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Related to Naja naja: king cobra, Indian cobra
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(cobras), a genus of snakes of the family Elapidae.

When disturbed, most species of Naja rear the anterior third of the body and spread the neck, disklike, by moving the first eight pairs of ribs sideways. Large poison fangs are located toward the front of the upper jaw; in back of each there are usually from one to three small teeth.

There are ten species of cobra, of which three are sometimes considered separate genera. All live in African and southern Asia. The common, or Asiatic, cobra (N. naja or N. tripudians) is found in southern Asia; in the USSR it inhabits southern Turkmenia, Uzbekistan, and southwestern Tadzhikistan. The body length of the common cobra is 160–180 cm. On the back of the broadened part of the body of the Indian cobra there is a light marking that looks like reversed spectacles, and the snake is often called the spectacled cobra. The body length reaches 190 cm. Subspecies of the Indian cobra living in the USSR, in the southern part of Turkmenia, Uzbekistan, and Tadzhikistan (N. naja oxiana), lack this marking. The marking is also absent in the subspecies found in the Zond Islands (N. naja coeca).

The cobras live among rocks and bushes, in termite nests and rodent burrows, and occasionally in deserted buildings. They swim well and are capable of crawling up trees. They are active during late afternoon and at dusk. They feed on amphibians, mammals (for example, rodents), and, more rarely, birds. They lay from eight to 45 eggs.

Cobras are extremely poisonous, and instances of human death from their bite are known. The venom is toxic not only when it enters the bloodstream directly but also through the stomach and the mucous membrane of the eyes. The asp, or Egyptian cobra (N. haje), is found in southern Palestine and eastern Africa. It is highly poisonous. The image of this large snake (to 2.5 m) served in ancient Egypt as a symbol of greatness and power. The largest species of the genus, and the most poisonous of all, is the giant, or king, cobra (N. hannah, or N. bungarus). It grows to as much as 5.5 m. It lives in the jungles of India, Burma, Indochina, southern China, and, occasionally, the Malay peninsula and archipelago. The chief prey of the king cobra is other snakes.


Zhiznzhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 2. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Tan, "Venom and purified toxins of the spectacled cobra (Naja naja) from Pakistan: Insights into toxicity and antivenom neutralization," The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, vol.
Zhao, "Peripheral and spinal antihyperalgesic activity of najanalgesin isolated from Naja naja atra in a rat experimental model of neuropathic pain," Neuroscience Letters, vol.
Chi, "Proteomic characterization of the thermostable toxins from Naja naja venom," Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases, vol.
Lin, "Involvement of c-jun N-terminal kinase in G2/M arrest and caspase-mediated apoptosis induced by cardiotoxin III (Naja naja atra) in K562 leukemia cells," Toxicon, vol.
Lyophilized crude Indian cobra (Naja naja naja) and krait (Bungarus caeruleus) venom were procured from Haffkine's Institute, Mumbai, India.
Kularatne, "Epidemiology, clinical profile and management issues of cobra (Naja naja) bites in Sri Lanka: first authenticated case series," Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, vol.
As cobras (naja naja) are highly venomous the charmers had extracted its fangs and venom glands, leaving it helpless and unable to defend itself.
In Pakistan, two species of Cobra snakes that belong to genus Naja are present, named as Naja naja naja (Indian cobra) and Naja naja oxiana (Brown cobra).
Effects of a cardiotoxin from Naja naja kaouthia venom on skeletal muscle: involvement of calcium-induced calcium release sodium ion currents and phospholipases A2 and C.
The scientists then ran extracts from the plants through test-tube assays for activity against venoms of the Nigerian spitting cobra (Naja naja nigricollis), puff adder (Bitis arietans), and saw-scaled viper (Echis ocellatus).