' Spectacled Indian Cobra






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Spectacled Indian Cobra
by Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira

April 26, 2011

This article is specially written for students of all ages to learn more about the different types of spectacled cobras.  (In the quest for knowledge, we are all students for life). Special care has been taken to provide close up pictures of the head to enable identification. Although, some of the pictures look similar, a keen eye can easily differentiate the different types of spectacled cobra’s based on altitude (From sea level right up to 5000 Feet elevation) and habitat. A few rare pictures with respect to molting will throw light on skin shedding.

Planet Earth is gifted with approximately 2000 species of snakes, out of which 272 are present in India ranging from the 10 cm long worm snake to the 7 meter long python and king cobra. India is blessed with three species of cobras, mainly the Indian Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja naja), the mono-ocellate cobra (Naja naja kaouthia) and the black cobra. Six species are present in Asia and nine in Africa.

We need to remember, that snakes are not under threat from other wild life, but these magnificent creatures are under threat from human beings. Cobras have good eyesight and a keen sense of smell. Cobras, especially those found in South India have a distinct pair of circular ocelli on the rear of the hood. These patterns seem to be connected by a curved line, which appear like spectacles, hence the name spectacled cobra.


























INDAIN MYTHOLOGY: Importance is given to almost all types of snakes in Indian mythology. The intent may be to conserve and preserve the balance of nature. The cobra stands out as one among the most revered and highly worshipped snakes. Lord Shiva is often portrayed with a protective cobra coiled around the neck and Lord Vishnu is usually represented as resting on the coiled body of sheshnag, a snake deity with a number of cobra heads. Cobras are also worshipped during the Hindu festival of Nag Panchami. There are numerous myths about cobras in India, including the idea that they mate with rat snakes. This is a fallacy.

Scientific name: Naja naja
Indian name: Hindi-Nag; Tamil-Nalla pamboo; Kannada-Nagara Haavu; Malayalam-Moorkan
Average Length: seven to eight feet.
Average Length at Birth: 25 cm.

DISTRIBUTION: The spectacled cobra is widely distributed across the length and breadth of the country from sea level up to 4000 m (in the Himalayas). The colour varies from black or dark brown to yellowish white. The famous spectacled markings are but a pair of connected rings.  In some cobras, the spectacled markings are altogether absent. The cobras of North West India are more blackish in colour and have barely distinguishable spectacled markings.

HABITAT: No fixed habitat like dense jungle or scrub lands. With unchecked habitat destruction, cobras can be found in open places and very close to dwelling places too. Cobras are active both during the night and day.

BEHAVIOUR:   Cobras are shy by nature and under most circumstances try to avoid human beings. They would rather hide or flee than fight. But their shyness or timidness should not be taken for granted, because they are hostile when provoked. All cobras are intelligent and provide three distinct warnings before they strike human beings.

It is important to realize that most snake bites from cobras are not life threatening, for the simple reason that the cobra injects very small amounts of venom or no venom at all depending on the severity of the threat. This is called a DRY BITE. (Not life threatening)

CONSERVATION STATUS:  Cobras are not classified in the endangered list, but their numbers have been reduced by the loss of habitat.

MOLTING OR SKIN SHEDDING: An adult cobra sheds its skin about six times a year. It provides for vigour and agility.

FEEDING HABITS   : All snakes are carnivores. (Lizards, Frogs, toads, insects, rodents, birds)

MATING AND REPRODUCTION: Cobras mate during January and February and lay 12 to 36 eggs, usually in a rat hole or termite mound which hatch within 60 days. The female stays with the clutch, till they hatch, feeding rarely if at all.

SNAKE VENOM: In simple terms is highly modified saliva with a mixture of different kinds of proteins, toxins and enzymes capable of digesting the entire prey. The cobra venom is Neurotoxin in nature and acts on the nervous system and brain. It can lead to respiratory paralysis and cardiac failure.

The venom glands of baby cobras (Hatchling) are as poisonous as a fully grown cobra. Their venom glands are fully functional. A large yolk sac remains in the hatchlings stomach which provides for nourishment up to two weeks, before it needs to find food on its own.

The maximum quantity of venom injected by a cobra is up to 211 mgs. However, a mere 16 mg of venom is sufficient to kill an adult human being.

SYMPTOMS OF COBRA BITE: Convulsions, drowsiness, headache, blurring of vision, slurred speech, limb paralysis, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, intense abdominal pain and severe pain around the bite wound. Increased blood pressure and abnormal heart beats. Good chances of respiratory failure.

TREATMENT:
The first snake Antivenom discovered in 1895 by Albert Calmette was due to the significant number of fatalities resulting from the bite from the spectacled Indian cobra.

FIRST AID:

• Reassure the patient to be calm. Explain that 90 % of cobra bites are dry bites and are harmless.
• Do not use tight tourniquets
• Do not allow the patient to exert or walk.
• Raise the leg and cover with blanket.
• In case of vomiting, turn the patient to one side to avoid choking.
• Take the patient to the nearest hospital-Anti venom serum.

RESEARCH ON COBRA VENOM: Research conducted at the Tata Memorial Cancer Institute at Bombay on various fractions of cobra venom has shown promise in treating certain cancer cells in mice. At present, the American pharmaceutical companies have successfully brought out pain killers made from cobra venom-COBROXIN, and NYLOXIN

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Comments on this article
Karthik shetty, ShimogaTuesday, July 01, 2014
I have a question... How long it'l take to recover venom after snake bite...?
Comment on this message     

bhavana, hyderabadFriday, April 05, 2013
wow
Comment on this message     

Neeraj chaudhary, mumbaiTuesday, August 09, 2011
Thank you Dr. anand & geeta you did a wonderful job and also  very good pics thanx for this information
Comment on this message     

Ajay Sharma, New DelhiSaturday, June 25, 2011
Its really nice to know about cobras also very nice photography.
how can one obtain the venom of cobra???
Comment on this message     

Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/DubaiMonday, May 02, 2011
Great Photography, we come across many types of snakes and cobras in our childhood but never stood back to watch them, out of fear always use to run away from them.
Comment on this message     

Sudarshan Shetty, MangaloreMonday, May 02, 2011
What do you mean Maria , Moodbidri?
Comment on this message     

Mohan Menezes, CanadaSunday, May 01, 2011
Your articles are always such a delight. Don't much like snakes but I read this article on Cobras. Pictures are fantastic! Very informative article. Thank you so much Anand and Geeta.
Comment on this message     

Maria , MoodbidriSaturday, April 30, 2011
Cobra snake is a deadly poisonous & cannot treated as pet... like dogs and cats.coz pseudo worshipers are killing it... atleast we all can walk freely on the road without any fear OTHERWISE it will be nightmare!!!!!!
Comment on this message     

J M Bhandary, Mangalore/USASaturday, April 30, 2011
Great nature article and pictures. You both are very dedicated researchers and do nice work. Where is your estate- Chickmagaluru? Hassan? Do you receive visitors with Western ghats interests? Thanks.
Comment on this message     

PRABHU, SAKALESHPURSaturday, April 30, 2011
Dear Dr. Anad and Geetha for educating me and human kind, providing wonderful scientific information regarding life cycle, habitat, venom etc. that really make everybody to learn how to live and synergetic relation with cobra by utilizing snake venom in medicine as pain killer and as well anti cancer drug .It is really wonderful information for the bio-technologist , physiologist and toxicologist who are working on human medicine.

Even thought we brought age old Indian tradition and mythology we are worshiping Cobra in photos and statues in temple and if we find any Cobra we are mercilessly beat ,make them to kill. Your article really opened eyes of cruel pseudo worshipers so that they treat cobra as friendly creature since believed myths.

It is wonderful information and informal education to the children who are very illusionary scare about cobra and snakes. Your article definitely create courage among children and leave false impression about cobra and it also insight for conserve in future too.

It also opened my eyes and making me close friend of cobra. Really very very fantastic photos , as if I beside snake and touching and feeling cobra body skin, texture, colour ,striation . It really make me in impression that I was in Discovery and Animal Planet world . I request the DISCOVERY and ANIMAL PLANET officials should see and provide one opportunity to serve and make utilize the creative ideas in making impossible to possible . I really thankful for hard efforts, patience, dedications, courage in taking fantastic photos all diversified species of cobras to educating and understanding full information of Cobra to a COMMON MAN.

Both are doing excellent work in perpetuating information in preserving cobra and conservation of balance of ecology. Finally I want to say you are an Modern Reformer in bringing “MYTHS IN TO REALITY”.

All the best for innovative research ….. awaiting some more innovative information
Comment on this message     

PRABHU, SAKALESHPURSaturday, April 30, 2011
Dear Dr. Anad and Geetha for educating me and human kind, providing wonderful scientific information regarding life cycle, habitat, venom etc. that really make everybody to learn how to live and synergetic relation with cobra by utilizing snake venom in medicine as pain killer and as well anti cancer drug .It is really wonderful information for the bio-technologist , physiologist and toxicologist who are working on human medicine.

Even thought we brought age old Indian tradition and mythology we are worshiping Cobra in photos and statues in temple and if we find any Cobra we are mercilessly beat ,make them to kill. Your article really opened eyes of cruel pseudo worshipers so that they treat cobra as friendly creature since believed myths.

It is wonderful information and informal education to the children who are very illusionary scare about cobra and snakes. Your article definitely create courage among children and leave false impression about cobra and it also insight for conserve in future too.

It also opened my eyes and making me close friend of cobra. Really very very fantastic photos , as if I beside snake and touching and feeling cobra body skin, texture, colour ,striation . It really make me in impression that I was in Discovery and Animal Planet world . I request the DISCOVERY and ANIMAL PLANET officials should see and provide one opportunity to serve and make utilize the creative ideas in making impossible to possible . I really thankful for hard efforts, patience, dedications, courage in taking fantastic photos all diversified species of cobras to educating and understanding full information of Cobra to a COMMON MAN.

Both are doing excellent work in perpetuating information in preserving cobra and conservation of balance of ecology. Finally I want to say you are an Modern Reformer in bringing “MYTHS IN TO REALITY”.

All the best for innovative research ….. awaiting some more innovative information
Comment on this message     

Roshan, MangloreThursday, April 28, 2011
I have a doubt in first aid point
( Raise the leg and cover with blanket), Is this correct?
Comment on this message     

Jagadish Anchan, MangaloreThursday, April 28, 2011
Its really wonderful work Dr. Anand, Your work is greatly appreciated by the simple and learned. Thanks for the hard work that you have put in to gather so much information which can be profited by all.
Comment on this message     

payal, mangaloreWednesday, April 27, 2011
Extraordinary photos.It looks like a professional photographer has taken these photos.Well done!!.You have achieved a lot.
Comment on this message     

SURESH MAROLI, MANGALORE/BAHRAINWednesday, April 27, 2011
Good article and beautiful pic. Thanks a lot Dr.Anand.
Comment on this message     

Ivan Frank, MangaloreWednesday, April 27, 2011
Lovely photos with useful information especially the SYMPTOMS OF COBRA BITE, First aid and treatment.
Comment on this message     

P U Krishnaraj, DharwadWednesday, April 27, 2011
Titus, As usual excellent piece of work from you! Congratulations!
Comment on this message     

Jimmy Noronha, Bellore,Kulshekar,LucknowTuesday, April 26, 2011
Nice pictures, nice and very useful article. I wonder how long it must have taken for these pictures to be put in place for the doctor couple as it normally at times takes as much as two years to shoot half an hour documentary for a Discovery Channel and these pictures are in no way less arduous.
Comment on this message     

Donald DCruz, KollamTuesday, April 26, 2011
Well researched. You must make a documentary and spread the information. Good luck to you both.
Comment on this message     

V.Baretto, Bantwal-BangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
These photographs are really wonderful and natural,presumably from Kirehally Estate and Drying yard where I see the cobras on the Robusta coffee.
Comment on this message     

G Fernandes, MangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Very informative article. Keep it up.
Comment on this message     

Jude Rego, MangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Superb Anand! You must have shot the snaps in the estate as I can see the cobra on coffee beans.
Regards,
Comment on this message     

mercia, canadaTuesday, April 26, 2011
I hate cobras. these pictures gave me goosebumps.
Comment on this message     

Anil, DubaiTuesday, April 26, 2011
Informative article and nice pictures. Did you click those.... scary though :)
Comment on this message     

Max, Bendur/MangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Wow....what a pics!! Fist time I am seeing such wonderful cobra pictures!! How did you manage to get such close ups, that too in open ground!! Good Work Dr Anand/Dr Geeta.
Comment on this message     

Romola Pereira, sakleshpurTuesday, April 26, 2011
There is so much perfection in your job, it is a pleasure to see the lovely pictures. thank you daiji for the space. the message is very clear-live and let live.
Comment on this message     

Shivanand Shetty, Mangalore/Bangalore/USATuesday, April 26, 2011
Very good pictures Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira. Nag bagwan is worshipped more in our coastal districts of our state. Usually every family or kutumb have their naga kallu or naga gudi in their respective home towns where people go and worship there with abhiseka especially during nag panchami or panchami.
Comment on this message     

A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Beautiful photography of the
Cobra snakes and greater
information about the snakes to
give a keen understanding to the
readers. Great article.
Comment on this message     

geri, mangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Congratulations Anand and Geeta...your work is amazing.The pics are so realistic.Keep up the good work.
Comment on this message     

goldwin, mangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Amazing....good work anand truly wonderful creatures beautiful....
Comment on this message     

Alfred Vincent Monis, Bantakal/Kingdom of BahrainTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Dr. Anand and Geeta,

Very nice article. I have a request please do write one article about Ant hills and reasons to have atleast one Naga Bana in each village. (In my opinion anthills recharges rain water and different species of trees and herbs (used to have in old Naga Banas and are now gone in the name of concretisations of Naga Banas).Hope you people will do some research and write some article to educate people not to destroy anthills and Naga Banas.
Comment on this message     

Vidya, UdupiTuesday, April 26, 2011
knowing Anand and Geeta, in person, their work on wildlife ecology provides us with direct access to the hidden treasures of the Western Ghats.We should also thank daijiworld for giving them a platform.
Comment on this message     

Ashok Frank, Mangalore / Brampton - OntarioTuesday, April 26, 2011
Thank you Anand & Geeta for the information , lovely pictures and the time that you dedicate in doing so. We look forward always to your articles.
Comment on this message     

VARSHA MARIA, CHIKMAGALURTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta,
Nice pics
Comment on this message     

WATERJET ENGINEERS, CHIKMAGALURTuesday, April 26, 2011
Very good information on Symptoms of Cobra bite,treatment & first aid,Thank you sir(WATERJET TEAM)
Comment on this message     

VARUN RINALDO, CHIKMAGALURTuesday, April 26, 2011
DearThank you for the wonderfull article & breath taking images, Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta,
Comment on this message     

SUNIL BAPTIST, CHIKMAGALURTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Dr Anand & Geeta,
Very valid information on the Indian Cobra. The pictures are Mind blowing.Thank you
Comment on this message     

ryan, mangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Good job uncle.
it was a very dangerous job what you have done as the snake could have bitten you.Very good photographs. you are very talented. Merci!(meaning Thankyou)
Comment on this message     

lyra pinto, Sakleshpur/MangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Hello Anand. You guys have already got such beautiful feed back for your wonderful and courageous work .As rightly commented by some of your well wishers how did you manage to capture the picture. More and above you have furnished us with the detailed information on these cobras. Thanks.


Comment on this message     

bowels and testicles, mangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Great pictures and interesting stuff!!!
Comment on this message     

Jatinder Singh, Virginia, USATuesday, April 26, 2011
Dr. Anand and Geeta, you both are such as gift to the conservation community. Thank you for researching and writing articles on conservation, making the general public aware of the biodiversity and conservation issues. Thank you so very much. Keep researching and informing the greater community.
Comment on this message     

Vishal, Mangalore/MumbaiTuesday, April 26, 2011
Behind every suuceesful man there is a woman.
Comment on this message     

Vijay, BangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
I dont think these photographs are easy to capture. Greate job.
Comment on this message     

nihal, mangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Nice pics dad.You have taken a lot of time amd effort in taking these photos.This is the best article you have published.All the best in the future.
Comment on this message     

mohan Frank, Mangalore / MumbaiTuesday, April 26, 2011
Mind blowing photography and a very informative article.Keep it up, good work
Comment on this message     

Liza Gina Pais, BrisbaneTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta,Thank you for the wonderfull article & breath taking images,I will definitely take a print to school here & show my collegues,The cobra stands out as one among the most revered and highly worshipped snakes in INDIA that was nice to know,Thanks again,Regards-Liza Gina Pais(Brisbane QLD Australia)
Comment on this message     

Leander Pais, BrisbaneTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta,I went through the article & was suprised how did you manage to capture those life threatning images,Cobras are dangerous & if bitten can be fatal,What gave you the strength & courage to get so close to the snake,Very good information on Symptoms of Cobra bite,treatment & first aid,Thank you uncle once again-Leander Pais (Brisbane QLD Australia)
Comment on this message     

Leona Pais, BrisbaneTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Dr Anand & Geeta "Spectacled Indian Cobra"is an excellent article,The pictures speak for it self & explains the Life threatning venom or about the DRY BITE,These are valid information that will definitely help the amatures,school children to gain valid information that would help in increasing the proffeciency & knowledge,Keep up the good work-Regards-Leona Pais (Brisbane QLD Australia)
Comment on this message     

Biddappa, SiddapurTuesday, April 26, 2011
I have gone through your detailed work Dr.Anand and Dr. Geeta with respect to conservation. It is indeed very commendable. Both of you have spent many many hours in educating people on the urgent need to safeguard the wilderness.This article clearly brings to light the IMPORTANCE of cobras.Thank you and Daijiworld for sharing this knowledge.
Comment on this message     

Allen Pais, BrisbaneTuesday, April 26, 2011
Dear Dr Anand & Geeta,Spectacular picture capture & un believable task achieved by both of you,Very valid information on the Indian Cobra with justification, You have always allowed others to grow under the sun so that they do not go under the shade & get stunted,Very impressed on your knowledge & strength that you have so much talent,capacity to Photograph,gather information & publish through Daijidubai,Once again The article "Spectacled Indian Cobra" article is Spectacular,Regards-Allen (Brisbane QLD Australia)
Comment on this message     

Vikram., BangaloreTuesday, April 26, 2011
Thank you Dr.Anand and Geeta for providing us information on the scientific facts with respect to the spectacled cobra. The pictures are fascinating too. The more we learn about these creatures, the more we respect them and this helps in conserving them. It is because of reptiles, including cobras that farmers save significant amounts of food grains, because they keep the rodent population under check. Thank you daiji for publishing such quality work.
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