Types Of Cobra In India

Suresh Arunachalam | 11:09 PM | 5 comments

                                 Cobra is the common name for members of the family of venomous snakes, Elapidae, known for their intimidating looks and deadly bite. These reptiles are found throughout the Philippines, southern Asia, and Africa. Cobras are recognized by the hoods behind their heads. A cobra opens this hood when it is angry or disturbed; the hood is created by the extension of the ribs behind the cobra's head. Cobras will seldom attack unprovoked. When threatened, however, the cobra will make full use of its menacing appearance and deadly venom. Cobras are famous for their use by Oriental snake charmers because they are intelligent, respond well to visual cues, and are of spectacular appearance.
Indian Cobra (Naja naja)  
Local Names:  
Bengal : Naga gokurra ,KeauthiaPushtu , Chajitiwalla
Tamil Nadu : Nalla pambu, Naga pambu
Kannadam : Nagara havu
Malayalam : Moorkan, Surpam, Singhalese Naya. 
         It is a harmful snake and has a small `cuneate` scale between the 4th and 5th infralabials and there is a preocular touching the intranasal, and also there is the presence of a 3rd supralabial in contact with the eye. The elongated ribs of the 3rd and 27th vertebrae form the hood of the snake. The 9th rib on the left and 10th rib on the right are the longest, the preceding and succeeding ribs are shortened. 
         The head of the cobras are depressed with a short and round snout. Its nostrils are large and pupils are round. There is a swelling at the temporal region over the underlying poison glands. There are distinct grooves on its spine. The cobras are variable in coloration and markings. Three races of cobras are recognized on the basis of the hood pattern. One is the `spectacled` or binocellatc cobra of peninsular India (Naja naja naja), which is yellowish, brownish or black above with or without a black and white mark on hood, a black and white spoon the inside of the hood with one or two black crossbars below hood. south Indian cobras that are brown in color and have well defined hood marks. Cobras from the north are black and the hood is absent in some of them. Monocellate Cobra (Naja naja kaouthia
            It differs from the other cobras in having a single yellow or orange O-shaped mark on the hood. They are olive brown or black in color. This is the common Cobra found in eastern India and eastwards of India. The Black Cobra (Naja naja oxiana) occurs in the extreme northwest. In the younger stages they are light grey or brown and have dark crossbars. Adults are brown or black.             The cobras are eclectic in habitat. They are found almost anywhere, in heavy jungle, open cultivated land, populated areas etc. They are often found near or in water. It is often timid but aggressive when disturbed. The young ones are more dangerous than the adults. 
         They are more easily excited and are ready to strike repeatedly and with determination. When exited the cobras raise their fore body and sway backwards and forward hissing The throat becomes pouched and the whole body is inflated. It flickers its tongue in and out during inhalation and exhalation. When the snake bites its prey, and if the poison is not injected the first time, the poison is ejected as a spray.           The cobra feeds on rats, frogs, toads, birds, lizards and other snakes including other cobras. It also eats eggs. Eggs are swallowed as a whole and digested in about 48 hours. 
                                                         
          Its mating season is in January and majority of eggs are laid in April/May. The period of gestation is about sixty-two days but may extend considerably. Eggs hatch in 48 to 69 days. 45 eggs are deposited at a time. The eggs are soft-shelled elongate and oval measuring 49 x 28 mm. The parents live together before pairing and one or both guard the eggs. Both parents known to keep warm the eggs. The poison glands are active from birth.            There are two fully operative canaliculate fangs on each side. These are shed singly at intervals. The fangs are about 7 mm in length. The poison glands are similar to the parotid salivary glands in mammals and have the shape and size of an almond kerne
          The venom is a clear, viscid fluid resembling olive oil in appearance. The amount of venom secreted varies with age, vitality and temper of the animal. The poison acts mainly as a neurotoxin and blood and cell destroyer. The neurotoxin paralyses the respiratory center and is the chief cause of death. Other deadly effects of the venom are loss of clotting power of the blood and destruction of red blood cells. 
           The symptoms are a stinging or burning plan accompanied by swelling and oozing of bloodstained serum. The effects are gradual but rapidly advancing paralysis commences with the legs, the neck droops, the muscles of the tongue, lips, and throat, are affected and speech becomes difficult. The lower lip falls and allows saliva to dribble, swallowing becomes difficult or impossible. Breathing becomes difficult, laborious and stops. Other symptoms are vomiting and hemorrhage from the various orifices of the body.  
                                                          
             The bite of a cobra is not fatal at all times. Fatality depends on the quantity of venom injected, the natural resistance of the victim, the condition of the snake and various other factors. The Haffkine Institute`s polyvalent serum is fully effective even when symptoms are far advanced. King Cobra ( Ophiophagus hannah
Local Names: 
Oriya: Ahi raj
Bengal: Sankha chur, Sha-khamuti
Tamil :Krishna nar Karunagam
Malayalam: Krishna sarpam, Karinchathii 
Kannadam: KaJ havu, Nagin, Kalinagin.                    The species name of the King Cobra is hannah. The King Cobra is also known as Hamadryad. It is the third largest snake in India. Its body is robust and the scales are glossy. The `hood` is dilatable than in the cobra. Its head is flat and snout is round. Its pupil is round. It has occipital shields on its body.
                    The adults are blackish brown or light brown and have a round tail. Bands become obscure with age and they become more evident under excitement. The color of the head is olivaceous-brown. Its throat is creamy to dull orange in color. The hatchlings are intense black with pure white bands. It is a highly dangerous snake. 
                                                       
              King Cobras like the other snakes smell using their forked tongues, which has the capacity to pick up scented particles and transfer them to a special sensory receptor located at the roof of the mouth. When it scents the smell of a meal or a prey, it will flick its tongue to detect the prey`s direction. It has an excellent eyes sight, outstanding intelligence and sensitivity to vibrations compared to other cobra species. It swallows the prey as a whole and its toxins begin the digestion of the victim. It does not have rigidly fixed jaws but has extremely pliable ligaments, enabling the lower jawbones to move independently of each other. After a large meal the snake may live for many months without another meal due to a very slow metabolic rate. King Cobras are able to hunt at all times of day, although it is rarely seen at night, leading some to erroneously classify it as a diurnal species.

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5 comments

  1. Vijay Rao says:

    It's not Kannadam, It's Kannada... The Kannada name for the king is Kalinga Sarpa and not KaJ havu, Nagin, Kalinagin... Never heard of anything called kaj havu and Nagin and Kalinagin are Hindi names. Get your facts right, before posting informational stuff like this
    .

  2. Anonymous says:

    King Cobras are not true cobras, besides the second picture is of Indian spectacled cobra, not King Cobra

  3. BZ says:

    Plus the N oxiana is not the black cobra, it is the caspian cobra and usually although could be, is not very dark.

  4. prabhu says:

    What is a Krishna sarpa

  5. Anonymous says:

    In Bengali.... King cobra is shankhachur but shakhamuti is banded krait not king cobra. Please correct it.