Scientific Name: Naja naja kaouthia
Australia is often regarded as having the most venomous snakes in the world. This is very true if only the toxicity of the venom is compared. As far as the danger a species poses, Australian snakes pale in comparison to species such as the Asian cobra. Many thousands of people die every year because of the bite of this species compared to 1-2 deaths each year from Australian snakes. The effects of the venom of the cobra is also of concern. Australian snake venom is rapidly neutralized by the appropriate antivenom with no real side effects. A serious bite from an Asian cobra or an American rattlesnake regularly leads to permanent damage by the destruction of tissue or the loss of a finger or limb.
A highly variable species, which is sometimes also known as the monocled cobra because of the marking on the back of the neck hood that resembles a pair of spectacles. The upper body colour is usually brown, ranging from light fawn to almost black. The underside, including the side of the head is pale yellowish-cream, occasionally with darker bands or markings. The hood is expanded when the snake feels threatened by moveable bony extensions of the vertebrae. This, combined with an extremely loud hiss and the front half of the body raised up off of the ground, is an imposing sight for any potential predator. The exception is the mongoose, a small mammal which will readily take on and kill the cobra.
A widespread and common species from central and eastern Asia from Indian east to China, Vietnam and Thailand. It inhabits a wide range of habitats including grasslands, open forest, savannah and areas disturbed by human habitation. It is often attracted to the latter because of the presence of large numbers of mice and rats. The species is extremely important in controlling the numbers of these rodent vermin which case millions of dollars of damage to crops and stored food. Unfortunately, it also means that it brings this very dangerous snake into regular contact with humans.
Small mammals are the main food item, particularly rodents.
Female cobras lay large clutches of creamy-white, bullet-shaped eggs that are around 7cm in length. Up to 20 eggs may be produced by a particularly large snake.