Cobra is the common name of various elapid snakes, most of which belonging to the genus Naja.[1]

Temporal range: Miocene-Holocene
Indian cobra (Naja naja) in a defensive posture
Scientific classification
Elapidae (with some exceptions)

Laurenti, 1768


All of the known cobras are venomous and many are capable of rearing upwards and producing a hood when threatened.[2]

Snakes known as cobras

All members of the genus Naja, the "true" cobras, rear and produce hoods.

Other "cobra" genera and species are as follows:

The false water cobra, Hydrodynastes gigas, is the only "cobra" that is not a member of the Elapidae. It does not rear, produces only a slight flattening of the neck, and is only mildly venomous.[5]:p.53


  1. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cobra" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 613.
  2. Two kinds of non-venomous snake, the hognose snakes and the striped keelback, also rear and produce hoods, but are not considered "cobras"; likewise, some venomous elapid snakes, such as the black mamba, are also capable of producing hoods but are not called "cobras".
  3. Wolfgang Bücherl; Eleanor E. Buckley; Venancio Deulofeu (17 September 2013). Venomous Animals and Their Venoms: Venomous Vertebrates. Elsevier. p. 492. ISBN 978-1-4832-6363-2.
  4. United States. Department of the Navy. Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (2013). Venomous Snakes of the World: A Manual for Use by U. S. Amphibious Forces. Skyhorse. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-62087-623-7.
  5. Mark O'Shea (20 February 2008). Venomous Snakes of the World. New Holland. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-84773-086-2.
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