What is the apt word to be used when a snake has its head looking straight towards us and shows its tongue outside vociferously, probably when it is about to bite?

As user @J.R. suggested "mesmerizes" seems to be somewhat near. But I need something more than that, especially when like the snake is in a attempting position to bite someone.

  • 8
    Run...........! Jan 21, 2013 at 11:23
  • 3
    I think you should provide a litte more context by editing your question. For a cobra, I believe that's called a threatening position. But there are also instances in literature where a snake mesmerizes its prey, so such a snake could be undulating as well. This depends on if we are watching a snake charmer, or if we are in danger of getting bit.
    – J.R.
    Jan 21, 2013 at 11:35
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    Possibly reared.
    – tylerharms
    Jan 21, 2013 at 12:10
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    @Lucky: notice I said "by editing your question." A comment is not an edit; it forces everyone else to read through this discussion to get a clarification you probably should have provided in the first place.
    – J.R.
    Jan 21, 2013 at 12:15
  • 1
    Most snakes must be coiled to a degree in order to strike.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


I believe the word you're looking for is hooded.

  • 1
    Not all snakes are hooded, it is specific to cobras.
    – Sayan
    Jan 22, 2013 at 10:26
  • You're right. Though I believe the original poster has a picture in mind of a hooded snake. So it seems.
    – Sathyaish
    Jan 22, 2013 at 10:36

There is a phrase which suits the mentioned scenario: "ready to strike". The complete phrase(literary) goes like this

......coiled and ready to strike.


I would suggest rear up:

The snake reared up, ready to strike.

Based on: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reared

7. (of a person) to start up in angry excitement, hot resentment, or the like (usually followed by up).

  • Thanks anyway but it was already suggested by tylerharms in his comments. :) Also the (of a person) makes me think its only for people and not animals. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    – Lucky
    Dec 31, 2015 at 16:52
  • I missed it in the comments. "Reared up" was my first thought and I've only read/heard it used for animals; see 6. to rise on the hind legs, as a horse or other animal. Snakes are legless, but it's the same movement.
    – StuperUser
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:41

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