Check Out These Ssseriously Cool Indian Cobra Facts

Read these Indian cobra facts to learn about the venomous snake breed.

Indian cobras (Naja naja) are known by many common names like spectacled cobra, Asian cobra, and binocellate cobra. They are one of the big four snake species in India along with the king cobra, russel viper, echis carinatus and banded krait. They have fangs in the front of their mouths, which contain venom that penetrates into the body of their prey. The venom of the Indian cobra contains neurotoxins that actively react with the nervous system and paralyses the body of the victim. This majestic creature is distinguishable from other species by their large and quite impressive hood. This snake has a potentially lethal venom stored in their venom glands and they force the venom through the fangs when they bite the victim.

This species of the king cobra is native to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. The Indian cobra has been historically linked to snake charmers in popular culture. Indian cobras hide in small mammal dens, termite mounds, tree hollows, and rock piles. After envenomation, the prey become paralyzed and die within 15 minutes to two hours.

Here are some amazing facts about Indian cobras for your perusal. After reading these interesting facts about Indian cobras, you may also look at king cobra and Burmese python facts.

Indian Cobra

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Rats, toads, frogs and birds

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

10-30 eggs

How much do they weigh?

4.5-6.5 lb (2-2.9 kg)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

72-86 in (6-7.25 ft)

What do they look like?

The underside can be red or yellow

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans and predators

What is their conservation status?

Not Listed

Where you'll find them

Agricultural lands, open forests and plains


India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan





Scientific Name

Naja naja





Indian Cobra Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Indian cobra?

Indian cobras (Naja naja) are a snake species commonly found in Asia and Northern Africa. They are also known as a spectacled cobras as they have distinctive spectacle-shaped designs on the back of their hood. This snake expands their large hood when they feel any danger. In the sub-continent, these snakes can easily be found with snake charmers.

What class of animal does a Indian cobra belong to?

Indian cobras (Naja naja) are a venomous snake species that belong to the class of reptilia. These carnivores feed on small mammals and rodents. They are hunted down by big predators like crocodiles and eagles. Indian cobras are also known by common names like spectacled cobra, Asian cobra, and binocellate cobra.

How many Indian cobras are there in the world?

The Indian cobra (Naja naja) is a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act. The current number of Indian cobras left in the world is unknown, but they are not Endangered like the king cobra. These snakes can be easily located in the wild as well as with snake charmers.

Where does a Indian cobra live?

Dense or open forests and agricultural lands are locations where Indian cobras (Naja naja) live. Open forests, holes in embankments, shrublands, wheat crops, rocky terrain, small mammal dens, and rock piles are also where the Naja naja seeks refuge. They paralyze their prey after one bite and are identified as a highly venomous snake in Asia.  

What is am Indian cobra's habitat?

Naja Indian cobras (spectacled cobras) can be found throughout a wide range of habitats in South Asia. The preferred Indian cobra habitat is a tropical savanna, dry and moist forests, and wetlands. They also can be found creeping in agricultural lands in wheat crops and paddy fields, and also in heavily populated urban areas.

Who do Indian cobras live with?

Indian cobras (Naja naja), also known as spectacled cobras, are solitary predators of the family genus naja and live on their own in dense or open forests. They prey on small rodents found in heavily populated urban areas. They can also be found in tree hollows, holes in embankments, termite mounds and rocky terrain. Many snake charmers in India and other countries also raise Indian cobras as their preferred breed.

How long does a Indian cobra live?

The average lifespan of an Indian cobra is 24 years. They can be discovered by humans and killed. They are also kept by snake charmers in India. They are often hunted down for their skin and venom.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction in Indian cobras, also known as binocellate cobra, occurs sexually. Female Indian cobras are oviparous in nature and lay eggs between the months of April and July. The eggs are guarded by the female Indian cobra throughout the incubation period, unlike other cobras who leave their eggs unattended. If any predator tries to invade the termite mound, rat hole or tree holes where the eggs are placed, the mother will strike the predator and kill it with her venom. The average litter size of the Indian cobra is between ten and 30 eggs, the eggs hatch after an incubation period of 48 to 69 days.

What is their conservation status?

Indian cobra's conservation status is listed as protected in India under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act. This species of the cobra are often poached for their skin in order to make leather handbags. The conservation status of the Indian cobra is currently Not Listed by IUCN.  

Indian Cobra Fun Facts

What do Indian cobras look like?

Indian cobras, also known as binocellate cobra, can be identified by their impressive hoods which have a spectacle-like mark on the back. The color and pattern of the Indian cobra are subject to change according to their location. They also have a wide black band on the underside of their neck. They have a long neck and wide head. They are medium-sized cobras. The scales of these snakes are smooth and sometimes form a pattern of ragged bands. When they are confronted by human beings or other large predators, they can be identified by the Indian cobra defense posture.

These snakes are found in a wide range of habitats throughout India.

How cute are they?

These snakes are not cute and are in fact very dangerous and highly venomous snakes. A single strike of the Indian cobra can kill a human being instantaneously. They are one of the snake species in South Asia which are responsible for causing many human deaths annually. There is something majestic about these snakes, as even their threat posture is quite impressive to look at.

How do they communicate?

They can communicate by hissing or growling. They can even spit venom if threatened or provoked to scare the predator away. They take their classic posture by ceiling their entire body and only raise their hoods to strike.

How big is an Indian cobra?

Indian cobras have an average length of 72-86 in (6-7.25 ft), for adult specimens. These snakes are smaller than king cobras.

How fast can an Indian cobra move?

Indian cobras strike their prey quickly but are slow movers. A single bite can paralyze the body of their prey, and like other snakes, the Indian cobra swallows the prey entirely. The guardian snake will strike anybody who tries to approach their eggs.

How much does an Indian cobra weigh?

Indian cobras weigh an average of 4.5-6.5 lb (2-2.9 kg), but some specimens can weigh up to 19.8 lb (8 kg). Female Indian cobras usually weigh less when compared to the males.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The two sexes of the Indian cobra snakes are simply known as male and female and do not have distinctive names. The male is referred to as a nag in India, while the female is called nagin.

What would you call a baby Indian cobra?

Baby Indian cobras can be called snakelets, hatchlings or neonates.

What do they eat?

These animals eat small mammals like rats, birds, frogs, and toads. Their diet is entirely carnivorous, and these animals envenomate their prey in order to consume it entirely.

Are they poisonous?

These animals are highly poisonous snakes who have been responsible for many human deaths in India and South Asia. Cobra venom contains neurotoxins which work actively to break down the nervous system of the victim, killing them after an attack of paralysis.

Would they make a good pet?

No, it is illegal to keep the exotic Indian cobras as pets. They are listed as a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act. They also cannot be kept as pets because they are highly dangerous and can kill their owner if they escape.

Did you know...

Snake charming is an ancient Egyptian art form that is now practiced in India as a form of business. Indian cobras do not have a sense of hearing. They sway or dance to the snake charmer’s melody as a defense strategy to scare the charmer away while they play their pungi. They are terrified that the snake charmer's pipe might attack them, and hence they sway. The truth is that snake charming has been turned into a violent art form where the charmer rips out the fangs of the snake, so that they cannot envenomate him. This art form is banned by the Indian Wildlife Act of 1972.

When you compare Indian cobras and king cobras, they aren't all that similar. While the Indian cobra is from the naga genus and is a true cobra breed, the king cobra does not belong to genus naga and has its own genus of ophiophagus.

Can the Indian cobra swim?

Not only the Indian cobra, but all species of snakes possess the ability of swimming. This allows these animals to catch prey underwater and they can hold their breath for an average time of ten minutes. Indian naja snakes are aquatic, arboreal, and terrestrial. Like most snakes, the Indian cobra forms an S shape while swimming.

What significance do cobras have in Indian culture?

Indian cobras, or the Naja naja, are highly respected and feared predators among Hindus in India. The Hindu god all mighty Shiva is known for his tremendous power all over the world and is often depicted displaying a nag around his neck named Vasuki. The Vasuki curled around Shiva’s neck symbolizes his ability to control illusion. Indian cobras are also worshipped on Nag Panchami, the Hindu festival where ladies offer milk and pray to the serpent for protection and seek its blessings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including green anaconda or rattlesnake.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Indian cobra coloring pages.



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