Indian Cobra

by Thomas Spurr

Physical Description

The Indian cobra or Naja naja is a medium sized and highly venomous snake. The adults are generally about five feet (1.5 meters) in length. Other names for this cobra is the Asiatic cobra, common cobra, and the spectacled cobra. Its coloration can vary from yellowish to olive green to dark brown and tend to have a spectacles white or yellow pattern. It has a small head along with round black eyes. It is a very slender as it has a tapered tale. Its body is covered in smooth scales that allow it to move quickly while staying very close to the ground. While moving, it keeps its hood tucked in against its body. However when it is threatened, it raises the front third of its body and opens up its hood. When it opens its hood, a pair of false eyes are revealed. This false-eye design is composed of two large black dots ringed in white with a thin black border. The average life span for a female is about 24 years. Below is a depiction of the size of an average Indian cobra. The cobra is pictured in a striking position.
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Did you Know?

A single bite from an Indian cobra contains enough venom to kill up to 20 people.

Habitat, Diet, and Breeding

The Indian cobra can be found in India Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as well as Bangladesh Bhutan, Nepal and possibly Eastern Afghanistan. They live in both wild forests and cultivated animals. They tend to live near humans but not interact with them. They are solitary creature and they feed on mainly rats. However, they will also eat rodents, lizards, frogs, small poultry, and other snakes. The cobras are neither nocturnal nor diurnal as they are most active during the evening and early morning. They swallow their prey whole like all other creatures of the Elapidae family. When they strike, they bite quickly and inject their neurotoxic venom that paralyzes the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. They then proceed to eat their prey or stalk it by scent if it is larger, waiting for it to expire. Below, the hood of the cobra is shown.
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Did You Know?

The Indian cobra is commonly kept by the "snake charmers" of India. This is where the charmer plays a flute and appears to make the cobra dance to the music. However, cobras don't have the ability to hear- instead they are looking at and following the movement of the charmer's hands and the flute while in a striking position. This creates the appearance of dancing.

Reproduction and Human Relations

The Indian cobra reproduces sexually, and generally between 12-20 eggs are laid in a hollowed out tree or in the ground. Unlike most other snakes, the female will guard its eggs until they finish the "incubation period" and only leave to feed. The eggs usually hatch after about 50 days and upon hatching are able to rise, spread their hood, and strike. Since they live near humans and are highly venomous to the point that the kill multiple people annually, however they are also useful due to the fact that they hunt the rodents in and near their homes, as well as they are also often kept as pets.

Works CIted

"Indian cobra," Compton's by Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 23 April 2013. <http://school.eb.com/all/comptons/article-9311796/>


Ramirez, Joel 2001. "Naja naja", Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 24, 2013. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Naja_naja/>


Jalic Inc. "Common Cobra" Wilderness Survival. 24 April 2013. <http://www.wilderness-survival.net/snake/18.com>