Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spectacled Cobra : The Reputed Hiss (නයා / නාගයා)

Even though there are more than 3000 species of snakes in the world, There is one snake species that get's reputation and worships from humans than any other snakes. Like the post title suggests, when you hear that hissing, you certainly know what are you dealing with. It's the snake that symbolize the word "Serpent" sometimes. Fearsome reputation, mythical and religious believes, respected in animal kingdom , The Spectacled cobra also known as the Indian cobra is the most well known Cobra species in the genus Naja. Here in Sri Lanka you face this snake in almost all parts of the country.

                                                  (Image Credit- mM,Flickr)

True Cobras are belonging to the genus Naja which includes number of 20-22 species. The reason i used the term "True Cobras" is people think some non Naja snake species like King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) and Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) are true cobra's just because they show some iconic cobra characteristics like spreading hood and spitting venom. Spectacled cobra classified as Naja naja with no recognized sub species in the genus Naja of the sub Family Elapinae. In our native language sinhala, we call this snake as "නයා" (Naya) or "නාගයා"(Nagaya). If you searched more you will understand that the name Naya/Nagaya we used to call comes from the ancient cultures of India and the Sanskrit word "Naga". Spectacled cobra holds the record of the largest venomous snake species in Sri Lanka.