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Kraits Cobras Sea Snakes and Relatives: Elapidae

Behavior And Reproduction

One of the most common myths about elapids is that they can be "charmed," or controlled through playing music. Film clips show snake charmers playing the flute and cobras rising from their baskets because they have been "hypnotized," or put into a trance, by the music. Actually, cobras cannot even hear music. Like all elapids, they can hear low sounds, like the vibrations (vie-BRAY-shuns) made by a person stomping on the ground, but they cannot hear musical notes, which are much higher sounds. The cobra sways back and forth not because it is listening to the musical beat but because it is following the movements of the snake charmer, who is swaying to the music.

Depending on the species, an elapid may be active at sunset and at night or during the daytime. Snakes that live in warm climates stay active all year, but those that live in colder areas, hibernate (HIGH-bur-nayt), or remain inactive, in the winter. During hibernation (high-bur-NAY-shun), the snakes enter a state of deep sleep that helps them survive the cold weather.

Most elapids reproduce in the spring. In general, males fight with one another, and the winners mate with the females. Many elapids lay eggs, but others give birth to live young snakes. The egg-laying females usually place their eggs under a rock or a log or in some other hiding place. The eggs hatch in about three months. The females that give birth to live young do so in a hiding place. Scientists believe that the king cobras are the only elapids that provide any care for eggs or young. These snakes remain with their eggs and will strike out at anything or anyone who approaches too closely.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesKraits Cobras Sea Snakes and Relatives: Elapidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, North American Coral Snake (micrurus Fulvius): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, KRAITS COBRAS SEA SNAKES THEIR RELATIVES AND PEOPLE,