We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Cobra?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The cobra is widely known as one of the most venomous snakes on Earth. Though the shy reptile seldom attacks humans, a single bite from the snake is often lethal. Most cobras can be found in dry regions of Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, and India. The venomous snakes are also known as the only snakes in the world who build nests for their eggs.

Cobra snakes are members of the elapidae family. Over 100 types of this snake exist. The most aggressive type, the king cobra, contains enough venom in a single bite to kill an elephant, or 20 people. Cobras may grow up to 13 feet (4 meters) in length, and can weigh up to 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

Snakes in the cobra family are distinguished by their hoods, or rib extensions, that extend behind their eyes. These hoods flare out when the snake hisses and becomes irritable or angry. The markings and coloration of the cobra vary by species. Some, like the spectacled cobra, feature eyeglass-shaped patterns, while others, like the king cobra, have stripes. Most cobras are brown, olive, or yellow, and may feature black or white spots.

Members of this snake family may live up to 20 years in the wild. Once grown, the only species that threaten the snake are humans and the mongoose. Nearly any small animal can be eaten by these types of snakes. Most cobras prefer to eat small rodents and birds. Eggs, fish, and lizards may be a part of their diet as well. King cobras in particular enjoy eating other snakes.

King cobras are known for fiercely protecting their eggs during incubation, which usually lasts two and one-half months. Though both parents guard the nest, mother cobras in particular often refuse to leave the next unguarded until the young snakes hatch. A typical nest will contain 20 to 40 eggs. Hatchlings are typically 20 inches (50 centimeters) in length, and are born with full-strength venom.

Though many people fear these types of snakes, the predators can actually be helpful to humans. Like many other snakes, cobras eat pests, such as rodents and other snakes, that typically bother humans. Cobra venom is also used in some medications, such as pain relievers. Though king cobras are well-known for their use by snake charmers of Southern Asia, the snakes cannot hear the music itself. Instead, the snakes respond to the movement and vibrations of the flute.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for All Things Nature, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Jul 13, 2014

@Grivusangel-- Absolutely, every living creature has a meaningful purpose and place in nature. If their existence wasn't necessary, God wouldn't have created them in the first place. So the cobra is vital to the ecosystem just like any other living thing.

By burcinc — On Jul 12, 2014

@ysmina-- I'm not sure what makes a cobra move, but I do know that the king cobra has an important place in Hinduism. It is regarded as a god by some and there is an even a Hindu holiday commemorating the king cobra god. In Indian films, I have seen characters pray when they see a king cobra, or even offer milk to it.

The cobra is also associated with Lord Shiva in Hinduism. Lord Shiva is depicted with snakes around his neck. Cobra is a symbol of fear, danger, desires and lust. So the image signifies that Lord Shiva has overcome these harmful feelings and thoughts and that he is afraid of no one.

By ysmina — On Jul 12, 2014

Most of us think of Indian snake charmers when we think of the cobra. I found out just recently that cobras do not in fact have ears and cannot hear. I was shocked to find out that they do not move to the music of the snake charmers, but rather the movement the charmer makes with the flute.

I think that's very interesting but I also think that there must be more to it. They may not hear the music, but can't cobras feel the vibration of the music? Maybe that affects their movement too?

By Lostnfound — On Jul 09, 2014

I remember seeing a wildlife show (I think it was Jeff Corwin) about a king cobra. He was in India with an ex-pat American cobra catcher. They were visiting a tea plantation where the tea pickers had headed for the hills after spotting a king cobra among the plants. I'd have hauled out of there, too.

Anyway, the catcher had this long sack that had a drawstring top on it. He had two assistants find the cobra (don't you want *that* job?), and then run it toward him. He held the sack open so it looked liked a hole in the ground and in the snake went. He closed it shut and bagged the cobra. He took it somewhere and released it. So not interested in that profession!

By Grivusangel — On Jul 08, 2014

Much as I hate to say it, most snakes do have a purpose in the ecosystem. Let me just say I'm not a fan, and I'm glad cobras are not native to the US. I'd rather take my chances with a rattlesnake any day.

I do remember seeing a website posted by a guy who used to keep "hot" snakes. He had a tree cobra that he said made a real effort to bite him every time he had to clean the cage, feed the snake, whatever... So they're not always that shy. He said that particular snake was psycho.

I'm also glad the only elapids found in the US are coral snakes, which are small, extremely shy and somewhat rare.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for All Things Nature, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.