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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
King cobra settles into new home
King cobra
King cobras are under threat through loss of habitat
A snake with sufficient venom to kill 12 men with a single bite is settling in at London Zoo.

The king cobra, now 9ft (3m) long, will be able to rear to the height of an adult human once fully grown.

It is the first time in more than 30 years the attraction in Regent's Park, central London, has had this species on display to the public.

If cornered the snake will spread a hood and rear up to one third of its length, which can be up to 16ft (5m).

Richard Gibson, Curator of Herpetology, said: "She's a fantastic addition to our unique collection of reptiles.

"While king cobras are not yet endangered they are facing a major threat through the loss of their habitat and we hope to forge links with field biologists researching this unique snake in the wild."

King cobras are carnivorous and mainly eat other snakes.

They inhabit Asian rainforests from India to Indonesia and the Philippines where they live in clearings or on the edge of forests.

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