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The Elusive King Cobra

Ned keeping an eye on a couple meter long king cobra striking.
Our friend Ned keeping an eye on a king cobra we came across one late afternoon.

You never really know when you’re going to see a king cobra. You can count on it being a surprise, because it’s a magical moment whenever it happens. I’ve seen four kings in the wild now, and each time it just blows my mind where I find them.

I was herping with a friend, Tom Charlton, the other night and after less than 10-minutes of looking, Tom screams KING COBRA! From 20 meters away. This king was found climbing up through the man-made waterfalls at a wilderness resort in Krabi, Thailand at 7:20 pm. on Friday this past weekend.

This was actually the first king cobra I’ve seen while actively looking for snakes. The others were just pure surprises that happened while I was engaged in other activities.

I’ve walked this area over 100 times in the past 8 years. I have never seen a king cobra on the grounds, though the manager of the resort sees them with some frequency during daylight hours.

Some frequency, meaning about once per month on average. King cobras are not known to be active much after daylight, and so seeing one at night was an extra special surprise for us.

If you are going on a tour to spot king cobras, you are going to be disappointed more than likely. It is a completely hit or miss activity.

You will see other snakes, but seeing the king is a gift from mother nature that comes not when you want it to – but whenever and for whatever reason or no reason at all you’re suddenly looking at one.

We don’t have King Cobra tours. There is a place in Bali that has them, but recently it was found out that they catch snakes, bag them, and then release them in front of the tour groups and tell them they just happened to find one. It’s a scam, in short.

So, by all means, go out and look for king cobras on your eco-tour, but do appreciate all the other amazing wildlife you’ll see on your trip.

There are thousands of fascinating wildlife possibilities in Thailand and Malaysia. Here’s another of our websites that covers everything you want to know about KING COBRAS.

Looking for a couple of hours of night in Thailand’s rainforest photographing lizards, frogs, toads, geckos, centipedes, snakes, scorpions and slow lorises? Do a Night Field Trip!

More Krabi Wildlife Info >