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Snake House located in the Asia section of the park
Without a doubt, if you asked anyone who is the king of all snakes you would probably hear "The Cobra". Most peoples experiences of a Cobra are either reading or watching Rudyard Kipling's classic "The Jungle Book" or enjoying a cold bottle of Cobra beer! Talking of which, did you know that Jake Canuso, aka Mateo from the Benidorm series did a television commercial for Cobra beer just before he got the part 5 years ago?

At Terra Natura Wild Life park you can actually get to see a real King Cobra snake housed in a specially constructed snake house. The cobra is a venomous snake and the poison from a single bite could kill an elephant in less than 15 minutes! Here you get not to see just one but two cobras!

Frank resting his head on a rock.... sssssssssssss
The male is called Frank who is over four metres long and he is accompanied by a female who is a little shorter at around 3.8 metres. Frank was transferred to Terra Natura from a zoo in the UK after he bit and killed his keeper there, so as you can imagine there are very strict security measures in place.

The keepers are not allowed any direct contact with the snakes. Cameras have been installed within the snake house and the area is sectioned off into quarters with doors so that they can be contained if necessary - food and medication, if required, is placed through a hatch so that there is no direct contact.

The facility is reinforced with safety glass and the temperature is maintained via a special heating system, keeping it at a constant 28 degrees in half of the area and a toasty 30 degrees in the other half - the two snake are kept apart.

He'd make a few pairs of shoes!
The cobra snake's natural diet is mainly composed of other snakes, known as "ophiophagy" but it is very difficult to maintain this diet in captivity. The keepers have had to adapt their diet to rodents - rats. To get them use to it in the beginning they would camouflage the meat by wrapping pieces in bits of snake skin that the cobras had shed - lovely job! Eventually they got use to the taste and smell and now are happy to eat them "au naturale".

When the two cobra arrived at Terra Natura they were chipped, obviously whilst under sedation and are kept under observation to analyse behavior and habits.

The King Cobras venom is neurotoxic which causes paralysis, severe pain, blurred vision and drowsiness. Death from the bite is due to respiratory failure. The venom of the King Cobra is produced in salivary glands located behind the snakes eyes.

The closest I'll get to a cobra .. a plastic one!
The aggressiveness of the King Cobra is such that the female can store sperm for several year meaning that she can fertilize herself with no need to re-mate.... on occasions the male will eat the female after mating! The female will lay between 10-25 eggs and the offspring are independent soon after birth, leaving the nest to avoid being eaten. So far the cobras at Terra Natura have not mated but in time the keepers hope that they will.

You can see a video clip of Frank on the attached link

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