If you are, as I am, old enough to remember a childhood before constant threats of violence in schools, massive terrorist attacks and Dance Moms, but also young enough to have missed out on the larger parts of the Cold War, Vietnam or any of the many wars, really, then you remember a time where the scariest fucking thing that could happen to you was to be cornered by a King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). It is true. Think back far enough, and at some point, we children of the early to mid 80’s had a genuine fear of King Cobras. They stand up with their hoods out and hiss at you, then bite you a bunch of times and you die. But FIRST, they have a hypnotizing effect on you, at least that is what I remember from some stupid book I had to read as a kid.* This is not listed as a Fast Fact on the best source on the Internet for King Cobra information, Cobras.org, so I can’t verify it, but I remember several instances where snakes (especially King Cobras) hypnotized people. (See also: Aladdin for Sega Genesis.)
King Cobras are so badass that they took the name “cobra” from a group of snakes called “true cobras” because, even though just being called King would have been baller, they wanted to have a two name thing happening that would work with their outfit. Notably, this has happened twice: Cobra Commander, notorious G.I. Joe villain and terrorist (terror artist?), also borrowed the name to be cool.
Back in the good old days of the early 1990’s, children were met with only a few fears they could understand. Some of these have been mentioned. None of them matter except King Cobras, because that’s the worst of all. Imagine: you are walking through a bazaar or market (this happened a lot in the 90’s; they were called malls) and a KING FUCKING COBRA pops out of nowhere and stands up at you, hissing, trying to mesmerize you into not moving so it can attack. What do you do? Where do you go? The answers are nothing and no where, because once a King Cobra has you in its thrall, that’s it, bro. You’re done. It would be like if you were Sean Bean in a movie: you know you are going to die (probably horrifically), but maybe not when.
The where, how and why are just incidentals, but the outcome is the same.* There is no explanation for the King Cobra attack on the world. They have no reason to be such jerks except that they can, which is usually why jerks are jerks. I assume it all started when they evolved the cobra hood, which made them look effortlessly cool and scary at the same time, much like when the pin striped suit was invented and changed the lives of gangsters forever. King cobras are known for being very much like Prohibition era gangsters.
The frightening impact of these majestic and terrible beasts extends even into the future. I discovered this when watching the documentary film Star Trek: Insurrection one evening with my friend and fellow kittenshark, Jason. As you can see, the King Cobra, at some point in the future, evolves into a saggy-skinned creature that is located on a different planet. No one knows if this evolution occurred before or after their relocation to a different planet because it was not covered in the documentary, but the resemblance is uncanny.
I hope this has helped shed light on the terrifying menace that is King Cobras and what it was like to be a child in a time where King Cobras were the scariest thing that could happen to you. There is not yet any scientific proof as to whether or not they are still the scariest thing
on Earth in the Milky Way, but we are at least aware of the threat that could strike at any moment (See what I did there?).
*I can’t remember the name of the book.