Black Cobra Snake Species Profile & Facts

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The black cobra, commonly known as the common cobra, Egyptian cobra, spitting cobra, and black mamba, among other names, is one of the world’s deadliest snakes. Its neurotoxic venom makes it capable of killing an adult human within 15 minutes. While its venom can kill many animals and humans, it rarely does so on purpose; it typically uses its venom to catch and eat food rather than to attack prey or defend itself. A mature black cobra can be anywhere from 8 to 13 feet long (2.4 to 4 meters) and weigh as much as 5 pounds (2 kg).

Physical Description

The Black Cobra snake can grow to over eight feet in length. Their bodies are long and slender, with a very small head that makes up less than one-tenth of their total body length. On average, Black Cobras can weigh between 1-2 pounds at maturity, though exceptional specimens have been found as heavy as 21⁄2 pounds.

This species is named for its black coloration, which includes a solid black belly and sometimes a black hood above its eyes. They also feature dark brown or tan blotches on their backs, which may be outlined in white. These markings allow them to blend into forested areas easily while hunting prey or avoiding predators.

When they feel threatened, they will hiss loudly and spread out their hoods to appear larger than they really are; however, if you come across a Black Cobra snake during daytime hours it’s likely not feeling threatened because it’s usually sleeping or sunning itself.

Black Cobra Species Profile & Facts

Scientific Classification

The Black Cobra species are classified as Naja melanoleuca. Black Cobras are also known as Forest Cobras, although it’s worth mentioning that there are other species of black cobra snakes in Africa, including Naja nigricollis and Pseudechis porphyriacus. There are more than one hundred recognized snake species belonging to the genus Naja.

With an average length of 2-3 meters (7 feet), Black Cobras can grow up to 3 meters long! Black Cobras are oviparous, which means they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Black Cobras have a life span of 15 years on average. A single clutch consists of between 6 and 18 eggs; however, not all eggs will hatch because some might be infertile or eaten by predators such as to monitor lizards or birds.

Baby Black Cobras are born with venom. They start feeding on their own at two months old, but don’t leave their burrows until they reach around 5 months old. At birth, baby Black Cobras measure approximately 20 centimeters (8 inches).  Although baby Black Cobras are born with venom, their venom glands do not fully develop until around 10 months old.


Black cobras are forest cobras. They tend to stay in damp areas near streams, swamps, and lakes. Black cobras prefer well-shaded areas of forests to hot, dry plains. This is also where they find most of their food. On average, black cobras will spend about three-quarters of their time hunting for food and one-quarter resting or basking in sunlight during midday.

Black cobras are very good at climbing trees, so they can easily escape predators like big cats. Black cobras live in India, Sri Lanka, and other parts of Southeast Asia. There have been reports that black cobra snakes have been spotted as far north as Pakistan. The black cobra snake is a member of the Naja genus – which includes some of the world’s deadliest snakes!

In fact, only four species in all of Africa are more venomous than black cobras. It is estimated that 50% of all snakebite deaths worldwide are caused by members of the Naja genus. In addition to being deadly, black cobras can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 12 pounds!


The Black Forest cobra snake has a diet consisting of primarily other reptiles, amphibians, and birds. They tend to live in wet environments but are occasionally found in desert areas. The Black Forest cobra is one of many species that can change its skin coloration depending on environmental conditions. It can appear black or brown with yellow markings along its body.

Its eyes are positioned on top of its head, which allows it to see above ground level while also protecting itself from harm during combat with prey or predators. The Black Forest cobra’s venom is powerful enough to kill an elephant within 3 hours if left untreated. It has a strong neurotoxic component that causes paralysis in its victims.

It can also cause death by respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, among other symptoms. Victims of a black forest cobra bite will experience pain at first, followed by swelling and bruising around the area of impact as well as nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. There are many antivenoms available for treating black forest cobra bites, but they are only effective when administered quickly after being bitten.


Black cobras are nocturnal and tend to come out in search of food at night. If a black cobra comes across a person or animal during daylight hours, it will generally not attack them; rather, it will try to get away. But if cornered or provoked – e.g., by someone trying to capture it – then it will become aggressive and strike.

These snakes aren’t particularly territorial or aggressive towards one another. They can be found living near other species of snake, including venomous ones like kraits and vipers. They also share their habitat with nonvenomous species like king cobras and rat snakes.

Despite sharing its environment with potentially dangerous creatures, there is little evidence that black cobras have ever been killed by any of these other animals. They typically only use their venom as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened or cornered. The aggressiveness of a black cobra tends to vary based on its gender: males are more likely to be defensive than females.

Lifespan and Reproduction

As with many species of snake, there is a lot of variability in lifespan amongst Black Cobras. Females live longer than males, with some living up to 20 years. The typical lifespan for females, however, is about 10–12 years; for males, it’s 5–8 years. Black Cobras are viviparous: they bear live young rather than laying eggs. They give birth every two to three years and usually bear around six babies at a time.

Baby snakes are independent of birth and can hunt on their own within 24 hours. Baby snakes shed their skin four times before reaching maturity after which they shed once or twice a year as adults. Although they reach sexual maturity quickly, Black Cobras don’t breed until five years old. This slow reproductive rate makes them vulnerable to over-hunting and habitat loss.

Black Cobras In The Wild

As their name suggests, black cobras have dark-colored scales that appear almost blue in some lights. Their heads and necks are completely black; like all cobra species, they have a distinctive V-shaped pattern on their hoods that sets them apart from other snakes. Cobras are also identified by their triangular-shaped heads and vertically-blotched bodies.

Black cobras can grow to be up to 8 feet long and weigh as much as 9 pounds. They’re not as aggressive as many of their cousins but will bite if threatened or provoked. The black cobra is most commonly found in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. In general, they prefer living near water sources such as lakes, rivers, and swamps where they can find frogs, fish, and small mammals for food.

The snake uses its venom to paralyze its prey before eating it whole—but humans should avoid getting bitten at all costs! Like most types of snake venom, black cobra venom contains powerful neurotoxins that cause paralysis along with severe pain and swelling around the site of infection.

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