- (Photo Reuters/File)
53 king cobras have been found in a car in Hanoi, Vietnam at the weekend.
The owner of the car has been arrested and taken into custody, and the king cobras have been seized and taken to a wildlife rescue center near the capital, according to Officer Dang Van Hanh of the Vietnamese Police Force.
The snakes will now be given treatment to ensure they are all in good health, and when ready they are planned to be released back into the wild.
King cobras are extremely dangerous and are considered the world's longest venomous snake. They can grow to as long as 5.5 meters in length (approx. 18 feet). The longest known specimen was kept captive at the London Zoo, and grew to around 5.6 meters in length (18.5 to 18.8 ft) before being euthanized upon the outbreak of World War II
Hunting and trading of the king cobra is against the law in Vietnam, although its meat is considered a rare delicacy by some in the country. The king cobra is also used in some traditional medicines in the country.
The owner of the car has defended his actions saying that he was not involved in the trading or selling of the snakes directly, but had just be paid to transport the king cobras. According to local media sources he was paid just under $50 to transport them in his vehicle.
This king cobra preys chiefly on other snakes, and is found predominantly in forests from India through Southeast Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines.
Despite the word "cobra" in its name, this snake is not a member of Naja ("true cobras") but belongs to its own genus.
The king cobra is considered to be a very dangerous snake.
Here is a video of a King Cobra: