What Is the Life Cycle of Cobra Snakes?

Cobras begin life as hatchlings, emerging from eggs, and may live up to 20 years in the wild. Female cobras are the only snake species to provide a nest for their offspring. Females produce a cluster of eggs each year, called a clutch, and remain with their young until they hatch, guarding them from predators and keeping them warm through incubation.

Despite providing hatchlings with protection and warmth, female king cobras do not provide them with food. Instead, the young hatchlings feed off of internal pouches, which they have before birth, to sustain them. Hatchlings remain with their mothers for approximately 2 weeks after birth and then leave their nests to fend for themselves.

After leaving the nest, young cobras are on their own for food. Like adults, they consume a variety of prey, including small animals and other snakes. Cobras have powerful venom and a highly sensitive tongue, which helps them locate and catch prey. Snakes generally hunt at dawn and in the evening and may last several days, even several months, between meals.

As adults, cobras live in many places. They traditionally inhabit areas of India, China and Southeast Asia. Although these snakes are highly venomous, they have one natural predator ? the mongoose ? and are targeted by human snake charmers too.