How Intelligent are Snakes – Would Have Never Known
All snakes have some level of intelligence. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ. While some snakes are certainly more intelligent than others, herpetologists see this in the wild and in pet snakes. While signs of intelligence can be found in many snake breeds, most herpetologists will name the King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) as the most intelligent of them all, because of its nesting and ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ methods. How Intelligent are Snakes? Snakes are smart enough to ʜᴜɴᴛ ᴘʀᴇʏ, find water, shelter, and know when ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ is near and how to escape. Every year, many wild snakes return to the same place for brumation, which requires a certain level of intelligence and memory. However, it is believed that domesticated snakes recognize their owners and respond to them in a way they don’t with strangers.
The King Cobra, a member of the Elapidae family, is the largest ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs snake in the world and has reached lengths of almost 18 feet. It lives for up to 20 years and in the wild will feed almost exclusively on other snakes. The King Cobra has smooth, dark scales that range from olive-green to black, with yellow bands going across the body. The underside is yellow or cream colored and will often have darker bands of color mirroring the yellow bands on the other side. The head is large, with fixed fangs in the front of the mouth that are obvious when it is open. The most telling physical feature of the King Cobra is the hood around its head, which consists of elongated cervical ribs in the neck that stretch out loose skin. Though the King Cobra is shy and reclusive, it is highly ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀous. Its venom is a ɴᴇᴜʀᴏᴛᴏxɪɴ that affects the central ɴᴇʀᴠᴏᴜs system and can cause ᴘᴀɪɴ, drowsiness, ᴘᴀʀᴀʟʏsɪs and even ᴄᴏᴍᴀ. Dᴇᴀᴛʜ can follow unless one of two types of ᴀɴᴛɪᴠᴇɴɪɴ made specifically to ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛ King Cobra ʙɪᴛᴇs is administered.
The King Cobra is considered the most intelligent snake in the world because of several behaviors not seen in other snakes. One is its ability in captivity to recognize its handler from other people. Another is the ability of males in the wild to recognize the boundaries of their territory. They will defend this space to the Dᴇᴀᴛʜ from all other male King Cobras. Female King Cobras will build a nest to lay their eggs in, scraping together leaves, twig, and other materials with their coils. They are the only snakes that build nests. No one knows for sure how intelligent a snake is. All herpetologists must go by are a limited number of studies that re-split right down the middle, with half saying snakes are smart and the other half saying they are not. They also have their own observations, and research will vary greatly from one herpetologist to another. Therefore, in some instances, snakes are intelligent, and in others, they are not.