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Cobra Snake

Snake Cobra

Naja Naja (The Indian cobra), A Ruthless Snake

Cobra snake

The term “cobra” refers to a group of elapid snakes, the majority of which are members of the genus Naja. Cobras are venomous snakes, and the majority of them have a hood formed by the expansion of the neck ribs. Even though all cobras have hoods, not all of them are closely related to one another.

Fear and Death

With their frightening hoods and intimidating erect postures, Cobras are among the most iconic snakes on the planet, causing fear and death in their wake. Known for their elegance, proud stance, and poisonous bite, they are revered and feared by the public. The venom is delivered through an enclosed groove in the short fangs that protrude from the front of the mouth. Cobra venom typically contains neurotoxins that operate on the prey’s nervous system, which is usually tiny animals and other snakes in nature. Bites, particularly those from larger species, can be lethal depending on the amount of venom delivered into the victim’s body. Neurotoxins impair respiration, and while antivenin helps treat neurotoxins, it must be provided as soon as possible after the bite. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die throughout South and Southeast Asia.

Cobra Habitat

Cobras can be found throughout the world, from southern Africa to southern Asia and the islands of Southeast Asia. The upreared defense posture is a favorite of snake charmers throughout their range, who use it to frighten them into assuming the upreared defensive posture. While moving, the snake sways in response to movement and possibly also to the musical accompaniment provided by the charmer, who knows how to avoid striking the snake with a reasonably slow strike and may have removed the snake’s teeth.

Cobras Mating Habits

  • INCUBATION PERIOD: 47-68 days
  • INDEPENDENT AGE: At birth
  • BABY NAME: Snakelet
  • Egg Numbers in one Clutch: 10-28 eggs

Cobras are oviparous, which means that they lay their eggs between April and July of each year. In most cases, females lay between 10 and 28 eggs in rat holes or termite mounds, which they ferociously guard during the incubation phase until the eggs hatch. The incubation phase lasts from 47 to 68 days on average. The hatchlings are between 20 and 30 cm (8 and 12 in) in length, depending on the species. They are self-sufficient from the moment of birth and possess fully working venom glands.

Because there is some controversy over what exactly constitutes a cobra, the number of cobra species fluctuates from 28 to approximately 270, depending on how a cobra is classified. In terms of genetics, “real” cobras are members of the genus Naja.

The term “cobra” refers to several species of snake, the majority of which are members of the poisonous snake family, the Elapidae. Elpididae is a family of snakes that contains species such as coral snakes, kraits, and mambas.” Numerous individuals believe that these snakes have hoods or that they have the ability to lift the upper half of their bodies.

Cobra characteristics

Cobra fangs are fixed to the top jaw of the snake’s mouth, in front of its mouth, making cobras a venomous snake. As a result of their inability to keep their fangs down on prey, these snakes inject venom through their fangs, according to the San Diego Zoological Society. They have a keen sense of smell as well as good night vision. In addition to their distinctive hoods, cobras feature spherical pupils and scales that are silky to the touch.

Colors differ significantly from one species to the next. Cobras come in various hues and patterns, including red, yellow, black, mottled, banded, and many others.

Cobras are huge snakes, with some species reaching lengths of more than 6 feet (2 meters). In South Africa, the forest cobra is the largest true cobra, reaching a length of 10 feet (3 meters), and Ashe’s spitting cobra is 9 feet (2.7 meters), making it the world’s most giant spitting cobra, according to Cape Snake Conservation. The spitting cobra of Mozambique is the smallest species, measuring approximately 4 feet in length (1.2 m). King cobras, the most significant and most deadly of all venomous snakes, can grow to be 18 feet long (5.5 m).

Taxonomy/classification

In accordance with the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), the taxonomy of “true” cobras is classified as follows:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Subkingdom: Bilateria
  • Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
  • Superclass: Tetrapoda
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Infraorder: Alethinophidia
  • Family: Elapidae
  • GenusNaja
  • Species: 20+

Common Cobra Types

There are three most common cobras:

  1. King Cobra
  2. Egyptian Cobra
  3. Naja Naja/Indian cobra/Speculated cobra

1.King Cobra

The king cobra, also known as the hamadryad, is the world’s most giant venomous snake (Ophiophagus hannah). It is found primarily in jungles throughout India, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, where it preys mainly on other snakes, including the venomous cobra. The maximum confirmed length is 5.6 meters (18 feet), but most specimens are no longer than 3.6 meters (12 feet). The female king cobra guards a nest of 20 to 40 eggs, which she deposits in a mound of leaves she has gathered herself. If a predator or a person gets too close to the child, the guarding parent will strike out at them. It is not true that all cobras lay eggs.

Characteristics

The presence of 11 enormous scales on the crown of its head, which separates it from other cobras, is the most distinguishing characteristic of the king cobra. Adults are available in a variety of colors, including yellow, green, brown, and black. A single color is usually used on the back, with crossbars or chevrons yellowish or whitish in color. The underside may be a single color that may or may not be embellished with bars. White or light yellow is present on the throat. Juvenile king cobras are smaller and darker in color than adults. They are approximately 45–55 cm (18–22 inches) in length and are black with yellow or white stripes on their backs.

Predators and prey

The king cobra is a hunter who is always on the prowl. It preys almost solely on other snakes, and it can be found prowling through forests, fields, and villages at all hours of the day and night. Humans are the king cobra’s most dangerous predators since they gather it for food, medicine, and leather while also harvesting various body parts for food, medicine, and leather.

Usually, it is not aggressive toward humans; bites are scarce; nevertheless, during a hunt or in the breeding season, it can become hostile and potentially dangerous when cornered or surprised. When threatened, the king cobra raises the front section of its body to a position where it is roughly perpendicular to the ground, as shown in the illustration. In addition to the spreading of its hood, which is located just below its head, and the uttering of a low-pitched hiss, it uses its threat display to intimidate. It can move or lunge forward to hit its prey while in this stance. It is said that elephants have perished within three hours of being bitten on the toe or trunk by a king cobra because of the abundance and potency of the venom. In captivity, it is violent toward outsiders, yet it recognizes and expects the arrival of its keeper and the start of feeding time.

Breeding

The breeding seasons of king cobras differ from location to region. This species’ breeding behavior is remarkable in that mated partners remain together for the whole of the breeding season, and the female constructs a nest. She pulls dead leaves, soil, and ground litter into a compact mound using a loop of her body that serves as an arm. She then lays 20 to 50 eggs in the clutch. For around two months, she coils above or near the eggs. Several wildlife officials and herpetologists have stated that while the female is known to defend the mating territory vigorously, the male remains nearby and guards the location.

2.Egyptian Cobra

The Egyptian cobra (N. haje) is a dark, narrow-hooded snake that may grow up to two meters in length and can be found throughout Africa and eastern Arabia. It is considered to be the asp of antiquity.

The Egyptian cobra is one of the most well-known snakes globally, and it is also one of the most dangerous. This snake is available in a variety of brown and black colors with striped or mottled patterns, as well as a contrasting color band on the underside of their neck to enhance their hooding show. The neurotoxic venom of these snakes complements their menacing defense. These giant, thick-bodied snakes are nocturnal hunters who prey on a wide variety of animals. They use their poison to immobilize their prey, which they subsequently swallow within fifteen minutes of pinning them down. Toads and birds are the most common prey for this species.

3.Naja Naja/Indian cobra/Speculated cobra

snake cobra

The Indian cobra (also known as the Indian spectacled cobra, Naja naja) was previously regarded as a single species with a similar distribution to that of the king cobra. Biologists have recently discovered that almost a dozen kinds of snakes exist in Asia, some of which are venom-spitting snakes and others that are not.

The Indian cobra (Naja naja), also known as the spectacled cobra (in Sri Lanka), Asian cobra, or binocellate cobra, is a species of the genus Naja that can be found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. It is one of the “big four” species that inflict the most snakebites on humans in India and the venomous cobra (Naja naja). These snakes are sacred to Indian mythology and culture, and the Indian cobra is frequently associated with snake charmers and their wares.

Naja Naja Characteristics

Adult Indian cobras can grow to reach between 4 feet (1.3 meters) and 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length. They range in color from whitish to olive to deep brown. The head is small and delicate-appearing, with attentive, round eyes that seem to be searching about. Although the body is not particularly slim, it is tapering at the tail. The Indian cobra, which is slithering on the ground with its hood closed, is otherwise unremarkable save for a black streak running down the back of its neck, which gives it away. In response to an alarm or threat, the body is elevated. The hood is stretched, revealing a startling false-eye pattern consisting of two massive black dots surrounded by a thin black border and surrounded by a white ring. The snake’s “eyes” are joined at the bottom by a white loop in the shape of a U, which gives the snake its alternate name of a speculated cobra.

Naja Naja Diet

The Indian cobra is a small, ground-dwelling predator that preys on rodents, frogs, and other small animals. It is most active in the evenings and prefers to hide in areas where rats are prevalent. The snake strikes with its mouth open in a downward motion. It attacks with its hollow front teeth, shooting a paralyzing venom into the victim’s body. It may continue to chew for several minutes to deliver additional venom. Small prey dies in a short period of time. The snake releases larger or more combative prey and then follows them with its scent. When confronted by possible aggressors such as people or mongooses, the Indian cobra is known for being cautious and sluggish to bite. It prefers to employ the threat display and loud hisses to scare people. Bites to humans, on the other hand, are prevalent due to inadvertent interactions and excitability on both sides. When it comes to controlling an animal’s performance and avoiding being bitten, snake charmers and lion tamers rely on their intimate knowledge of the animal. In response to the opening of the snake’s basket’s lid, which allows in a flood of light, the snake raises its head in panic. It is deaf to the majority of airborne sounds and instead sways in response to the motions of the musical instrument rather than the sound it produces.

In Srilanka, to prevent the predator-prey orientation of the snake, the snake charmer’s kiss of gratitude after the performance is administered from above the snake’s head.

king cobra 405623 1280

Genus Naja as venom spitters:

Other Asian snakes in the genus Naja, including some of the venomous species, are venom spitters. Spitters use their muscles and air to push venom through their teeth and into their prey’s eyes. If the venom is not wiped away immediately, it may cause the victim to become temporarily or permanently blind.

Naja Naja Venom / Bite
The Indian cobra/Srilankan Cobra is the most dangerous snake species in Srilanka and India. It is responsible for the majority of human fatalities caused by snakebite. The venom of the Indian cobra is highly neurotoxic. It contains potent postsynaptic neurotoxins and cardiotoxins.

Signs and symptoms of Naja Naja bite

Swelling around the bite site is one of the local signs; other general symptoms include weak limbs, eyelid drooping, and excessive salivation, sometimes followed by vomiting and sweating. In addition to paralyzing muscles, the venom can cause respiratory failure or cardiac arrest, resulting in death in the most severe cases.

Their venom is fast-acting, with envenomation symptoms apparent in as short as 15 minutes and as long as 2 hours after the bite has occurred. When administered subcutaneously to mice, the lethal dose (LD50) ranges between 0.45 mg/kg and 0.75 mg/kg, with an average venom yield per bite ranging between 170 and 250 mg.

Indian cobras are responsible for thousands of bites each year. But, if early medical treatment and anti-venom are provided appropriately, only ten percent of bites are fatal. However, studies have shown that even without treatment and depending on the amount of venom injected by the snake, untreated bite patients have a fatality rate of roughly 20 to 30 percent.

When treating snakebites caused by the Naja Naja, a polyvalent anti-venom serum, it shows good results when administered. Additionally, Zedoary, a native spice that is known to be beneficial in healing snake bites, is currently being studied to determine its effectiveness against this deadly cobra’s venom.

Conservation / Threats

The Indian or Speculated cobra is not classified as an endangered species, although it faces several concerns, including habitat loss. Other threats are murdering them out of fear, along with roadkill.

The Indian cobra is also the snake that Indian snake charmers employ to entice their victims. Besides being used to create anti-venom and other studies, such as the development of painkillers and anti-cancer medications, its toxic venom is also gathered illegally in India and other nations within its range for these purposes, including the United States.

They are also targeted for their skin, which has characteristic hood markings, which are subsequently used in the leather industry and their meat. The Naja Naja is one of many venomous snakes harvested for use in traditional Chinese medicine and the production of snake vine.

The video below shows the snakes that came to the houses in the villages in Sri Lanka, A young man rescues them from death and releases them into the national park

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Lak
I Laksitha ,nature,history lover and blogger,
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