Among snakes, cobras are the most iconic and intimidating. Her slender posture and "hood" give her an air of elegance and respect in the animal world, not to mention her poisonous sting that could kill a human in a matter of minutes.
Luckily, cobras are not found in Brazil. However, in Africa, India, the Middle East, Indonesia and Southeast Asia they are quite common. In an interview with Livescience, Sara Viernum, herpetologist from Madison, Wiscosin, USA, revealed some curiosities about this snake genus.
“The name naja refers to many species of snakes, most of which belong to the family Elapidae (snake). In turn, this family includes other types of snakes, including the coral snake, the mambas and the kraits, ”explains the doctor. Due to confusion in classifying and defining a cobra, the number of species can range from 20 to about 270, depending on how it is analyzed.
The gender cobra It is part of the family Elapidae, a type of snake that has hollow tusks attached to the top of the jaw at the front of the mouth. According to the San Diego Zoo, these creatures cannot bury their prey in other animals, so they use the object to inject the poison. In addition, they have a great sense of smell and see perfectly in the dark.
Apart from the hood that characterizes them, the capello snakes (as the cobras are also known) have circular pupils and soft scales. The colors usually vary between species, being red, yellow, black, spotted, striped etc.
Animals of this genus are usually larger than common snakes, with some species reaching up to 2 meters. According to the Cape Snake Conservation, Naja melanoleuca (Forest Cobra) is one of the largest among them, reaching up to 3 meters. Already Naja Ashei (Ashe's spitting snake) measures 2.7 m, making it the largest spitting snake in the world. In turn, the smallest species, the spitting snake in Mozambique, is 1.2 m. The real "queen" among the poisonous snakes is the royal snake, measuring about 5.5 meters.
“The most characteristic and striking physical appearance of cobras is the hood,” says Viernum. The doctor explains that the transformation occurs when the snake jumps the ribs of the neck, making the area near the head larger and wider. The effect makes snakes threatening and imposes respect on enemies.
In general, cobras live in warm places and tropical areas; however, they can also be found in lawns, forests and scrublands in Africa and Southeast Asia. Usually, they spend most of their time under rocks and trees not bothering anyone.
Dr. Viernum reports that the most distinctive behavior of the cobras is their mode of defense, which includes raising the hood, the hissing sound, and the upright posture of raising the upper body. Most snakes of this genus rear to a third of their total size.
In addition to scaring victims and indicating a possible attack, this behavior also helps in the search for food. Some species even spit venom from prey toward predators.
Naja females lay 20 to 40 eggs per brood, which are incubated for 60 to 80 days. According to the SnakeWorld website, the creatures are not that cruel as they stand beside the eggs and defend them until they hatch. Mongoose and wild boar are the main predators they have to deal with during this time. In fact, the former are known to be the deadly enemies of the cobras.
The Cobras.org Institute explains that the mongoose have thick fur that protects them from the fangs of snakes. In addition, they use their agility and speed to tire the opponent and win the battle.
Cobras are opportunistic hunters and attack whenever inattentive prey appears in front of them. In general, they eat birds, small mammals, lizards, eggs of other animals, carrion and even members of their own species.
They usually chase the target from a distance, waiting for the right moment for the boat. The San Diego Zoo reports that they tend to hunt at dawn and dusk, but some of them prefer the heat of the day. Like other snakes, cobras have a very low metabolism that allows them to remain without eating for days or months.
Dr. Viernum says cobra bites can be fatal, especially if not treated immediately. Fortunately, there is already an antidote to this kind of snake, and sometimes a life can be saved with the use of artificial breathing apparatus.
“Like coral snakes, cobras have a very potent neurotoxin that acts on the nervous system. An animal bite causes vision problems, difficulty swallowing, breathing and speaking, muscle weakness, vomiting, abdominal pain, necrosis and anticoagulation. An adult human stops breathing in just 30 minutes after the bite.
Some cobras - including all spits - have a poisonous cytotoxin that attacks body tissue and causes acute pain, swelling, and possibly necrosis (the death of cells and body tissue). According to the American Museum of Natural History, snakes can also shoot poison directly into the victim's eyes quite skillfully, causing blindness if not washed away immediately.Continues after advertising
The royal snake is an example of a snake with a "snake" in its name, but which, despite its appearance, is not part of the najas, being the only one of its kind Ophiophagus hannah. Although it is the longest poisonous species in the world, they average 3 to 4 meters, but can reach 5 meters.
As the snake lifts up to one third of your body, an enraged creature will literally stare you in the eye. Even though there are poisons more powerful than yours, the actual one emits enough neurotoxin to kill up to 20 people - or an elephant - with just one bite. Luckily, she's very shy and usually shuns humans.
In addition, the royal is the only species of snake to nurture for its children, which it keeps ferociously, even if not provoked. It resides in trees, land and even water, and can be found in rainforests, mangroves and grasslands of China and Southeast Asia.
According to National Geographic, king snakes are popular with snake charmers. However, they do not hear the sound of music, as they are deaf to ambient sounds. In fact, they are attracted to the shape and movement of the flute.