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A Rising King...

A Rising King...
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-09-21
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 18-55mm, Digital ISO 100, Hoya UV - 58mm
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/100 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2005-10-04 16:51
Viewed: 9980
Favorites: 7 [view]
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
King Cobra
Ophiophagus Hannah

The king can stand up to one third of its total length, or from three to six feet (one to two meters) high, and has the ability to move forward in the intimidating pose. An upright posture without the hood extended is a friendly gesture and the snake often assumes this pose to see over bushes or tall grasses. The king’s Latin name refers to its favourite meal— ophiophagus means snake-eater. Its culinary preferences probably gave the king cobra its English name. King cobras prefer non-venomous snakes like the rat snake, but they also dine on venomous Indian cobras, kraits, and even small king cobras, thus earning the ignoble title, ‘cannibal.’ With no limbs or cutting teeth, the king is unable to tear its food. However undignified, the king gulps down every meal whole.

Its digestive tract is like a long straight tube. Blunt teeth puncture the food and the venom’s enzymes start the digestive process. From the long stomach, food travels through the small intestine, the large intestine, and then out the cloacae.

The king cobra’s deadly fangs are almost half an inch (8-10 mm) long. Because they are fixed to the upper jaw, they have to be short. If they were longer, the king might bite the floor of its mouth and commit royal suicide. Angled back into the snake’s mouth, the fangs help push the prey on its path to the stomach. A regal bite delivers venom from glands attached to the fangs. The flexing of a small muscle forces the venom through the hollow fangs into the victim. Within minutes, neurotoxins stun the prey’s nervous system, especially the impulses for breathing. Other toxins start digesting the paralyzed victim.

Drop for drop, a king cobra’s venom is actually less lethal than a common cobra’s. The king more than makes up for it by delivering more venom per bite—as much as .2 fluid ounces (7 milliliters) of liquid. That’s enough to kill an elephant, or 20 people.
The Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine has tested various cobra venoms for use in treating diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera. In the United States, the study of cobra venom has yielded pain relievers such as Cobroxin, used to block nerve transmission and Nyloxin, used for severe arthritis pain.

The antidote arrives on horseback... or rather, via horse neck. A small, non-lethal dose of venom “milked” from the fangs of a live king cobra is injected into a healthy horse. Once the horse’s body has developed antibodies to the venom, blood is removed from the jugular vein. It’s then mixed with an anticoagulant and a preservative, and the antibodies are separated and stored as antivenin.

This photo was taken in a controlled environment in Oudshoorn. The snake was behind glass. It is a native of South-east Asia, inhabiting the forests of India, Malaysia and the Philippines, but not Sri Lanka.

I hope you like it.

duckpond, Fisher, ellis49, Alan_Kolnik, Mousehill, chiliu, scottevers7, greghume, Runnerduck, TAZ, JeanMichel, dew77, sAner, red45, carper, wallhalla15, pompey, thistle, Aramok, marhowie, liquidsunshine, extramundi, Luc, axiotea, horia, Auoui, joey, Florin, vmukherjee, esimsek, skogsbaronen has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Great shot, Gerhard.
The details are excellent, Very good POV and compostion.
It's well seen from the BG. Taken wiht you shrt zoom ;-)
If it was me I had used my long telezoom with a converter even if it was behind a glass.;-))
Excellent work, my friend.

Great shot. Shots that have colours in a similar colour band and yet have the good contrast are always nice. Good composition.

There are people that handle these from a young age and then they become like pets... Not for me thanks.

Do I spot an unsharp mask in the shot?

The focus is sharp and the eye sparkles, freaky.

Nice shot.

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-10-04 17:47]

Hi Gerhard,

Excellent shot and well done on the composition and details. You captured a beauty. Not often do we see closeups like this here. Excellent work.


  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2005-10-04 17:50]

Hi Gerhardt
Thanks for telling us that there was glass between you and that thing otherwise I'd have thought you crazy.
Excellent details and with the bit of skin starting to peel off. Great light and contrast.
Regards Toni

Very impressive shot - excellent detail and sharpness. "Friendly" is hardly the way this snake appears to me ... The galss between you and the snake is not visible - excellent work.

What a great detailed photo of this cobra Gerhard. The composition in the frame is very nice too. If it wouldn't be shedding it skin at the back of the head I could have thought that this was a statue instead of a live snake. The strong gaze of it's eyes is captive. TFS

  • Great 
  • halki Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 242 W: 9 N: 105] (471)
  • [2005-10-04 19:16]

Hello Gerhard!
Excellent close up.Timing and details great.
Thanks for posting...

  • Great 
  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2005-10-04 19:42]

It's one of those I would meet on my way. Well captured, its face doesn't look to friendly. This blink in the eye tells a lot! TFS! Michal

  • Great 
  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2005-10-04 21:01]

Hi Gerhart,
Very good close-up and POV, excellent composition.
Well done and thanks for sharing!

Hi Gerhard,
That is a beautiful portrait. Excellent detail and colors. The composition and framing are just perfect. This one goes in the WOW! catagory. Superb Shot! and superb notes.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-10-04 21:59]

He does look cunning, doesn't he? The frown makes him look so severe and steady.
Excellent details Gerhard. And he tones in with the BG so well, he'd be on you before you saw him!! Awesome shot, well shown thank you.

He's a beauty, Gerhard. I am amazed at the detail and clarity you were able to capture through the glass. Great detail of the scales on the head and neck.

An amazing shot, a beautiful portrait.
Excellent composition. Details are incredibly sharp.
Wow! Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-10-05 2:17]

Wow ! What an impressive snake ! I don't like how he looks at me ;-) Congratulations Gerhard for this great portrait and thanks for sharing.

hi Gerhard,
woow.excellent photo..great colours , composition and detail.well done


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2005-10-05 3:10]

Wow, Gerhard. Stunning close-up of a snake. Excellent sharpness and light. I notice that some of his scales seem to be flaking off. Is he molting? Fascinating capture. TFS. : )

Hi Gerhard. The gold overall tone on this one is superb. It gives a real meaning to your clever title. Otherwise, perfect portrait and pose, impressive eye caught in the right light allowing the upper scale shade to appear on the eye. Lot's of presence and personality. PERFECT!

Beautiful picture of a beautiful animal, love the peeling scales. We used to see these quite frequently as kids in Malaysia, bet there aren't so many around now though.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-10-05 4:34]

Hello Gerhard!
Amazing snake portrait.Harmonious colors,POV,clear details,eye contact,framing and composition are excellent.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2005-10-05 6:22]

La qualité de cette présentation est surprenante, tout est parfait,la netteté, les couleurs, l'éclairage et la composition.

Merci pour l'envoie et FÉLICITATIONS !

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-10-05 6:24]

Hi Gerhard,

Amazing shot. Crystalclear and superb details. Colors are perfect and the composition and POV are excellent. No nits whatsoever. Well done & TFS!


  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-10-05 6:26]

What an eye! It tells - don't touch me! Perfect portrait of this dangerous beauty Gerhard. Desert colours looks great, even through the glass. Great work!

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2005-10-05 12:06]

prachtig Vriend,
wat een klasse kop, prachtige crop, goede pov and wat een details, very good dof too, great job, with compliments,
gr. jaap

  • Great 
  • pompey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 4 N: 746] (2774)
  • [2005-10-05 14:04]

Hi Gerhard, another stunning capture, pin sharp and just so much detail.
Thanks for sharing.

There is far to few photos of snakes on TN. Good to see such superb shot Gerhard!
It has perfect framing and lovely colours and first of all superb subject.

  • Great 
  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2005-10-05 15:11]

I think most people have said all that needs to be said - fantastic shot, excellent detail, sharpness and DOF and through glass. Well done.

Gerhard, this is an excellent photo. Great colours and brilliant sharpness. A very nice composition. TFS.

Very good details and sharpness Gerhard. An excellent profile portrait of the king. Nice catchlight also. Thank you.

Brilliant shot Gerhard,
A great POV and good close up detail. Very sharp and clear. I'm glad you had glass seperating you and the cobra.
I'm getting close to my limit on favourite pictures, but this has to go in.
Thanks for posting, have a good weekend.

I take my hat off, my friend. Fantastic photo. Beautiful almost sepia 3D effect, and what to say about the quality. As always, I pleasure. Best wishes from Spain.

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-10-18 0:06]

Personal assessment of the photo: more than excellent.
Power of evocation in me: strong. He has the same severe glance of a girlfriend I had some years ago, seriously.
Strong visual impact.
Aptness of the photo for the site: excellent.
Personal assessment of the note: complete.
Thank you Gerhard.

Lovely post - good colour saturation and clarity. TFS

Hi Gerhard! Even though this photo has been taken behind glass it still is an impressive
shot!The scales are perfectly clear...
TFS...All the best..Marilyn

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-02-22 10:59]

There's only one thing I can say about this...
TFS joey

Hello Herhard.

Excelent image, very good details and colors.

Jose Luis.

Great shot! A wonderful note too. King cobra is the one snake I would like to see the most. Its intimidating posture, lethal bite, all makes it royal. Excellent sharpness and details.

amazing close up, TFS Ori

Nice picture of the cobra. Really like the composition.

It feels a little grey. Perhaps it could use som contrast?


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