The debate about the king cobra vs. the mongoose is a long-lasting argument about which animal would win in a fight. Some people think that the king cobra would win while others firmly believe that a mongoose would be victorious. A king cobra has an extremely venomous bite that can kill up to 11 people! On the other hand, mongooses are very agile mammals that also hunt snakes similar to the king cobra regularly.
When it comes to size, the king cobra has the advantage. It grows up to 12-19 feet long and weighs up to 15 pounds. A mongoose is only one foot tall, and it weighs just 5-11 pounds. However, mongooses are faster. They can move as fast as 20 miles per hour and are able to swiftly change directions.
Although the king cobra may appear scary to its prey, it does not scare the mongoose. The mongoose knows that because it has thick fur and strong skin that naturally repels the king cobra’s venom, it is not threatened by it. Lifting its body in the air, the king cobra can imitate “standing.” When it does this, it will hiss at its foe and spread the hood on its head. The only thing keeping the king cobra safe in this stand-off is its size.
A king cobra is an ambush predator, meaning that it hides and waits until its prey displays a vulnerable moment before attacking. In combat, the king cobra lunges onto its prey and sinks its teeth into the the body, killing and eating the prey afterwards.
Mongooses use their receptive sense to travel around either together or alone to hunt their prey. Once a mongoose finds its prey, it chases it down until it is caught. The mongoose uses its 28 teeth to kill what it caught and then the mongoose eats it. This is not the most reliable method compared to the king cobra which has a more fool-proof and effective way of killing its prey.
Considering all the facts above, a mongoose would pretty clearly win. Overall, it's very fast, has a good poison tolerance, and can kill another animal quickly. However, if the king cobra had the jump on the mongoose, it could probably kill the mongoose without giving it time to react.
[Sources: National Geographic Kids; nationalgeographic.com; PBS.org]