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What Kind of Shelter Do King Cobras Live In?

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The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is famous, or perhaps infamous, for the classic snake charmer image with the huge, hooded snake rising from a woven basket. In real life, the king cobra is native to the bamboo stands, forests and mangrove swamps of northern India, China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It's also found along the edges of cultivated fields, perhaps because its primary prey -- other snakes -- is found where rodent populations are high.

The King Cobra's Nest

While king cobras generally take shelter in animal burrows, under fallen trees and among rock formations, the females make specialized nests for their eggs. King cobras are the only snakes known to build and guard their nests. The mounded nest of forest litter is composed of two parts: a lower chamber where the eggs are warmed by the decomposing leaves and vegetation, and the upper portion where the female lives while she guards her eggs. The male king cobra also guards the nest and female. In 60 to 90 days, just before the eggs hatch, both the king cobras abandon the nest, leaving the baby cobras to hatch alone.