Cold-blooded reptiles, the 12 species of cobra and most of the 200 subspecies of the cobra family, are limited to the climates of the Eastern hemisphere. Like all snakes, cobras require warmth from their environment to maintain body heat, and are therefore found in a variety of regions in Africa and Asia, such as rain forests, semi-arid deserts and grasslands.
The largest venomous snake in the world, king cobras are best suited to warm, humid and rainy climates where the average temperature hovers around a balmy 95 degrees. Widely spread in the East, king cobras inhabit the forests and grasslands of Southeast Asia, and are common residents of Pakistan, India and southern China, as well as the Philippine and Indonesian islands. Well-adapted to many surfaces, according to the National Geographic website, king cobras are just as comfortable climbing trees or swimming as they are slithering across land.
The most geographically widespread of all cobra species, Egyptian cobras have adapted to the temperate climes of most of the nations in northern Africa and Southeast Asia. Egyptian cobras inhabit a variety of different regions, such as savannas, grasslands, semi-deserts and forests. They can tolerate climates where temperatures dip as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit and climb as high as 115 degrees -- as it the case with Egypt -- but they're happiest when it's somewhere between 75 and 85 degrees F. Often found near water, Egyptian cobras are excellent swimmers.
Indian cobras are well-adapted to both tropical and subtropical climates, where the air is generally warm and damp. They therefore flourish in many regions of the western portion of Southeast Asia, including Pakistan, Iindia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. According to ReptileChannel.com, Indian cobras prefer consistently humid climates where they inhabit open forest edges, fields and the outer perimeters of villages. It's also important that there be a water source nearby, since water and warmth work together to generate the humidity these cobras demand. Voracious rodent eaters, Indian cobras grow to be quite large and have extremely toxic venom. Since rodents often share living space with people, these cobras can easily pose a dangerous threat to humans.
Despite their significant size as the second-largest cobra, forest cobras are born climbers that spend much of their time among the branches and leaves of tropical, dense rain forests throughout western Africa. According to the Rain Forest Adventures Discovery Zoo website, because forest cobras require arboreal habitats, they are typically found in the balmy climes of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ethiopia, Natal and Angola. Forest cobras are extremely powerful and venomous, and are recognized as an aggressive species — they even eat their own young.