Naja kaouthia (Lesson, 1831)
Photo : Rudra Mahapatra
|Status||Common in its area of distribution|
|Distribution||West Bengal, Odisha, Sikkim, whole of East after Sikkim including Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh.
Found uncommonly in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
|Legal protection||Protected : Schedule -II part II of WLPA-1972|
|IUCN Status||Least Concerned|
Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia)
Hindi- Chandra Naag | Bangla- Keute |
Length- Generally about 5.5ft but can grow up to 7ft & 7”.
Dorsal body- - Body slender with oval shaped smooth scales. Body colour shows a wide range of colors including dark Yellow(resembles Chekered Keelback of the same area), Brown, light Brown, Reddish-Brown, Black with Reddish & Greyish tint etc. Bands present in most of the specimens and have contrasting color with main dorsal color.
Ventral body- Belly colour can also range from milky White or white mixed with yellow, gray, brown etc. depends on the color of the dorsal body. Sometimes dark coloed patches also present which look like ventral scales of a Rat Snake.
Head- Head slightly triangular with shiny smooth scales, not broader than neck. Neck appears thick when the hood is unstretched. When angered, it streches its hood to show the famous round hood mark. Hood mark design may be in the form of complete rounded spot(like eye or moon), may be open from top(like Spectacled Cobra) or can joint with edge of the hood. Hood mark also has dozens of colours & designs. Eyes have rounded pupil. Tongue colour Reddish or Pinkish, Black on tip.
Tail- Shorter than typical range and ends with pointed tip.
Key characters for identification-
- Stretched “Hood” with Eye shape mark in alert position.
- Smooth oval shaped scales on closer look.
Head- 7 Supralabials; 3rd & 4th touches eyes; 3rd supralabial is significantly larger then rest of frontal supralabials; 1 Preocular clearly touches posterior Nasal hence Loreal absent; 3 Postocular; Temporals 2+3.
Dorsal- Scales smooth with a range of 17-23 while hood region have 26-34(M) 24-33(F) rows.
Ventral- 170-192(M) 178-197(F); Anal Undivided(entire).
Subcaudal- 48-61(M) 46-59(F) and divided in Ziz-Zag manner with a pointed scale at the end.
Behavior- Monocled Cobra is a Nocturnal species for most of its activities but most active at dusk and dawn. It can continue its activity during day time also. In many wetlands its behavior is semiaquatic. Prefer wetter areas as compared to the Spectacled Cobra. Use rat holes, wood piles, brick piles, rotten caves of old trees, termite mound, heavy rocks for hide.
Preys on a variety of animals including frogs, toads and rodents and fish mostly, also feed on Birds (chicks), small mammals and other snakes. In search of food it can climb to a good height on top of roofs and trees.
It is a fast and alert species when provoked and opens its hood with growling hissing sound as alarm. Monocled Cobra is found to be more aggressive and uncertain than the Spectacled Cobra.
Reproduction - Females lay a clutch of 8 to 20 eggs between January to end of September. Incubation period is 60 days and female incubate them till hatching.
Rescue Situations -
Monocled Cobra is one of the most common Venomous snake in Eastern parts of country and mostly lives around humans habitats for food and shelter. They used to live in wheat and rice crops in search of rodents. Encounters increases during monsoon. Use almost all places inside human house including grain storage, rat holes, dark places, scrap etc.
Most bites are observed on mistakenly provoking them when humans are not able to see them. On serious bite it ejects a neurotoxic venom through its fangs and it chews on its prey. Dry bite also observed in many cases. Spitting behavior is found in this species which is totally insignificant in medical view as it can't fix the target of spit. Victim can survive from 1.5 hours to few more hours depending on temper of snake, physiological symptoms and medical history of victim and the site of bite.