Monocled cobras are easily identifiable, thanks to having an O- or diamond-shaped pattern on the back of their heads that resembles an eye or a monocle… which pretty much explains how they got their name. Too bad they’re not just dapper-looking cobras who wear monocles and top hats.Dapper reptile visuals aside, cobras generally have a reputation in the animal kingdom. Mostly misunderstood, they are interesting animals who are simply being themselves.
Animal Scene interviews an anonymous source who takes care of own monocle cobras to bust the myths – and to let you know that cobras don’t deserve the bad rap they’re getting.
In the hood
“I’ve had my monocle cobras for almost four years now. My favorite is Grumpy because he’s always in the mood to give me a good show-off.
“Cobras only hood when they’re intimidated or agitated. This is why Grumpy’s unique – he’s always in a bad mood!”
On one hand, it’s incredible to note how cobras look equal parts threatening and amazing when they hood. On the other, a cobra always in a bad mood that they tend to hood a lot sounds pretty intimidating. (Then again, that’s what they want, so it’s probably win-win in the end.)
Monocled cobras are less aggressive compared to Samar and Philippine cobras. But that doesn’t mean they’re pushovers. They are bigger and longer than Philippine cobras, going from 1.35 to 1.5 meters in length (Philippine cobras are only a meter long). Our source says that, just like all other cobras, monocled ones should still be respected and treated with care because they still have deadly venom.
“Monocled cobras love drier environments compared to King cobras. A good dry substrate with a medium-sized water bowl and a hide will be the best setup for them.”
The only way to be safe with cobra companions is to just leave them alone. Not completely alone, of course – do remember to feed them and check on them when necessary, but when it comes to handling them, do so only when absolutely necessary.
“I only handle cobras when I need to clean or examine them closely.”
Put your left foot in, put your left foot out
When it comes to challenges, though, it was all about handling. The biggest challenge in keeping Monocled cobras, or any cobra, really, is that it comes with risks.
“It’s like having one foot buried in the graveyard: There’s always a 50-50 chance of getting bit when handling them.
“I only took the responsibility of caring for them because not a lot of people could appreciate these deadly but amazing animals.” It takes a lot to be able to care for animal companions even when aware of all the risks that come with it. That’s dedication and love right there.
But, scary venomous risks and 50-50 chances of getting KO’d by a bite aside, we wondered if there were other interesting factoids about Monocled cobras.
“Cobras in general have a bad reputation, but they’re one of the smartest snakes out there,” our source tells us, mentioning how cobras tend to observe and bluff a lot. “They’ll bite only when it’s necessary and in fact, cobras only inject venom when they’re hunting or when they think it’s a threat.”
In other words, cobras use their venom as a defense mechanism. “Cobras need venom for hunting or killing their prey. They have a limited amount of venom and it takes time for them to [make more], this is why they save their venom [for when it’s] necessary.”
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s September 2019 issue.
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