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Cobra facts for kids

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The Indian cobra, Naja naja, shown here with its hood expanded, is often regarded as the archetypal cobra

Cobra is a name of a snake and a girl cobra is called 'cobra Kai.' In English it is the common name for various venomous snakes. Most of those species are in the family Elapidae, and most of them can spread their neck ribs to form a flattened, widened hood.

The name "cobra" is short for cobra de capelo or cobra-de-capelo, which is Portuguese for "snake with hood", or "hood-snake".

Cobras usually live in tropical and desert regions of Asia and Africa. When feeling threatened, cobras can tilt back and flatten their heads into their warning posture. The rest of the time their heads are symmetrical and they look much like any other snakes.

Cobra may refer to:

  • The genus Naja, the typical or "true" cobras (they raise the front part of the body and flatten their neck in a warning signal when alarmed). They are a group of elapids found in Africa and Asia. They include over 20┬áspecies, including Naja nivea, the Cape cobra, a medium-sized, highly venomous cobra which lives in biomes across southern Africa; Cleopatra's "asp" (the Egyptian cobra, Naja haje); and the Asiatic spectacled cobra Naja naja; and the monocled cobra, Naja kaouthia.
  • Spitting cobras, a subset of Naja species which squirt venom from their fangs in self-defence.

Other snakes known as "cobras"

While the members of the genus Naja constitute the true cobras, the name cobra is also applied to these other genera and species:

  • The rinkhals, ringhals or ring-necked spitting cobra (Hemachatus haemachatus) so-called for its neck band as well as its habit of rearing upwards and producing a hood when threatened
  • The king cobra or hamadryad (Ophiophagus hannah)
  • The two species of tree cobras, Goldie's tree cobra (Pseudohaje goldii) and the black tree cobra (Pseudohaje nigra)
  • The two species of shield-nosed cobras, the Cape coral snake (Aspidelaps lubricus) and the shield-nosed cobra (Aspidelaps scutatus)
  • The two species of black desert cobras or desert black snakes, Walterinnesia aegyptia and Walterinnesia morgani, neither of which rears upwards and produces a hood when threatened
  • The eastern coral snake or American cobra (Micrurus fulvius), which also does not rear upwards and produce a hood when threatened

Most so-called, and all "true", species of cobras belong to the family Elapidae. The false water cobra (Hydrodynastes gigas) is the only "cobra" species that is not a member of the Elapidae. It does not rear upwards, produces only a slight flattening of the neck when threatened, and is only mildly venomous.

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Cobra Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.