Cobra vs. Python

Difference Between Cobra And Python   Table of Contents CobraCobra, a venomous snake of the Eastern Hemisphere. When…

Difference Between Cobra And Python


Table of Contents


Cobra, a venomous snake of the Eastern Hemisphere. When excited, it raises the forepart of its body in an erect position and spreads its neck into a “hood.” The Asian cobra is the best known, but most cobras are found in Africa. Cobras belong to the family Elapidae, which also includes coral snakes, mambas, kraits, and many Australian species.

Found in Africa, southern Asia, and Southeast Asia, cobras are not a well-distinguished group. They share many anatomical features with other elapids that are not cobras, but only cobras assume the erect “candlestick” pose when they spread their necks. True cobras—that is, cobras belonging to the genus Naja—range from 5 to 9 feet (1.6 to 3 meters) in length as adults.

Cobras have short fangs on the front end of the bones of the upper jaw. Their venom is neurotoxic, that is, it has its main effect on the nervous system. The death of a victim of cobra bite usually results from the venom’s interference with the nerve impulses that control the action of the diaphragm or heartbeat, and the victim dies of suffocation or of heart failure. The venom may have effects on other body systems as well.

Like most members of its family, the cobra tends to feed on cold-blooded vertebrates—frogs, lizards, and other snakes. Some species eat small mammals as well. Young cobras are hatched from eggs. A clutch of 12 to 15 eggs is laid in a protected place and is hatched by the heat of the sun. Some species are believed to guard their eggs during the entire 40- to 60-day incubation period.


Python, any of a group of constricting snakes that includes the largest snakes in the Eastern Hemisphere. Pythons also are the longest land animals of any kind in the same region. The only larger and longer snakes are the anacondas of South America. Some species of pythons, including the reticulate python (Python reticulatus) and the Indian python (P. molurus), may exceed 30 feet (about 10 meters), although the longest one on record is a 28-foot (8.5-meter) reticulate python.

Pythons eat reptiles, birds, and mammals. The giants among them can swallow animals as large as leopards, pigs, and small antelopes. On extremely rare occasions they have attacked humans, including a 14-year-old Malay boy who was swallowed on an island in Indonesia.

Like boas and some other primitive snakes, pythons retain internal vestiges of the hip bones and limbs of their lizard ancestors. The only external vestiges of limbs are two hind-limb claws, one on either side of the anus.

Unlike boas, which give birth to living young, pythons lay eggs, occasionally more than 100 in a clutch. The eggs are usually deposited in a heap on the surface. The female incubates the eggs beneath her coils and remains with them until they hatch eight to ten weeks later.


Cobra vs. Python

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