Monday, April 15, 2019

Indian Cobra

Sri Lanka apparently has the highest per capita rate of snake bite deaths in the world. 96 species of snake have been recorded there, more than half of which are endemic, and 32 are venomous. 
This cobra really elevated its hood high up in the air.
The Indian cobra, found in Sri Lanka as well as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, is one of four of the venomous species that are responsible for most of the deaths. It is moderately sized and heavy-bodied. Adults are usually 3.3 to 4.9 feet long, but Sri Lankan specimens are often quite a bit longer, reaching 6.9 to 7.2 feet. 
A side-ish view that reveals both the hood and the head. 
This side view reveals how thin the hood makes the upper body of the cobra. 
It varies tremendously in color and pattern. It can be gray, yellow, tan, brown, reddish or black. 
The reddish cobra - front.
The reddish cobra - back.
The blackish cobra - front
The blackish cobra - back
The brownish cobra - front
The brownish cobra - back
Patterns on the throat are variable. The majority have a light throat area followed by dark banding. There is often a pair of lateral spots on the throat. 
Throat of the reddish cobra. All four cobras had lateral spots, but they varied a little bit. Note where the belly scales meet the side scales.
Throat of the blackish cobra. The belly is quite a bit different. 
Throat of the brownish cobra - not quite as close-up. 
Throat of the fourth cobra, which was brownish. 
It can have a hood mark or color patterns. Those with a hood mark have two circular patterns connected by a curved line, looking somewhat like spectacles. 
Hood of the reddish cobra. All four cobras we saw here had the spectacle pattern on the hood. 
Hood on the blackish cobra. 
Hood on the brownish cobra. With the upper part white and the lower part brown, it looks like a panda super-imposed on the hood. 
Rudyard Kipling's story "Rikki Tikki Tavi" has a pair of Indian cobras named Nag and Nagaina, Hindi words for male and female. 
The owner of the snakes grasped the head of one and showed us its fangs. 
Our guide, Sanjay, took us to a home in Matare where a man keeps quite a few pet snakes, including at least four cobras, three of different color, that we saw. I got to partially hold one, while he held the head and tail. It was roughly scaled and quite thick. They are very cool snakes. 
Close-up of scales from the reddish cobra.
Close-up of scales from the blackish cobra. 
Close-up of scales from the brownish cobra. 
I would love to see one on the wild. We saw Egyptian cobras in Morocco and they are not as pretty as the Indian cobra. They do not have markings on the throat or hood, plus the snake charmers make viewing them unpleasant with their constant demands for money and taking your camera. This experience was very pleasant. We could watch as long as we wanted and circle around for looks from all sides. A highly enjoyable visit. 

1 comment:

  1. What evolutionary purpose do you think those spots have that look like eyes on the back of its head and below and to the side of its face? They must fool prey in some way.