Last Reviewed and Updated on August 1, 2022
Cobras are one of the most recognizable snakes. Their ability to flatten their necks makes them really stand out when it comes to snakes. Let’s explore some of the most interesting facts about cobras (Naja snakes), from their traits to their deadly venom.
1. Many snakes are known by the common name cobra, most being Naja
Snakes that belong to the Naja genus are true cobras. But other snake species are commonly called cobras as well. One such example is the king cobra, which doesn’t belong to the Naja genus.
Also read: facts about snakes
2. All cobra species are venomous and can deliver a fatal bite
All Naja species are venomous, and all can deliver a bite that is fatal to a human. Most have strong neurotoxic venom, and some also have cardiotoxic venom.
3. Spitting cobras can “spit” their venom
Several Naja species can deliver their venom by shooting it at their attackers. Their venom delivery mechanism is specialized in a way that it allows these snakes to squirt the venom forward instead of downward as is with most snakes.
4. All cobras can raise their front end and flatten their necks
All true cobras can raise the front quarter of their body off the ground and flatten their necks. This is used as a defense mechanism as it makes them appear larger to a potential predator.
5. The Caspian cobra is the most venomous cobra
The Caspian cobra is the most venomous species of cobra in the world, as well as one of the most venomous snakes.
6. They come in many colors
Some are brown, some are black, some are gray, and some have a very unique coloration. Samar cobra, for example, can be black with a yellow head (or even green). The Red spitting cobra is usually bright salmon red colored with a wide black throat band.
7. Indian cobra is one of the “big four”, a group of snakes responsible for most bites in India
Indian cobra, also known as the spectacled cobra, is one of the four species of snakes responsible for most snakebite cases and snakebite-related deaths in India.
8. The forest cobra is the largest cobra
Most cobra snakes attain lengths of about 6 ft / 1.84 m. Some species, such as the forest cobra, are a bit larger. The forest cobra is the largest true cobra; the longest individual was measured to be 10 feet / 3.2 meters long.
9. Cobras can be found in Asia and Africa
True cobras are widespread; they can be found throughout Africa, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
10. True cobras lay eggs
Not all snakes lay eggs; some give birth to live young. True cobras are oviparous animals, meaning the female of the species lays eggs.