The cobra family comprises a number of highly venomous snakes. They have the ability to expand their neck ribs to form a hood, which gives them their distinctive appearance. Most cobras live in southern Africa and southern Asia. Cobra venom has neurotoxins that attack the nervous system of bite victims and can lead to death in humans. There are a few distinctive types of cobra species.
Spitting cobras are notorious for their ability to spray venom at enemies in an attempt to blind them. The snakes can spray the venom up to 6 1/2 feet by squeezing venom gland muscles, forcing the venom out of the fangs at high speed. The cobras can also deliver venom through biting. These snakes can be found in Africa and Asia. In fact, most cobra species on those continents are spitting cobras.
The Indian cobra, as the name implies, is native to India and features two circular patterns on the back of its hood. This helps the cobra avoid being attacked by another animal, as they resemble eyes in the back of its head. This snake is most commonly associated with snake charmers. The monocle cobra is a variation of the species and features only one circular "eye" on the back of its hood.
King cobras are large snakes, reaching up to 18 feet in length. They can rise up to one-third of their body length when they feel threatened and are still able to move forward and attack while flaring their hoods and hissing. Other snakes have more potent venom than the king cobra, but they can deliver nearly 1/5 of a fluid ounce in a single bite, which could kill 20 people. You can find king cobras in rain forests and in plains in India and Southeast Asia. The coloring of the snakes varies depending on the region.
The Egyptian cobra populates the North African deserts and the Middle East and is one of the most common cobras. The snake can grow to nearly 10 feet, and it has very toxic venom that kills many people each year. Legend has it that it was an Egyptian cobra that Cleopatra used to commit suicide after the death of her lover, Marc Antony.