Spectacled Cobra ( Naja naja Linnaeus, 1758 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Naja naja (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Names: 
Hindi: 
Naag(नाग , નાગ ), Kaala saap(काला साँप), Kaalo(कालो)
Bengali: 
Keute
Kannada: 
Nagarahavu(ನಾಗರಹಾವು ), Nag Havu
Malayalam: 
മൂര്‍ഖന്‍, സര്‍പ്പം
Tamil: 
Nalla pamb
Telugu: 
Nag pamu
English: 
Indian Cobra, Common Cobra, Common Indian Cobra
Photographs: 
Grayish brown form. Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
Distribution: 
Distributed throughout the country upto Assam. Not found in Indian Islands and Himalayan hills. Recorded from following states: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, West Bengal. Also found in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Venom Type: 
Neurotoxic
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be easily identified by having hood and adjoined rounded mark on posterior of hood. Color of Spectacled Cobra greatly depends on geographical areas. In and around human habitation and agricultural lands it can seen commonly as a rodent predator. Always raise hood on disturbance or to alarm its enemy. Typical spact-shaped mark is usually present which is characteristic of this species. 

Description: 

New born- 25-30cm.
Average length- 150cm.
Maximum length- 210cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender with smooth oval shaped scales. Dorsal color includes yellow, all shades of brown, dark gray, reddish, black or black mixed with blue, purple, red etc. Side dorsal scales larger and clearly oval shaped while scales on the top narrower and become pointed. Color greatly depends on geographical region. Maharashtra, whole South India, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal etc. coastal states populations bear color range of yellow and brown (light). Sometimes dark color obtuse bands also found on posterior side. Central, northern & western India population is known for dark brown or black color.

Ventral -
Belly color depends on dorsal color and ranges from milky white, yellowish, white mixed with purple, red, brown, gray etc with or without dark patches.

Head -
Head triangular with rounded edge, not broader than neck. The famous hood mark appears when stretched on provocation. Hood marks varies in design and prominence aspects. In dark colored specimens (from North India) hood mark becomes faint or absent in adults. Eyes have rounded pupil.

Tail -
Slightly shorter than typical range and ends with pointed tip. Black color specimens sometimes bear darker tail.

Scalation
Head: 
Usually a single cuneate scale on each side; supralabial 7; 3rd & 4th touches eyes; 3rd significantly larger then rest of frontal supralabials; preocular 1, touches posterior Nasal hence loreal absent; postocular 3; temporal 2+3 or 2+3.
Dorsal: 
Males- 23-37 (at 10th ventral): 19-25 (at 20% of ventral): 21-25 ( at 40% of ventral): 19-23 (at 60% of ventral): 13-18 (at 80% of ventral): 15-18 (at vent). Females- 23-37 (at 10th ventral): 19-25 (at 20% of ventral): 20-25 (at 40% of ventral): 17-24 (at 60% of ventral): 15-17 (at 80% of ventral): 15-18 (at vent).
Ventral: 
171-197 (Male), 178-196 (Female).
Sub Caudal: 
53-67(Male), 50-65(Female); anal undivided; paired.
Habitat: 
Found both in hills and plains. Distributed in variety of forests of Indian mainland which includes rainforest, mixed, moist and dry deciduous forests, grassland, wetland, desert etc. Lives in dense & open forests, agricultural lands, city outskirts, around wetlands, rocky terrain having mounds and deep hiding places, old woods etc. Hides in mounds, holes, piles, caves, cracks etc.
Natural History: 
Spectacled Cobra is basically a nocturnal species but crepuscular behavior is mostly shown by it. Can be seen at daytime also. Activity terrestrial but can climb well when needed for foraging and roosting. Behavior alert and aggressive. On provocation raise its forebody to show famous hood and hiss loudly to give warnings. Gives mock attacks initially but can bite in furry to deliver its neurotoxin venom. To escape it tries to crawl slowly which is done by keeping eyes on enemy by curling and bowing the hood. Mating begins during post winter season with male combat. Winning male performs mating rituals with female. Egg lying and guarding done by female in mounds and caves. Up to 30 eggs it can lay and hatching done from late summer to most of monsoon.
Diet: 
It preys on variety of animals including frogs, toads and mostly rodents. Also feed on birds, other snakes including venomous ones, small mammals (mongoose and kittens), eggs etc. Can climb up to good heights on roof tops and trees in search of food.
Bite symptoms: 

Read more about the cobra bite treatment :

http://toxicology.ucsd.edu/Snakebite%20Protocols/Naja2.htm

Threats: 
Direct threats includes killing due to its venom potency, fear due to its aggressive behavior known to layman encounterd with it and road kills. This snake is exploited extensively by all Indian snake charmers and comes in skin trade too. Many communities consume this species for edible use. Its venom is used in production of Anti Venom Serum and various research use so venom harvesting is done illegally in some parts of India and many other countries of its range. This is one among many venomous snake which are in high demand for Chinese medicines and snake vine.
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