The spectacle snake (see photo below) was given this name because of the drawing, which consists of two rings with a handle located on the back side of its hood. Such an element is a specific feature of all cobras.
It is a part of the neck that swells when exposed to a specific muscle group. This happens when the cobra is aggressive or scared.
You can only meet a point snake in nature in countries with a warm climate. It dwells in the whole space from India, Central Asia and South China to the Philippines and the islands of the Malay Archipelago. Cobra favorite places are jungle and rice fields. Sometimes it crawls into city parks and household plots.
Cobra lives in various places. She can settle under the roots of trees, in piles of brushwood, in ruins and scree. At the same time, she prefers places located close to a person’s housing. The snake can also live high in the mountains, in territories up to two thousand seven hundred meters above sea level.
Indian cobra, so-called spectacle snake, has a body length of one and a half to two meters. The main color of her scales - fiery yellow, giving a bluish sheen. Slightly blunted and rounded head of a cobra in the body passes very smoothly. Snake's small eyes have round pupils. On the head are large shields.
Paired venomous fangs of a cobra are located on its upper jaw. At some distance from them follow one to three small teeth.
The body of the spectacled cobra, covered with smooth scales, passes into a thin long tail. The color of individuals of this species can vary considerably even among those representatives who live in the same locality. The general background of the body are colors from greyish yellow to brown and even black. The belly of a cobra is yellowish-brown or light gray.
The character of coloring of young individuals is somewhat different. On their body transverse dark stripes are clearly visible. With age, they gradually turn pale, and subsequently disappear altogether.
In the coloring of the snake, the most notable difference is the so-called glasses. This bright clear pattern is particularly visible in the case of aggressiveness of a cobra.
The spectacle snake is clumsy and rather slow in its movements. However, if necessary, she swims great and climbs trees.
Behavior in case of danger
Under any threat, the spectacle serpent raises vertically the front third of its torso. At the same time she spreads eight front pairs of ribs of the cervical region to the side. In the event of danger, the cobra holds its head towards the enemy in a horizontal position. The neck in this situation expands and becomes flatter. It is then that the bright, eye-shaped pattern characteristic of this species of cobra appears. The value of "points" for the snake is very large. The fact is that in the event of a predator attacking from the rear, they create the impression that the cobra's head is turned toward it. It holds back reptile enemies.
The spectacle snake mates in January-February. And in May, females lay eggs. In the clutch, as a rule, there are from ten to twenty eggs (it is very rare to forty-five). Males and females live in pairs, not only during the mating period, but also until the young are born. Egg laying is necessarily guarded by one of the parents.
Eggs develop in seventy to eighty days.
Enemies and Victims
The spectacle snake has many enemies. However, the most dangerous for her is the mongoose. This is a small predator that belongs to the wyverrodae family. A mongoose can attack a snake of any size. He easily jumps off, avoiding the throws of the Indian cobra, and at a convenient moment seizes his sharp teeth into her neck. The mongoose has a reduced sensitivity to the poison of the cobra. However, he still tries to avoid her bites.
The spectacle snake is very poisonous. However, it does not pose a threat to humans. The fact is that she first poisons her victim with poison, and then completely swallows it. The snake feeds on various reptiles, rats and mice. Therefore, a person is of no particular interest to her.
In the case when a threatening hiss is heard nearby, anyone can understand that there is a cobra nearby. The spectacle snake warns a person about a possible attack. If you ignore the situation, then a big trouble can happen. The cobra will begin to defend itself, which means it will bite and poison its abuser. Her poison is very strong. After a bite, a person may get sick or die.
The spectacle snake is honored by the people of India. There are many legends and stories about her. The cobra is used during its performances by snake charmers. It is kept in wicker round baskets. Before the presentation, the cover from the basket is removed, the cobra becomes in its spectacular pose. The caster plays a wind instrument, swaying to the beat of the music. The snake does not hear any sounds. She has no external auditory organ. However, the cobra is watching the man, swaying after him. From the side it seems that the reptile is dancing.
What does a cobra look like?
The spectacle snake can reach up to 180 cm in length. Her head is slightly rounded, and on its surface there are several large plates. An individual has two eyes with round pupils, which continuously monitor what is happening.
The teeth of the Indian cobra are small, which cannot be said about two fangs: they not only differ from the rest in their size, but also contain a supply of poison. The body of the snake is covered with small scales with a rich color palette: they can be both light yellow and brown, and even black. As for such individuals at an early age, they have black transverse stripes, which later disappear. The sign by which a cobra can be easily distinguished from other snakes is a pattern on the upper part of its body in the form of glasses. He shows predators coming from the rear that the reptile seems to be turned in their direction and warns of an immediate reaction that it saves the snake more than once.
The cobra does not differ in high speed: it moves slowly and awkwardly, but when it comes time to move through the trees at high altitude, then it makes it rather cleverly.
Where does the spectacle snake live?
Such reptiles prefer a warm climate: they can easily be found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, as well as on the east coast of Hindustan near the Indian Ocean.
Representatives of this species live in fields and tropical forests, often making their way to residential areas. Sometimes they are seen in ruins, caves and deep ravines, under the roots of spreading trees and even in brushwood. Indian cobra is able to live even in the mountains at an altitude of 2.5 km above sea level.
How does the spectacle snake live?
This cobra is a threat to living beings, including humans. If the poison enters his body, then he can get sick, his nervous system will start to suffer, the person will gradually become paralyzed, after which, if left untreated, death occurs.
When a snake senses that a predator is approaching it, it hisses loudly and inflates its “hood” by expanding all the front ribs, as a result of which a drawing of glasses appears on the back. At this time, the cobra is ready to attack the enemy. If you ignore this alarm, the snake immediately jump, starting to defend itself: it bites and thus poisons the enemy. However, she never attacks from the back or surreptitiously, and even if she attacks, she often does not inject poison: this happens because she does not want to waste it.
What eats a spectacle snake?
Despite its poison, the cobra is not too great a threat to humans: when it sees people, it tries to crawl away. The fact is that it feeds exclusively on small mammals, rodents, chickens and reptiles. Sometimes amphibians and birds enter her diet, she can attack their nests (if they are too low) and steal eggs. This is how it happens: first, the snake injects a poison into the victim’s body through a bite, and then can swallow it.
How does the spectacle cobra breed?
The beginning of the mating season in a snake falls in the middle of winter, and in late May, the females begin to lay the first eggs. Usually their number reaches 20 pcs., But sometimes it happens that there are as many as 45 pieces in a clutch.
The female and male are together from the beginning of the mating season and until the young are born: they do not hatch eggs, but do not leave future snakes. This is necessary so that the clutch is reliably protected from predators, and they do not break. This period lasts from 70 to 80 days. After the young have hatched, they can already be deadly, as their teeth contain poison for self-defense. They live for about 30 years, if they do not die earlier due to the attack of predators.
Who is afraid of the Indian cobra?
The spectacle snake has many enemies, the main one of which is the mongoose - a predator of small size, which is able to make sharp and quick movements, thereby avoiding its bites. In addition, the sensitivity to the poison of such a snake is much lower than that of other animals. A mongoose attacks a cobra from a jump, turning away and jumping from its throws, and then easily digs its teeth into its neck.
How does a person use an Indian cobra?
As for the modern world, now the Indian cobra is used as entertainment for tourists. The main thing is to know all the habits of a snake and study its behavior - only this way you can avoid the risk of being poisoned! This field is especially popular with spellcasters, who use different musical instruments for their work - most often a pipe. From the side it seems that the snake begins to dance to the sound of music, but this is not so - it has no organs of hearing, and the cobra does not hear anything, which means that during this time she is preparing for an attack, expanding her ribs. When a pattern of points appears on the back, this means that the snake becomes too dangerous to continue the observation, and the caster quickly locks the cage.
Description of the king cobra
It belongs to the family of asps, forming its own (of the same name) genus and species - the king cobra. Able at the danger of pushing the chest ribs so that the upper body turns into a kind of hood. This puffy neck trick is due to skin folds hanging on its sides. At the top of the snake head there is a small flat area, the eyes are small, usually dark.
The name "cobra" awarded her the Portuguese, who arrived in India at the dawn of the XVI century. Initially, the "snake in a hat" ("Cobra de Cappello"), they called the eyeglass cobra. Then the nickname lost its second part and stuck to all members of the genus.
Between themselves, herpetologists call the snake Hannah, starting from its Latin name Ophiophagus hannah, and divide the reptiles into two large isolated groups:
- Continental / Chinese - with wide stripes and a smooth pattern throughout the body,
- island / indonesian - monophonic individuals with reddish uneven specks on the throat and with light (thin) transverse stripes.
It will be interesting: Chinese cobra
By the color of the young snake, it is already possible to understand which of the two types it belongs to: the young of the Indonesian group exhibits light transverse stripes interlocking with the ventral shields along the body. There is, however, an intermediate color, due to blurred boundaries between types. The color of scales on the back depends on the habitat and may be yellow, brown, green and black. The scales of the underbelly, as a rule, are lighter and painted in a creamy beige color.
It is interesting! King cobra is able to "growl". A growl-like sound comes out of the throat when the snake is mad. The instrument of the deep guttural "roar" is tracheal diverticula sounding at low frequencies. Paradox, but another “snarling” snake is considered to be a green snake, which often falls on the Hannah dinner table.
Habitat, royal cobra habitat
Southeast Asia (the recognized birthplace of all apse), along with South Asia, became a habitat for the king cobra. The reptile has settled in the tropical forests of Pakistan, the Philippines, Southern China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India (south of the Himalayas).
As it turned out as a result of tracking with the help of radio beacons, some Hannah never leave their habitable areas, but some snakes actively migrate, moving tens of kilometers.
In recent years, the Hannahs have increasingly settled near human habitation. This is caused by the development in Asia of large-scale agricultural production, for the needs of which forests are being cut down, where cobras are used to living.
At the same time, the expansion of cultivated areas leads to the breeding of rodents, attracting small snakes, which the king cobra likes to eat.
Duration and lifestyle
If the king cobra does not fall into the tooth of a mongoose, it may well live for 30 years or more. Reptile grows throughout its long life, shedding 4 to 6 times a year. Shedding takes about 10 days and is stressful for the snake body: Hanna becomes vulnerable and is looking for a warm shelter, the role of which is often human housing.
It is interesting! The king cobra crawls along the ground, hiding in burrows / caves and climbing trees. Eyewitnesses claim that the reptile also swims well.
Many are aware of the cobra’s ability to take a vertical stance using up to 1/3 of its body.. Such a strange hang does not prevent the cobra from moving, and also serves as a tool for dominating the neighboring cobras. The winner is the one of the reptiles, which, rising higher, will be able to "peck" its opponent into the top of the head. The humiliated cobra changes its vertical position to a horizontal position and rejects ingloriously.
Enemies of the king cobra
Hannah, no doubt, extremely poisonous, but not immortal. And she has several natural enemies, which include:
The last two do not give the king cobras a chance for salvation, although they do not have innate immunity against the venom of the king cobra. They have to rely solely on their reactions and dexterity, rarely failing them. A mongoose, having seen a cobra, comes to hunting excitement and does not miss an opportunity to attack it.
The animal is aware of some inhibition of Hannah and, therefore, it applies a tactical technique it has worked out: to jump, jump, jump, and again rush into battle. After a series of false attacks, there is one lightning bite in the back of the head leading to the death of the snake.
Her offspring is threatened by larger reptiles. But the most ruthless fighter of the royal cobra has become a man who kills and catches these snakes.
Food, prey of the king cobra
She earned the scientific name Ophiophagus hannah (“snake eater”) because of her unusual gastronomic tastes. With great pleasure, Hannahs eat their own kind - such snakes as bogey, kufi, snakes, pythons, krats and even cobras. Much less often the king cobra includes in its menu large lizards, including monitor lizards. In some cases, the prey of a cobra becomes her own young..
On the hunt, the phlegm of its own nature leaves the snake: it swiftly pursues the victim, first grabbing its tail and then sticking its sharp teeth closer to the head (the most vulnerable spot). Hannah kills her prey with a bite, squirting the strongest toxin into her body. The cobra's teeth are short (only 5 mm): they do not fold up like other poisonous snakes. Because of what Hannah is not limited to a quick bite, but is forced, while holding the victim, to bite her several times.
It is interesting! The cobra does not suffer from gluttony and withstands a long hunger strike (about three months): just as much as it takes to incubate its offspring.
Cobra bite, how poison works
Against the background of the poison of the relatives of the genus Naja, the poison of the king cobra looks less toxic, but more dangerous because of its dosage (up to 7 ml). This is enough to send an elephant to the next world, and the death of a man comes in a quarter of an hour. The neurotoxic effect of the poison is manifested through severe pain, a sharp drop in vision and paralysis.. Then come cardiovascular insufficiency, coma and death.
It is interesting! Oddly enough, but in India, where about 50,000 people die annually from the bites of venomous snakes, the least of the Indians die from the attacks of the royal cobra.
According to statistics, only 10% of Hannah bites become fatal for a person, which is explained by two features of her behavior.
Firstly, it is a very patient snake, ready to allow the counter to miss each other without harm to health. You just need to get up / sit down to be on the line of her eyes, do not move abruptly and breathe calmly without looking away. In most cases, the cobra escapes without seeing the threat in the traveler.
Secondly, the king cobra is able to regulate the flow of poison during an attack: it closes the ducts of the poisonous glands, reducing the special muscles. The amount of toxin released depends on the size of the victim and often exceeds the lethal dose.
It is interesting! When frightening off a person, the reptile does not strengthen the bite with a poisonous injection. Biologists believe that the snake saves poison for hunting, not wanting to waste it in vain.
Содержание королевской кобры дома
Герпетологи считают эту змею чрезвычайно интересной и неординарной, но советуют новичкам сто раз подумать, прежде чем заводить ее дома. The main difficulty lies in teaching the royal cobra to the new provisions: you will not feed her with snakes, pythons and monitor lizards.
A more budget option (rats) is fraught with some difficulties:
- with long-term feeding by rats possible fatty liver,
- rats as food, according to certain experts, negatively affect the reproductive functions of the snake.
It is interesting! Cobra transfer to rats takes a lot of time and can be done in two ways. At the first reptile fed snakes, sewn with rats, gradually reducing the proportion of snake meat. The second method involves laundering the rat carcass from the smell and rubbing it with a piece of snake. Mice as feed are excluded.
Adult snakes need a terrarium not less than 1.2 m long. If the cobra is large - up to 3 meters (newborns have enough tanks 30-40 cm long). For the terrarium you need to prepare:
- snags / branches (especially for young snakes),
- big drinker (cobras drink a lot),
- substrate to the bottom (sphagnum, coconut or newspaper).
Maintain the temperature in the terrarium within + 22 + 27 degrees. Remember that the royal cobras are very fond of moisture: the humidity should not fall below 60-70%. It is especially important to track these figures at the time of the molting reptile.
And do not forget about extreme caution during all manipulations with the royal cobra: wear gloves and keep her at a safe distance.