SCIENTIFIC NAME- Naja naja
HIGHER CLASSIFICATION- Cobras
VENOM TYPE- Neuro toxic
The Indian cobra also known as the spectacled cobra, Asian cobra or bioccelate cobra is a species of the genus Naja found in the Indian subcontinent and a member of the “big four” species that inflict the most snakebites on humans in India.Easily identified because of characteristic cobra hood but without any hood mark. Hood is raised when snake is disturbed or agitated. Mostly one cuneate scale on each side; frontal longer than.
Ventral- 190-210 (Male), 193-215 (Female).
Sub Caudal- 60-74 (Male), 55-72 (Female); paired.
There are twelve cobra species presently live in Asia. In contrast to African cobras, who exhibit great diversity, most Asian cobra species are similar in nature and behaviour, lifestyle and habitat preference. The wide existence of cobras in Asia is reflected through their appearance in the region’s religion and mythology. Except for the king cobra (Ophiophagushannah), all Asian cobras belong to the genus Naja.
Formerly, all Asian species of Naja were considered to be subspecies of a single species. This came into known when researchers Wolfgang Wuster and Roger S. Thorpe began splitting the species into its current form in a 1989 paper published in the “Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society.” Meanwhile, king cobras form a different progency and rose independently of the “true” cobras displayed again by Wuster and colleagues in a 2007 paper published in “Molecular Phylogenetic and Evolution.” While the study observed the mitochondrial DNA of the different cobra species, this evolutionary disagreement is also being considered in morphology and diet.
This species is well known in the Transcaspian region from Turkmenistan, north-eastern Iran, south-eastern and northern areas of Afghanistan, and northern regions of Pakistan (North-West Frontier province and northern Baluchistan). There are also records from several parts of the Pakistani Punjab.In India, sample have been reported from the Punch Valley, northwest of Jammu, and Mahajan and Agrawal (1976) explained a sample from the Shimla Hills, in Himachal Pradesh reports are probably based on specimens of Najanaja(Indian cobra) which lacked a hood mark.
The range of the Central Asian cobra is split into two parts by the Hindukush mountains and the deserts of southern Afghanistan, south-eastern Iran and south-western Pakistan.This species is often found in arid and semi-arid, stony, scrub covered up to about 3000 m (9842.52 ft) in Baluchistan. This is also the westernmost species of Asiatic cobra. It generally favours drier areas than the Indian cobra, being found mainly in dry mountain situations. In Pakistan, it is reported to occur in drier areas than the sympatric Indian cobra.
The Central Asian cobra is rapid-moving species that lives in the holes in embankments or trees. It is mainly diurnal (tends to hunt for prey during the late afternoon or at the time of early evening) but it may become twilightish and nocturnal in some areas of its range at the time of the hottest months of the year, especially in July.
Good climbers and swimmers, they are particularly fond of water and are rarely found too far away from it. Although this species is generally intent on escape when encountered (juveniles tend to be more aggressive), they may become aggressive if cornered or provoked. In such a case it will extend or stretch its hood, hiss, sway and strike repeatedly. This species of cobra are non-spitters.
Juveniles tend to prey on amphibians and lizards. The main food sources for adults are mammals, like gerbils, rats, miceand voles, but they will also take toads and frogs, and occasionally they’ll feed up on fish, birds and their eggs. As to being a predator, sometimes the Central Asian cobra is also being prey.
Different mongoose species, several groups of birds of prey (especially “snake eagles”), and even other snakes may sometimes hunt and prey on these species. Juveniles or young species are at alarm risk of predation. Humans sometimes hunt the snake for their skins, for as a subject of snake charmers or for staged fights with mongooses. The cobra is also hunted for utilized in the local medicinal recipes.
According to the research, not much is known about the breeding of the Central Asian cobra. Like most of the other elapids, it is also an oviparous and generally lays around 5 to 20 eggs. Hatchlings are independent right from the time of their birth.
The venom is mainly a potent neurotoxin, but it also contains some of the cytotoxic activity. Two kinds of “cytotoxin II” were found in the venom of these group of snakes. The subcutaneous LD50 value is almost around 0.5mg/kg, making it one of the most venomous snakes of the Naja (cobra) species. Average venom yield per bite for this species is between 70-130 mg ,but it also may yield up to 320 mg (dry weight). The bite by these species may cause severe pain and swelling, along with the Weakness, drowsiness, hypo tension, and paralysis of throat and limbs may visible approximately in one hour after the bite. Without any medical treatment, symptoms rapidly worsen and death can be occur after a bite due to respiratory failure.
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