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What Do Cobras Eat?

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Cobras are venomous snakes that you should be careful of in the wild. These snakes belong to the genus Naja family and there are 270 different species of cobra such as the rinkhals, king cobra, Goldie’s tree cobra, black tree cobra, shield-nosed cobra, cape coral snake, and a few others.  All of these snake sub-species are rather long compared to other snake species and many of them can rear their upper bodies upwards and produce a hood below the head when they feel threatened.  


What Do Cobras Eat?

Cobras are natural-born hunters.  They have lightning-fast reflexes and they enjoy hunting a huge variety of animal species. 

Here is a quick look at some of the most popular foods cobra snakes love to eat;



Cobras can climb trees and they are not afraid of heights at all.  In trees, these snakes can easily blend into their environment which makes them hard for other animals to spot.  When bird species land in the trees, these snakes can quickly strike and catch birds.  They will eat any bird species that are native to their habitats such as owlets, kingfishers, minivets, bustards, koels, and a great many others.  


Small mammals

These snakes are especially fond of small mammals since these often offer healthy protein-rich meals. 

Cobras will eat all sorts of mammals including rats, mice, sugar gliders, squirrels, bunnies, and a great many others.  


Lizards and frogs

Cobras will also catch and eat lizards.  They are often much faster than lizards despite that cobras don’t have any legs. 

They have incredibly fast reflexes and their ability to rear their upper bodies upwards gives them the upper hand over climbing lizards. Frogs are also good food sources to cobras because these snakes are such agile swimmers.    



Cobras also enjoy eating eggs.  They will eat a variety of egg types including those that might seem too large to fit into their mouths.  Their jaws can dislocate allowing them to swallow large eggs whole before crushing these inside their bellies.  


Other snakes

Cobras are also cannibals.  They will eat other snakes and may even catch and eat their own species if times are tough. 

Their ability to raise their chests off the ground gives them an upper hand over many snake species such as common kraits, pythons, vipers, and others.



Cobras can go for a long time without drinking water.  But they do still require water to survive.  Their drinking methods differ since they cannot lap the water up with their tongues.  They have skin creases in their lower jaws that they can use to suck up water.  They are also perfectly able to swim in the water. 


Diet Variations

Cobras can have a few diet variations if they are hungry or thirsty enough.  If they are dehydrated, they will drink anything including milk.  They might also become carrion-eaters if they are taught to do so in captivity.  Some snakes that were bred in captivity have even been known to starve to death rather than kill living foods.  


What Does The King Cobra Eat?

King cobras can eat the same foods as other cobras.  But their diets mostly consist of other snakes like the Indian cobra, banded krait, rat snake, pythons, green whip snake, keelback, banded wolf snake, and others. 

They also consume various lizard species that might live in their location.  If food is extremely scarce, the king cobra will also feed on birds.  


How to Feed Cobras?

The feeding method of cobras differs based on their rearing methods.  If cobras have been taught to feed on carrion foods, they might refuse live bait. 

Those who are only used to feeding on live bait may find it hard to accept carrion meats in the beginning.  

Cobras are extremely venomous.  You need to be very cautious when feeding these dangerous snakes.  Pet cobras are usually fed by adding live or carrion foods to their cage.  Those who are used to carrion foods are happy to accept these foods from the tank bowl but others might need a bit of encouragement by prodding or showing the cobra its food.


How Often Do Cobras Eat?

Cobras have a very slow metabolic rate.  They don’t eat very often and the duration between meals depends on their previous portion size.  The temperature can also affect its feeding schedule.  In warmer areas, snakes will eat more often because the warmth encourages a faster metabolic rate.  Some snake species like the Hamadryad are usually fed around once a week.  Other snakes like the King cobra can go for months without food if it had a large meal.  


What do Baby Cobras Eat?

Baby cobras are called hatchlings.  They are venomous and independent from the moment they hatch.  These tiny snakes are also on high alert right from the start because they can easily become prey to other snakes.  Baby cobras eat the same foods as adult snakes but they usually focus on smaller foods such as frogs, eggs, or bird chicks.


Can A Cobra Eat A Human?

A cobra’s favorite food is other snakes.  They prefer snakes over all other food sources including mammals.  Cobras cannot eat humans.  Humans are far too large for these snakes to consume.  But these snakes are extremely toxic to humans. 

Their venomous bites can kill a human in as little as 15 minutes.  The venom of a king cobra is also powerful enough to kill a full-grown elephant within a few hours.  


Do Cobras Eat Cats?

Cobras can easily kill cats with their venomous bites but they are unable to consume a cat because cats are simply too big.  Kittens, on the other hand, are a whole different story.  A small kitten can easily be consumed by a cobra.  If these snakes are hungry enough they may very well try to catch and eat a small kitten if they do happen to find one.  

Cobras are extremely poisonous.  It isn’t a pet you should keep unless you are a highly experienced snake handler.  If you do choose to keep a cobra, you should also respect these animals and offer them sufficient food to keep them healthy.

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