PHYLUM :- CHORDATA (Notochord, dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill slits present )

Group :- CRANIATA ( Definite head. Cranium with brain present )

Sub-phylum :- VERTEBRATA ( vertebral column present)

Division :- GNATHOSTOMATA ( Jaws and paired appendages present )

Super class :-  TETRAPODA ( Paired limbs, lungs, bony skeleton and cornified skin)

Class :- REPTILIA ( Scaly vertebrates with right and left aortic arches. Single condyle, pulmonary respiration. Embryo with amnion and allantois ).

Sub-class :- DIAPSIDA ( Skull with two temporal openings separated by postorbital and squamosal ).

Order :- SQUAMATA ( Lizards and snakes with horny epidermal scales or shields. Quadrate bone movable. Vertebrae procoelous. Anal opening transverse).

Sub-order :- OPHIDIA ( Snakes. Limbs, feet, ear openings sternum and urinary bladder absent. Mandibles jointed anteriorly by ligament. Tongue slender, bifid and protrusible. Left lung reduced).

Family :- ELAPIDAE ( 2 or more short, rigid erect fangs ).

Genus :-  Naja naja


Naja has wide distribution, found in India, Africa, China, Philippines, Tasmania, Australia, New Guinea and Egypt.


Cobra is diurnal, shy, living in holes, under stones, mud walls and in thick vegetation. It is oviparous, carnivorous and feeds on frogs, rats, lizards and other snakes. It hibernates.Three varieties of cobras are found in India :
(i) Binocellate form having spectacle-like mark connected by U, found in Maharashtra, (ii) Monocellate with single ovalmark surrounded by ellipses found in Bengal, (iii) Non-cellate without mark found in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.



  • Commonly known as cobra. Naja naja is Indian cobra or Nag.
  • Body measures 2 to 3 metres in length and is wheatish (gehuwa) in colour. During hibernation the colour becomes golden but on exposure to light it changes to brown.
  • Body divided into head, neck, trunk and tail. Head contains
    mouth, eyes and nostrils. head hooded.
  • Neck region is dilatable with elongated ribs. It expands to form hood which contains binocellate mark on dorsal surface. Some persons call it figure of ten. There is a white band around mark.
  • Third shield of upper labia or lip large and extending from ocular to nasal shield, bears eye and nasal shield. Ocular sheild bears opening of nostril. Eyes with narrow pupils.
  • A tiny wedge-shield on the undersurface of the 4th and 5th lower labials.
  • Tail shields on the undersurface of the tail in a double row.
  • Body is covered by smooth oblique scales.
  • Maxillary bone extends beyond palatine. Poison fangs are followed by 1-3 small teeth. Loreal absent. Nostrils large and vertically elliptical. Frontal shield truncated.

Special features

Cobras are deadly poisonous snakes. They rise their hood when alarmed and the hood sways back and forth for striking the object. During this period it produces hissing sound. It will not strike if intruder becomes standstill. The snake-bite cases should be immediately attended by medical persons. The snake (Naja naja) is very common in India. It is worshipped on Nagpanchami day. The cobra bite is cured sometimes in villages by snake charmers by Mantra or sometimes by sucking poison out of the wound. The presence of a jewel in the head is not correct. Naja bungarus is called
as King cobra because it eats other cobras.


This snake has characteristic hood and its mark and above features, hence it is Naja naja.



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