Australia's largest venomous snake, Raja, had his health check today.
He came in at a massive 4.1 metres, and 7.9 kilograms.
But before he had his measurements taken, he had to be milked of his venom. This ensures the safety of the keepers when they're taking his vitals, but from the looks of the footage, it's a dangerous job for whomever has to take the business end of the process. Seriously. Scary stuff!
In this case, the short straw fell to Dan Rumsey, Head of Reptiles & Venom at the Park.
"He's an intimidating animal," says Mr Rumsey. To say the least, we're sure...
"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," he says.
History of the King Cobra
Raja's name was derived from the word meaning 'king' in Indonesian. Seems like a very fitting name for a King Cobra.
In India, where the species originates, bites are considered to be fairly fatal - a victim has about a 50 per cent chance of death. The venom is even strong enough to kill an animal as big as an elephant.
Today, the species is endangered in Indonesia. 80 per cent of the native population has declined through deforestation and other environmental issues. The species is now listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Which is, you know, no doubt the first and last time an animal this dangerous will be given the status of 'vulnerable'... as in vulnerable, in the sense that it's a placid animal. Oh never mind... #puns.
[Raja during his last health check, 2015. Picture: Australian Reptile Park]
The Reptile Park in Somersby was the first zoo in Australia to import a King Cobra, and the Park's continued work in breeding the species has proved effective in saving the creatures. Raja hsa so far fathered two clutches of babies. He's now known as the "Big Daddy", father of all King Cobras in Australia. Insert Abrahamic connection here.
Raja will be on display for the Deadly and Dangerous shows on at the Park at the moment.
[Footage and images courtesy of the Australian Reptile Park, Somersby]