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Indian cobra (Naja naja)

The Indian cobra is a species of the genus Naja found in the Indian subcontinent and a member of the “big four”, the four species which inflict the most snakebites on humans in India. The Indian cobra varies tremendously in colour and pattern throughout its range. The ventral scales or the underside colouration of this species can be grey, yellow, tan, brown, reddish or black. Dorsal scales of the Indian cobra may have a hood mark or colour patterns. The Indian cobra is a moderately sized, heavy bodied species. This cobra species can easily be identified by its relatively large and quite impressive hood, which it expands when threatened.  The majority of adult specimens range from 1 to 1.5 metres in length. Some specimens, particularly those from Sri Lanka, may grow to lengths of 2.1 to 2.2 metres, but this is relatively uncommon. This species inhabits a wide range of habitats throughout its geographical range. It can be found in dense or open forests, plains, agricultural lands, rocky terrain, wetlands, and it can even be found in heavily populated urban areas such as villages and city outskirts. The Indian cobra’s venom mainly contains a powerful post-synaptic neurotoxin and cardiotoxin.The venom acts on the synaptic gaps of the nerves, thereby paralyzing muscles, and in severe bites leading to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. Envenomation symptoms may manifest between 15 minutes and 2 hours following the bite.

photo credits: Kamalnv, wiki, Saleem Hameed