Egyptian Cobra (Cleopatra's asp)
steppes; arid semi-desert regions; tend to live near water
Most of North Africa; dispersed throughout the rest of central Africa
Grasses and rocks; abandoned animal burrows
- According to myth, in 30 BC, Cleopatra committed suicide by allowing an asp to bite her, this snake is otherwise known as the Egyptian cobra.
- This snake is known as one of the most deadly snakes in Africa.
- They can be particularly dangerous because of their scavenging habits that often lead them into agricultural fields, barns, and homes.
- The Egyptian cobra is able to flatten the rib bones on its neck when threatened, displaying itself as larger than it actually is.
- If untreated, a bite from this majestic reptile can kill an elephant in 3 hours and a human in 15 minutes.
- These snakes have been seen swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, using their expanded necks as a sail.
- In ancient Egypt, this cobra was seen as a symbol of power and was often used to decorate statues or members of royalty, such as the pharaoh.
You've heard of the King cobra, the longest of all venomous snakes. Well, did you know that there are actually several species of cobra? The Egyptian cobra is one of the largest and deadliest snakes in all of Africa. It is rumored that this is the snake that killed Cleopatra in 30 BC. This snake can also be seen in ancient Egyptian art such as the golden mask of pharaoh Tutankhamen. These snakes will often live near bodies of water and forage for their food. They eat rodents, other reptiles, and birds that are about the size of the largest part of their body or smaller. All snakes are able to detach their jaws and swallow their prey whole. In this way they do not need to chew their food like most other animals. Since this is a venomous snake, it relies on this toxic adaptation to slow down its prey and kill it almost instantly so that it can then swallow it without any trouble. In comparison, there are other species of snakes that have specialized teeth to hold tightly to their food while they wrap around it and constrict it to death. These adaptations are unique to the needs of the animal's environment.
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes Family: Elapidae Genus: Naja Species: Naja haje