Ancient Egypt for Kids
There were over 30 different types of snakes in ancient Egypt. Most were harmless to humans. But some were very dangerous like the Egyptian cobra and the horned viper. The Egyptians had mixed feelings about snakes. People died from snake bites. On the other hand, snakes kept the rat population down. This helped to keep rats out of the grain storage.
The ancient Egyptians loved symbols. The deadly Egyptian cobra was a royal symbol. This symbol was used as one of the two symbols rising from the forehead on statues of gods and on funeral masks of pharaohs. On the image below, you can see two symbols rising from King Tut's mask - a vulture and a cobra. These royal symbols were included to honor the goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt for protection. (The other symbols found on this and other royal funeral masks is the nemes or striped headcloth and the false beard.)