Notes on the captive husbandry of the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) at the Centre for Herpetology/Madras Crocodile Bank, India

  • Published source details Whitaker R., Whitaker N. & Martin G. (2005) Notes on the captive husbandry of the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) at the Centre for Herpetology/Madras Crocodile Bank, India. Herpetological Review, 36, 47-49.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Breed reptiles in captivity: Snakes – Elapids

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Breed reptiles in captivity: Snakes – Elapids

    A study in 1996 at Madras Crocodile Bank, India (Whitaker et al. 2005) reported that three of four female king cobras Ophiophagus hannah laid eggs that hatched and survived in captivity. All four captive female king cobras laid a single clutch (16–37 eggs/clutch). In one clutch, none of the eggs were viable (0 of 18 eggs). In the remaining three clutches, 75–100% of eggs were viable (clutch a: 18 of 18 eggs viable, clutch b: 34 of 37 eggs viable, clutch c: 12 of 16 eggs viable). Hatching success of viable eggs ranged from 41–61% (clutch a: 11 of 18 eggs hatched, clutch b: 14 of 24 eggs hatched, clutch c: 5 of 12 eggs hatched). Twenty-six of 30 hatchlings survived at least one year in captivity. In 1996, Madras Crocodile Bank acquired four female and three male adult king cobras from Indian zoos or from government seizures from snake collectors. Snakes were housed in indoor enclosures (see original paper for husbandry details). Eggs were incubated individually on damp vermiculite substrate (1:0.8 vermiculite: water by weight) at temperatures of 27.5–33°C. Egg viability and hatching success was evaluated after emergence.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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