 years since the king cobra was first described in 1836, many of its secrets are yet to be revealed. Importantly, monitoring of wild populations has shown signs of rapid decline in numbers in many areas, and so continued conservation efforts are required to secure the reign of the king cobra across its distribution.

King Cobra, profusely illustrated with excellent photographs from a number of very talented photographers, details the natural history of the king cobra, looking closely at all aspects of its life including distribution, diet, reproduction and venom, as well as its relationship with humans and conservation. The author also provides notes on the captive management of the king cobra, drawing on his experience of maintaining and breeding this species for a number of years.


Part One: The natural history of the King Cobra
    The King Cobra
        – Hamadryad – An early description
        – The Elapids
        – Description and colour variations
        – Differentiating King Cobras from Asiatic true cobras and other Asian snakes
        – Size and life span
        – Questioning the validity of the famous record-sized king cobra
    Distribution, habitat and climate
        Population range
        Habitat and climate
    Behaviours and habits
        Defensive behaviours
    Diet and feeding
    Relationship with humans
    Status and conservation
    Bites and venom
        First aid for the bite from a King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah
        Venom delivery, composition and effects

Part Two: The King Cobra in captivity
        Wild-caught vs captive-bred
        Handling equipment
    Housing and environment
        Housing juveniles
        Housing adults
        Water and hydration
        Heating and temperature
        Lighting and photoperiod
        Snakes vs rodents
        Converting a snake-eater to a rodent-feeder
        Meal size and frequency
        Feeding enrichment
    Captive reproduction
        Environmental cycling
        Egg development, nesting and ovipositio
        Incubation and egg management
        Nest incubation
    Hatchling care
        Feeding hatchlings
    Common health ailments
        Rostral abrasions
        Retained shed and eye-caps
        Mites and ticks
        Mouth rot
        Respiratory infections
    General index
    Index to scientific names

Customer Reviews

Handbook / Manual Monograph
By: Tom Charlton(Author), Romulus Whitaker(Foreword By)
151 pages, 146 colour photos and 1 colour map
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