15 Types of Cobras – Common & Rare Species

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We all know that snakes are some of the world’s most fascinating creatures.  But no snake species is more intriguing than cobras. Spreading across Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Southeast Asia, cobras are perhaps the most common snake species in the world.

There are so many types of cobras in the world today. Let’s look at some of the top 15 cobra species in the world.

The Egyptian Cobra

The Egyptian cobra is a highly venomous cobra native to the North Africa region. Some Egyptian cobra species have also been found in other places across Africa, including eastern and central African.

– Appearance

The Egyptian cobra has a large hood that is depressed and distinct from the neck. The neck of the Egyptian cobra has large cervical ribs that can expand to form a hood-like shape. The snout of this cobra is broad and rounded. Its eyes are big, and they have round pupils. The body of this cobra is cylindrical, and the cobra also has a long tail.

The length of this cobra depended on subspecies and geographical location. The most distinctive traits of this cobra are its hood and head. The color of the Egyptian cobra can vary on subspecies and geographical location.

However, most subspecies of the Egyptian cobra have a brown shade and darker or lighter mottling. Egyptian cobras have a teardrop mark beneath their eyes.

– Size and Weight

Most Egyptian cobras are grey-brown or copper-red. They have an average length of about 1.8 meters, although some Egyptian cobras can grow to a size of 2.5 meters.  Egyptian cobras can weigh over 20 pounds, depending on the species.

– Habitat

Egyptian cobras live in various habitats, including dry savannas, semi-desert regions, and steppes. The Egyptian cobra prefers living near water, scrub vegetation, and agricultural fields.  Egyptian cobras are prevalent across North Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa regions.

– Diet

The Egyptian cobra can feed on a wide array of prey, including birds, small mammals, lizards, and frogs.

– Venom

The Egyptian cobra is one of the most venomous cobra species. Its venom consists of cytotoxins and neurotoxins. The venom yield of this cobra is between 175 and 300 mg in one bit. Its venom affects the prey’s nervous system, ultimately hindering the nerve signals from going through the lungs and heart. This damage to the nervous system causes death as a result of respiratory failure.

The Forest Cobra

The forest cobra is also known as the black cobra.  It is also one of the world’s highly venomous serpents. The cobra species is prevalent in the African continent, especially in the western and central regions of the continent.

– Appearance

The forest cobra has an extensive, broad, and flathead. The head is slightly distinct from the cobra’s neck. The forest cobra is thick-bodied, although it has a slender, medium-sized tail. The cobra’s long cervical ribs can expand to form a wedge-shaped hood. This cobra has a shiny brown color that tends to darken towards the tail.

– Size and Weight

The forest cobra is perhaps the largest cobra species. It can grow to a length of between 1.4 and 2.2 meters. The maximum size of this cobra is about 2.7 meters. Forest cobras can weigh between 6 and 8 pounds.

– Habitat

The forest habitat lives in forests, as its name suggests. The forest cobra is prevalent in scrublands across the  sub-Saharan region. Forest cobras also live in  the subtropical and tropical regions of central and west Africa. The cobra can also be found in mangroves forests across western Africa.

– Diet

Forest cobras feed on several types of prey, including fish, other snakes, lizards, rodents, bird eggs, amphibians, and smaller mammals.

– Venom

The forest cobra has postsynaptic neurotoxin venom. The cobra is highly venomous, and it can inject a high quantity of venom into the prey. Its venom can kill within 30 minutes to two hours.

The Desert Cobra

The desert cobra is a cobra subspecies that is prevalent in the Middle East region.

– Appearance

The desert cobra is black. The cobra also has shiny scales throughout its body. It has a short tail and a cylindrical body.  It has a moderately small, broad, and flat head that is distinct from its head.

– Size and Weight

Adult desert cobras can grow up to 13 ft. in length. Some desert cobra species can grow up to 18 ft. The cobra weighs between 15 and 20 pounds.

– Habitat

The desert snake lives strictly in desert regions across the Middle East. It is a common cobra species in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and parts of Israel. The snake can only survive in desert regions.

– Diet

Desert cobras are predatory creatures. They primarily feed on lizards, birds, smaller mammals, and rodents such as mice.

– Venom

The desert cobra has a highly venomous snake of all the cobra subspecies living in deserts. Its venom can kill as a result of tissue damage.

The Indian Cobra

The Indian cobra is a type of cobra prevalent in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. The Indian cobra is responsible for the most snake nites recorded in India.

– Appearance

The Indian cobra varies in pattern and color depending on geographical region. India cobra subspecies can either be brown, grey, reddish, yellow, or black.

– Size and Weight

Indian cobras measure between 1.8 and 2.2 ft. Some Indian cobra subspecies can grow to a maximum size of 4 meters. These cobras  weigh between 2 and 3 kg.  Some cobras can weigh more than 9 kg, although in rare cases.

– Habitat

The Indian cobra is prevalent in several habitats, although they prefer to live in open forest edges  and fields. Some Indian cobras have been spotted around villages and other human settlement areas.

– Diet

Indian cobras are strictly carnivores like other cobra species. These cobras feed on small mammals, lizards, birds, and other reptiles such as smaller snakes.

– Venom

The Indian cobra has a potent neurotoxin and postsynaptic Venom. This cobra’s venom paralyzes the prey and causes death due to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

Red Spitting Cobra

This cobra species is native to the African continent. It is in the family group of spitting cobras that are native to the African continent.

– Appearance

The redhead spitting cobra has a bright salmon-red color with a colossal throat band and teardrop markings. But the color of this cobra can vary depending on the geographical location.

– Size and Weight

The redhead spitting cobra is a medium-sized cobra that can grow to a length of between 2.3 and 3.9 ft. In some rare cases, though, the redhead spitting cobra can grow to a size of up to 1.5 meters.

– Habitat

The redhead spitting cobra inhabits semi-desert regions and dry savannas of the African continent and other desert regions across the globe. This cobra is also common in areas surrounding water bodies.

– Diet

The redhead spitting cobra can feed on a wide array of prey. However, this cobra prefers feeding on amphibians such as frogs and toads. Nonetheless, the cobra also preys on birds, rodents, and other snakes.

– Venom

Like other spitting cobras, the venom of the redhead spitting cobra contains both cytotoxins and neurotoxins. The redhead spitting cobra is one of the most venomous spitting cobras in the world. The cobra can kill by either spitting venom on its prey, or injecting the venom into the prey by biting the prey.

The Caspian Cobra

The Caspian cobra is a type of cobra that is prevalent in the central Asian region . The cobra is a common cobra species  in northeastern Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

– Appearance

The Caspian cobra has smooth and oblique scales. Juvenile Caspian cobras tend to have a pale color and a faded appearance. Juveniles have noticeable light and dark cross-bands around their bodies.  The Caspian cobra has a round snout and big nostrils. An adult Caspian cobra can be yellowish or chocolate brown.

– Size and Weight

The Caspian cobra is a medium-sized cobra. This cobra can grow to about a meter in length. In some rare cases, the cobra can grow over a meter long. This cobra species weighs between 7 and 10 pounds.

– Habitat

The Caspian cobra is prevalent in semiarid and arid regions. It also inhabits shrubs and rocky terrains.

– Diet

This cobra preys primarily on toads, frogs, rodents, and birds. It can move swiftly into holes to hunt for prey.

– Venom

The Caspian cobra has potent venom, making the cobra one of Central Asia’s most dangerous serpents. A bite from this cobra causes severe pain, and it can even paralyze the victim in an hour.

The Andaman Cobra

This cobra is prevalent in the Andaman Islands in India. The cobra is venomous, and it can also spit venom, although not like other spitting cobras.

– Appearance

The Andaman cobra comes in three color patterns, namely dark-gray, black and pale white. The cobra has long cervical ribs capable of expanding and forming a hood once the cobra is threatened.

– Size and Weight

The Andaman cobra can be medium-sized to large-sized. The heavy-bodied cobra measures 1. 5 meters on average. Adult cobras can exceed over 1.8 meters. The cobra weighs 6 kg on average.

– Habitat

The cobra thrives in caves and rocks across the Andaman Islands.

– Diet

The Andaman cobra primarily feeds on lizards and other snakes, including green whip snake, rat snake, and banded wolf snake.

– Venom

The Andaman cobra has a high concentration of venom, which it can inject or spit to its prey. Its venom can kill or paralyze its victim.

Black-Necked Spitting Cobra

The cobra species is prevalent in the sub-Saharan region of the continent. It is a member of the spitting cobras.

– Appearance

The moderately sized cobra has a distinct black head and large venomous glands that are located on the two sides of the cobra’s head.  The color of this cobra depends on the region. Some black-necked spitting cobras can be reddish, black, yellow, or pale grey.

– Size and Weight

The black-necked spitting cobra measures between 1.2 and 2.2 meters. The cobra can weigh between 7 and 9 kg.

– Habitat

The black-necked spitting cobra inhabits the African semi-deserts and savanna regions. However, some of these cobra also inhabit the subtropical regions, while others inhabit cleared forest regions and moist savanna.

– Diet

The black-necked spitting cobra feeds on small rodents, including mice and rats. It also eats lizards, birds, eggs, and smaller snakes.

– Venom

The black-necked spitting cobra has a different type of venom, unlike other cobra species. The venom mainly consists of cytotoxins, although the cytotoxins in this cobra’s venom are highly potent. The venom can cause respiratory failure and, finally, death.

King Cobra

King cobra is the world’s largest cobra species. It is native to India and other countries, and Southeast Asia. It is also one of the world’s deadliest cobras that cause multiple deaths and casualties in India.

– Appearance

The King Cobra can be green, black, brown, or yellow. The cobra has white or yellowish crossbars. Its throat can be either cream or yellow. The cobra has a large head and deadly fangs measuring around 0.5 inches.

– Size and Weight

As the largest cobra species globally, the King cobra measures between 3 and 3.6 meters on average. Some adult snakes can measure over 6 meters in length. The King cobra weighs around 6 kg on average.

– Habitat

King cobras inhabit streams in open or dense forests. These cobras also inhabit dense mangrove swamps, bamboo thickets, and agricultural areas.

– Diet

The King cobra feeds on other snakes, both non-venomous and venomous snakes. The cobra also feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, and eggs.

– Venom

The cobra’s venom comprises neurotoxins and cytotoxins. It produces venom in the anatomical glands. The deadly venom of this cobra affects the prey’s central nervous system, which leads to blurred vision, paralysis, and severe pain.

The Indian Spitting Cobra

Also known as the monocled cobra, the Indian spitting cobra is a spitting cobra species widespread in India and South and southeastern parts of Asia. It is one of the deadliest spitting cobras in the world.

– Appearance

The color of the Indian spitting cobra can vary tremendously depending on the geographical location. The cobra has a unique, large, and impressive hood that expands once the snake is threatened.

– Size and Weight

The Indian spitting cobra is a heavy-bodied cobra species measuring between 1 and 1.5 meters in length. The cobra can weigh up to 9 kg.

– Habitat

The Indian spitting cobra inhabits tree holes and other areas where it can easily find its prey. Some Indian spitting cobras have been found in homes and the agricultural regions.

– Diet

The cobra feeds on lizards, rodents, and frogs.

– Venom

The venom of this cobra consists of postsynaptic neurotoxins. It delivers venom to its prey by spitting venom on the prey. The venom can cause death due to respiratory failure and flaccid paralysis.

The Philippine Cobra

Also called the Philippine spitting cobra, the Philippine cobra is a highly venomous cobra species prevalent in the northern parts of the Philippines.

– Appearance

This cobra has a stocky build, and it is brown. Juveniles are dark brown. The cobra has long cervical ribs that expand when the cobra is threatened. It has an elliptical head, large nostrils, and a round snout.

– Size and Weight

The cobra is one meter long on average. Some Philippine cobras can exceed a length of 1.6 meters. The cobra weighs between 7 and 9 kg.

– Habitat

The Philippine cobra inhabits forested regions, low-lying plains, grasslands, open fields, and dense jungle. The cobra likes living near water bodies such as rivers, ponds, and huge puddles of water.

– Diet

The cobra predominantly feeds on frogs, small mammals, lizards, and rodents. It can also feed on smaller snakes and birds.

– Venom

This snake’s venom consists of potent postsynaptic neurotoxin, which damages respiratory paralysis once the cobra bites its victim.

The Cape Cobra

Also known as the yellow cobra, the Cape cobra is a prevalent cobra species throughout the southern African region.

– Appearance

Cape cobras have varied coloration. Some cobras in this subspecies can be dark brown, golden brown, or black.  The cape cobra has a huge head and orange and brown shades running across its body.

– Size and Weight

The Cape cobra is a medium-sized cobra that measures between 1.2 and 1.4 meters on average. The cobra weighs between 4 and 6 kg on average.

– Habitat

The Cape cobra’s preferred habitats include arid savanna, arid regions, scrubland, and rock crevices. It can also inhabit abandoned termite mounds and homes.

– Diet

The cobra actively preys on rodents, frogs, toads, birds, other snakes, and lizards.

– Venom

The Cape cobra is one of Africa’s highly venomous cobra species. It has a thick and syrupy venom that can affect the nervous and respiratory system, causing death.

The Chinese Cobra

Also known as the Taiwan cobra, the Chinese cobra is a venomous snake that inhabits the southern part of China. It is the most common serpent in China and Taiwan. It also causes most snake deaths and fatalities in China and Taiwan.

– Appearance

The Chinese cobra has a ventral head and a white neck. Its hood has small dark spots. The cobra can be dark gray, black, or white.

– Size and Weight

The Chinese cobra measures between 1.2 to 1.5 meters in size. This cobra can, however, achieve a maximum length of about 2 meters.  The serpent can weigh up to 9 kg, although some Chinese cobra subspecies can weigh more than 15 kg.

– Habitat

The Chinese cobra inhabits shrublands, mangroves, grasslands, and woodlands. The cobra can adapt to a wide array of terrain, including open fields, densely populated areas, and grassland plains.

– Diet

The diet of the Chinese cobra includes a variety of prey, including toads, frogs, and rodents. The cobra can also prey on smaller snakes.

– Venom

The Chinese Cobra is regarded as one of Asia’s most venomous snakes. Its venom consists of cardiotoxins and neurotoxins. The venom causes death due to nerve and respiratory failure.

The Banded Water Cobra

Also known as the ringed water cobra, the banded water cobra is a subspecies of water cobra that is native to west and central Africa.

– Appearance

The banded water cobra has a stocky body and short, flat, and broadhead. It has a cylindrical body and medium-sized eyes. The cobra also has smooth and shiny scales throughout its body.

– Size and Weight

The banded water cobra measures between 1.4 and 2.2 meters. Some banded water cobras can, however, grow to a maximum length of 2.8 meters.  The cobra can weigh up between 7 and 10 kg.

– Habitat

The banded water cobra is an aquatic cobra that inhabits the lakes, rivers, and moist savannas. The cobra can also live in wooded savanna terrain and lowland forest areas.

– Diet

The banded water cobra preys on fish, toads, frogs, and amphibians

– Venom

The cobra has a potent neurotoxic venom that can kill prey in less than an hour.

Samar Cobra

The Samar cobra is native to the Mindanao and Visayas islands in the Philippines. The highly venomous spitting cobra is also known as the Visayan cobra. The cobra contributes to the most snake bites and fatalities in the Philippines.

– Appearance

The Samar cobra has a great green and yellow color variation. It has a large hood and big eyes. The cobra also has shiny and smooth scales all over its body.

– Size and Weight

The Samar cobra can grow to around 1.4 meters on average. Some Samar cobras can, however, exceed a length of two meters.  The cobra weighs between 7 and 9 kg.

– Habitat

The Samar cobra mainly inhabits tropical plains and mountainous jungles of the Philippines . It also likes living close to humans. It is one of the deadliest cobras in the Philippines.

– Diet

The cobra preys on small rodents such as mice and rats. The cobra occasionally feeds on smaller reptiles and amphibians.

– Venom

The Samar cobra has deadly neurotoxin venom. Its venom can lead to paralysis and respiratory distress.  Victims can die within minutes after being bitten by the Samar cobra.

Wrap Up

There are hundreds of cobra species across the world. Although these cobras have different physical traits,   all cobras are known for their hoods and potent venom.

Reptiles, Snakes

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