Uraeus snake

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Uraeus snake
Uraeus snake

Uraeus snake

Subordination : Snakes (serpentes)
Superfamily : Adder-like and viper-like (Colubroidea)
Family : Poison Snakes (Elapidae)
Subfamily : True poisonous snakes (Elapinae)
Genre : Naja ( Well )
Type : Uraeus snake
Scientific name
Well haje
( Linnaeus , 1758)
Distribution area of ​​the uraeus snake
Two year old black form of a uraeus snake from Morocco

The uraeus snake ( Naja haje ) belongs to the venomous snake family and is also called the Egyptian cobra (in English Egyptian cobra , in French Cobra égyptien ).

According to legend, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra committed suicide by being bitten by a uraeus snake.


Uraus snakes usually reach lengths of 1.5 to 2 meters, but can also reach 2.4 meters. The head is large and tapering towards the front. The basic color varies between yellow-brown, brown and black. Uraus snakes are mostly monochrome, more rarely spotted or with alternating gray-brown and black-brown transverse bands. The belly is always monochrome yellow-brown, gray or gray-blue.

Distribution and way of life

The uraeus snake is distributed across the northern and central African continent to the Arabian Peninsula and Palestine. Preferably it lives in semi-deserts, deserts, steppes, on and in fields, on roads and in human settlements. Uraeus snakes live on the ground and during the day they hide under rocks, in scrub, in hollow tree trunks, holes in the ground or under huts and sheet metal.

The animals are relatively local. They are quick and not very aggressive. When threatened, they stand up to a height of 60 centimeters and spread the neck shield in the typical threatening pose of the real cobras . The poison is a very effective neurotoxin. Small mammals, birds, eggs, reptiles and amphibians serve as prey.

During the mating the male embraces the female and leads the with barbs provided hemipenis into the cloaca of the female, and lay there a seed packet from which fertilizes the female egg cells. Like most poisonous snakes (Elapidae), the uraeus snake also lays eggs. The clutch size ranges from 8 to 20 pieces. These eggs are laid in a hollow tree trunk, in a hole in the ground or under a rock. When hatching, the young measure 24 to 34 cm.


There are currently no subspecies of Naja haje . The earlier subspecies anchietae , annulifera and arabica received species status. Naja haje legionis from Morocco is no longer recognized as a subspecies.


  • L. Trutnau: Venomous snakes. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-8001-7371-9 .
  • Ulrich Gruber: The snakes in Europe and around the Mediterranean. Kosmos-Verlag GmbH, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-440-05753-4 .

Web links

Commons : Uräusschlange ( Naja haje )  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files