by Janet Wood

The Cobra is the most feared of all poisonous snakes. Cobra De Capello is Portuguese for ‘Hooded Snake’.At an average length of six feet, with a brownish skin, glaring eyes, darting tongue, hissing breath and spoonshaped hood, it rates as one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.

It is a silent, stealthy hunter feeding on insects, lizards, frogs and small mammals, such as rats and mice. The Cobra snake favours warm, dry regions where water is readily available. As the cobra grows it sheds it skin.

The cobra's venom glands are essentially modified salivary glands, through which the cobra injects its victim. Even given its dangerous properties the Cobra still remains the favourite of snake charmers. Death from cobra snakebite is one of the oldest fates of mankind. In ancient Egypt every ‘healer’ was required to know the repertoire of spells for conjuring the poison of every serpent.

Pharaoh would often wear a representation of the wide hooded Cobra on his crown as an emblem of royalty. From this position the cobra was said to be able to defend the king.

In the ‘Book of the Dead’ the Cobra snake is seen as the symbol of Earth. Whilst the Ouroborus sign (below) shows a snake swallowing its own tail bringing together both circle and serpent, which represents the round of existence.

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