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World’s longest species of venomous snake milked at Australian Reptile Park!

A job not for the faint hearted, the largest specimen in Australia of the largest venomous snake in the world, the King Cobra, has been measured, weighed and milked for his venom at the Australian Reptile Park.

Raja, who is named after the word ‘King’ in Indonesian, came in at a whopping 4.1 metres in length, 7.9kg in weight and is believed to be the longest venomous snake living in Australia. The brave keepers also extracted venom from Raja to help keep his head occupied whilst they conducted the health check, which included weighing, measuring, and a general feel of his body condition. The venom yield was somewhere between 400-450 milligrams, which is absolutely massive considering a tiger snake here in Australia would put out about 45 to 50 milligrams of venom. The amount of venom Raja produced will be finalised once the venom is freeze-dried over the coming days.

“He’s an intimidating animal” explains Head of Reptiles & Venom, Dan Rumsey. “Raja is impressive, and a great ambassador for his species, educating over 240,000 people who visit the Reptile Park each year on how unique his species is and the challenges they face in the wild ”

Rumsey goes on to explain, “Weighing reptiles is crucial in monitoring their health and a task where Keepers need to show extreme care, especially when dealing with animals with this level of danger. In India, King cobras bites are known to have a 50% mortality rate, making any interaction with the species extremely dangerous”

The King Cobra is infamous throughout their native region of South and South East Asia, due to the highly neurotoxic venom and huge yield in each bite, enough to kill several people or even an elephant. Sadly the species is declining across Indonesia, with deforestation and exploitation being responsible for declines in the wild population of up to 80%. The species is now listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species with its population trend noted as “decreasing”.

The Australian Reptile Park on the NSW Central Coast was the first zoo in Australia to import the magnificent King Cobra from Asia and continues with its breeding program so that visitors are able to see this now rare animal. Raja has fathered two clutches of King Cobra babies and is the “Big Daddy” to all of the King Cobras currently residing in Australia.