Why do cobras have hoods?

Indiancobra

The cobra is a venomous snake found in various parts of Asia and Africa. While otherwise being no different than other snakes, the hood of a cobra really sets it apart. Apart from being a trademark characteristic, is there any other purpose that the hood serves?

In the animal kingdom, life is all about survival. This is especially true in the desert regions, where cobras are majorly found. The battle for scarce resources is won by the fittest of the lot, and slight advantages can mean the difference between life and death. The hood of a cobra is just one example of such an evolved advantage.

Cobras have evolved over the ages, to develop this hood like appearance to appear larger than their normal size. Whenever they feel under threat, they rise up and flatten their heads, forming the so-called hood. The hood provides the cobra a slight apparent advantage over its opponent; it seems larger and more powerful than a normal snake would. The cobra is also known for firing venom from a distance. To get the necessary range, it is important for the cobra to develop muscle strength. That strength is derived from the hood, as it spreads out from the neck. There is a direct co-relation between well-developed hoods and large venom range, giving rise to the notion that the two are connected.

So natural survival is the primary reason for the hood. The cobra appears to be larger and hence intimidate his foe or predator. The hood also provides support for the ejection of venom, which is again an important defense mechanism. It would not be wrong to say that the hood is a primary feature that helps the cobra survive.

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