Brown Recluse vs King Cobra: Which is a More Lethal Hunter?


From the most poisonous animals in the worldit’s not surprising that snakes snatch the first places. Depending on the species, snakes can be docile constrictors to deadly fanged creatures that can bring down huge prey – or even humans – in minutes. But while deadly animals automatically conjure up images of terrifying or deadly snakes scorpionsother less scary critters, like spiders, can also be quite dangerous. The brown reclusefor example, is one of the most poisonous spiders on the planet. Their venom can rarely bring humans down, but when it comes to their prey, they are unparalleled hunters. But so is the king cobra.

As its name suggests, the king cobra ranks among the the most venomous snakes on earth. However, its venom may not be as potent as that of other deadly snakes, but the amount of neurotoxin delivered by each bite is enough to be considered one of the deadliest. But comparing the two completely different animals – the brown recluse and the king cobra, which is the deadliest hunter? Below, we’ll dive deeper into the pros and cons of the brown recluse and king cobra when it comes to hunting.

Comparison of a brown recluse and a king cobra

The brown recluse spider and king cobra are poisonous animals.

brown recluse king cobra
Height and weight – 0.24 to 0.79 inches – an average of 11 to 13 feet long
– about 13 pounds
Behaviour – shy, reclusive – has an aggressive reputation but shy in nature
Habitat – debris and piles of wood
– extends from Ohio to Nebraska to Florida and Texas (midwestern United States)
– dense or open forests, mangroves, bamboo groves
– Southeast Asia, South China and India
Diet – small insects and other spiders – birds, lizards, other snakes, rodents, etc.
hunting habits – hunts at night hanging from the ceiling to attack its prey – injects massive amounts of venom to prevent the prey from breathing before swallowing it whole
Venom Strength – enough to destroy blood vessels, nerves and tissues
– venom is used to subdue prey
– enough to kill 20 people or take down an elephant
– can affect the respiratory parts of the brain or cause cardiac and respiratory arrest

The 6 Main Differences Between a Brown Recluse and a King Cobra

While a king cobra and a brown recluse spider are two entirely different animals (one is a reptile while the other is an arachnid), both are deadly creatures and among the deadliest hunters in nature. But the question is: Which hunter is more deadly between the two? The main differences between them apart from their species include their size and weight, behavior, habitat, diet, hunting habits and venom strength. Let’s find out more about these two drastically different creatures and who is the better predator.

Let’s start with a brief explanation of the two venomous animals. The brown recluse spider’s bite is perhaps its most notable feature. Brown recluse spiders are one of the most feared spiders in the world. United Statesand it’s easy to see why.

The king cobra is also a notorious species in its family. After all, it’s called the “King Cobra” for a reason. The king cobra is a apex predator which dominates all other snakes (except pythons) on the hunt.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: Height and weight

Animals with exoskeletons - brown recluse
The brown recluse spider typically grows up to 0.79 inches in length.


Brown recluse spiders are typically 0.24 to 0.79 inches long and hold their long crab legs. This dwarf in size compared to a king cobra, reaching an average of 11 to 13 feet in length and about 13 lbs. Judging from the size of the two, one can conclude that king cobras are deadlier hunters. However, it should also be noted that spiders and cobras have different prey.

King cobras have fangs half an inch long. For a snake fangs, half an inch might seem quite short. They must, however, be short so that they do not press on their lower jaw when they close their mouth.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: Behaviour

Despite their venom bites, brown recluse spiders are normally shy and withdrawn, spending the day in a quiet place and emerging at night to hunt. Brown recluse spiders are shy creatures that only bite when provoked. The bites often go undetected until they take effect a few hours later. Most stings turn red and disappear, but necrosis or tissue damage may occur in rare cases.

Although the king cobra has a reputation for being fierce, it is a shy snake. If possible, it would avoid people and other animals. It will expand its hood and lift the upper half of its body off the ground if it feels threatened by an animal or person. This allows him to move freely and face the gaze of whatever threatens him. This snake also hisses and exposes its teeth in response to threat. The protective posture of a king cobra is one of the reasons they are considered aggressive reptiles. These gestures are only forms of defense against predators.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: Habitat

Brown recluse spiders can be found in large numbers in garbage and woodpiles, with hundreds or even thousands in a single area. Brown recluses prefer cardboard indoors as it looks like rot tree bark. These spiders are native to the Midwest and can be found from Texas at Florida and of Nebraska at Ohio.

King cobras are somewhat unlikely to come across brown recluse spiders because they often settle in certain parts of South East AsiaSouth Chinaand India. Dense open forestsmangrove swampsbamboo thickets, streams and swamps are all part of their habitat.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: Diet

King cobra living on the beach sand
The king cobra is the longest of all poisonous snakes.

Vova Shevchuk/

Given their huge difference in size and weight, it’s no surprise that brown recluse spiders and king cobras have a very different food range. Brown recluse eats cubs insects and other spiders, while the the king cobra consumes much larger animals such as birds, lizardssnakes, rodents, and others. While the name “King Cobra” might imply that he is the strongest among the species of cobra, the real story behind its etymology is much more interesting. Its ability to kill and consume cobras has earned it the epithet “king cobra”. Thus, other cobras are included in the snake’s wide feeding range, a big advantage over the brown recluse.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: hunting habits

The brown recluse and the king cobra may be two different animals, but they have one thing in common: they are both hunters in the wild. Brown recluse spiders are thought to be predatory spiders because, unlike other spiders, they do not use their webs to catch prey – they attack their victims directly. These arachnids are primarily active hunters, pursuing their victims at night. The brown recluse hunts its prey and uses its venom to incapacitate it.

King cobras are great – no – excellent hunters. These creatures have ferocious attacks that can take out opponents hundreds of times their size. Cobras don’t have to hunt very often, but when they do, their size combined with their deadly venom make them a formidable opponent. Cobras strike hard and fast and don’t need to do much more to take down their prey. A king cobra lunges forward with a quick bite, sinking its fangs into its prey and returning to its previous position, and the venom takes over from there. Its venom is strong and its bite packs about 0.2 ounces of punch. In fact, it injects so much venom in one bite that it can kill a the elephant in an attack. The cobra opens its mouth and swallows the victim whole once the venom kills the prey, usually by stopping its breathing.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: Venom

The brown recluse spider’s venom is extremely deadly, but due to its small amount, it rarely causes significant damage. One of the active enzymes in the venom produces extensive damage to blood vessels and death of tissue cells at the site of envenomation. But that’s only for humans. In the wild, brown recluse spiders can subdue their prey using their effective venom. The spider’s venom is strong enough to subdue its victim and begin eating it.

The king cobra’s venom is potent enough to bring down even animals many times its size. This means that even if the king cobra glides along the ground, its bite is enough to kill prey larger than itself, giving it a significant advantage over the brown recluse. Although their venom is not the strongest among poisonous snakes, the amount of neurotoxicity they can deliver in a single bite is enough to kill 20 humans or even an elephant. King cobra venom can also affect the respiratory parts of the brain or cause cardiac and respiratory arrest.

Brown Recluse vs. King Cobra: Who is the deadliest hunter?

close up of a king cobra
The king cobra is deadlier than the brown recluse spider.

Considering the above differences, it can be clear that the king cobra is a more lethal hunter of the brown recluse not only because of its more massive size but also because of the potency of its venom compared to his size. Brown recluse spiders can only overpower prey of the same size as themselves and can barely cause harmful threats to humans or animals. The king cobra, however, can cause considerable harm to humans and can prey on much larger animals. Additionally, king cobras hunt more stealthily and fiercely than the brown recluse.


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