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Cobra (snake)

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Cobra Snake picture provided by Classroom Clipart (http://classroomclipart.com)

Cobras are venomous snakes of family Elapidae, of several genera. They generally inhabit tropical and desert regions of Asia and Africa. Cobras kill their prey, usually small rodents and birds, by injecting a neurotoxin through their hollow fangs. The King Cobra notably eats other snakes; it feeds almost entirely on other snakes, even venomous ones (ophiophagy). The spitting cobra can also incapacitate larger would-be predators by delivering irritating venom to their eyes. Cobras come in varying colours from black or dark brown to yellowish white. The (jet) black cobra found in North India is considered a sub-species of cobra.

The cobra's most recognizable feature is its hood, a flap of skin and muscle behind the head which it can flare, perhaps for the purpose of making it appear bigger and more threatening to predators. The hoods of some species carry markings which may also serve to confuse enemies. The cobra's predators include the mongoose and possibly some raptors.

The word "cobra" came from Spanish or Italian and is short for "cobra capello" = "snake with a hat" or similar (referring to the hood); it probably came from Latin coluber = "snake".

The cobra is important in Hindu symbolism.

Cobra species

  • Spitting cobra, (Various sub-species)
  • Cape Cobra, Naja nivea
  • Indian Cobra, Naja Naja
  • Egyptian Cobra, Naja haje
  • Eastern Water Cobra, Boulengerina annulata stormsi
  • Gold's Tree Cobra, Psuedohaje goldii
  • Monocled Cobra, Naja naja kaouthia
  • Shield-Nosed Cobra, Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus
  • False water cobra, Hydrodynastes gigas
  • King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah
  • False Cobra, Malpolon moilensis

The last two snakes despite the names are strictly not classified as cobras.

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