Cobra

Alert

Have you seen Cobra?

Be on the lookout for Cobra and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Cobra.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to Africa and Asia, including Indonesia, cobras are long, slender snakes that can produce a hood when threatened. The cobra family includes 30 species. To date, no cobra species have naturalised in Australia, but many could thrive in parts of Queensland if introduced.

Cobras are highly prized by reptile keepers, but their venom can kill humans, and introduced populations would prey on native wildlife. To prevent cobras from establishing in Queensland, restrictions apply to their import, possession and sale.

The cobra is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Approximately 30 species in 7 genera (Aspidelaps, Boulengerina, Hemachatus, Naja, Ophiophagus, Pseudohaje, Walterinnesia)

Description

  • Long, slender, smooth-scaled snake able to produce hood around head when threatened.
  • Cobras are generally up to 2m long, but longest species (king cobra) reaches 4-5m.
  • Heads are typically covered with large scales.
  • Eyes have round pupils.
  • Fangs are hollow, located at front of upper jaw.

Habitat

  • Found in forest, grassland, desert, cultivated areas.
  • Some species are considered habitat generalists.

Distribution

  • Wild populations not yet recorded in Queensland.
  • Cobras are kept in Australia under permit in places such as zoos, reptile parks and research facilities.

Life cycle

  • Breeding usually occurs in spring.
  • Most cobras lay eggs, except for Hemachatus hemachatus, which has live young.
  • Generally 2-20 eggs per clutch.
  • Unusually, female king cobra builds nest and protects eggs before they hatch.

Affected animals

  • Native animals
  • Humans

Impacts

Environmental

  • Eats native species.
  • Out-competes native snakes for resources.

Social

  • Can kill humans.
  • Can harm or kill pets.

Natural enemies

  • Mongoose.

Control

  • Early detection is essential for preventing pest establishment. If you have seen or are in possession of a cobra please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Legal requirements

  • The cobra is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be kept, moved, fed, given away or sold without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings are to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Cobra escaping until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information