Range: Large geographical range thought to include the following countries: Algeria, Benin, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
Habitat: Found near water sources in savannahs, rocky outcroppings, and semi-desert regions.
Natural Diet: Small mammals, birds, and other snakes. The Egyptian Cobra is a voracious feeder in the wild and in captivity.
Diet at Rain Forest: Frozen rodents and chicks.
Size: 5-7 feet, one of the largest of African Cobras.
RainForest Facts: This cobra is one of the most frequently used snakes in the "Snake Charming" arena. A wide hood and impressive build make this Cobra species a suitable entertainer for the charmers.
According to legend, Cleopatra asked that an asp, an Egyptian cobra, be delivered to her in a basket of figs. The asp was worshipped in ancient Egypt and used as a symbol on the crown of the pharaohs. By allowing this symbol of divine royalty to bite her, Cleopatra was believed to become immortal.
The venom of the Egyptian cobra is neurotoxic, that is it
destroys nerve tissue, and it is much stronger than that of the common cobra.
This venom has been used for many years in medical research because it has an
enzyme, lecithinase, that dissolves cell walls and membranes surrounding
viruses. When injected into its prey, the venom causes paralysis and death due
to respiratory failure, usually within 15 minutes. With effective serum more
available, however, the high death rate in some areas of Asia has decreased.
Status in Wild: This snake is rapidly disappearing in the majority of its former range due primarily to over collection and loss of habitat. This species is often drawn towards human habitation where rodents etc. are more common. In coming into proximity with humans the cobra is often killed on sight.
Man represents the largest predator of this species of snake.
This species is not currently on exhibit at RainForest