- A-Z Animals
The Egyptian Cobra, also known as the Egyptian asp, is a giant venomous snake, with some specimens reaching up to 8.5 ft. Its generic name comes from the Sanskrit word naga, meaning Cobra, in English. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish zoologist, first described it.
This snake has played a massive part in Egypt’s history and continues to do so at present. It symbolized sovereignty, and the monarchs designed their crowns in the model of their hood. It was also said to be the snake used by Queen Cleopatra to commit suicide.
Size: 4.6 ft (1.4 m)
Weight: 20 pounds (9.07 kg)
Head: It has a depressed head with a rounded snout leading up to a neck that expands and forms into a hood.
Tail: It has a long tail at the end of its cylindrical body.
Coloration: Its color is mostly brown, with a few having a reddish coppery tinge and some with a grayish-brown hue.
Scalation: The Egyptian Cobra has 19-20 dorsal scales and 191-220 ventral scales.
The Egyptian cobra can easily be distinguished from the King cobra as the latter has a much larger head and narrower hood than the former.
The snake inhabits North Africa and parts of West and South Africa. Common areas to find it include the Sahara desert, the Congo Basin, and the eastern regions of Kenya and Tanzania.
The Egyptian cobra thrives in varying environments, including the dry or moist savannah regions and the steppes as well as in semi-desert areas where vegetation and even water remain available.
One could find them in scrublands and agricultural fields. These cobras are even attracted to homes, especially those housing domestic chickens or infested with pests like rats.
The Egyptian Cobra lives for 20-25 years on average.
Its diet mainly consists of toads, small mammals, birds, lizards, eggs, and other snake species.
The Egyptian cobra’s venom causes damage to the nerves and cells, causing fatality if not treated at the earliest. After envenomation, one may experience pain in the affected area, severe swelling, and blistering alongside non-specific effects like diarrhea, headache, and nausea.
It is mainly preyed upon by mongooses.
The mating season for these snakes lasts from winter to summer. Females tend to lay 8-33 eggs at a time.
The incubation period of the eggs ranges from 48 to 70 days. Then, the hatchlings emerge around April or May.
They reach sexual maturity at around 2-4 years.
The Egyptian Cobra’s conservation status is unsure but is most likely “LC” or “Least Concern”.