Guidelines for Animal Welfare in Films


Famous Reptiles – The King Cobra

As a freelance animal trainer and consultant in the Los Angeles area, Josh Ruffell works with many different types of animals. The ones Josh Ruffell specializes in, however, are reptiles, including venomous snakes. He has handled reptiles on film projects such as G.I. Joe and Failure to Launch.

The longest and one of the most intelligent venomous snakes in the world, the king cobra earns much of its notoriety from its size and signature hood. The snake has bones and muscles just behind the head which can fan out when it feels threatened, allowing it to display radically increased lateral size to a predator, potentially discouraging it from attacking. The hood deployment often comes with a loud hiss, further warning would-be predators.

King cobras are also known for territoriality and protectiveness, doing much more than the average snake to protect their future young. The female shifts leaves on the ground to build a nest, then after laying the eggs, covers them with more debris. By lying on top or nearby the nest until they hatch, the king cobra ensures its young are able to develop in their eggs without being taken by opportunistic predators.