The Asp is also known as the Egyptian Cobra. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the Asp and used it as a symbol on the crown of the pharaohs. It is believed that Cleopatra committed suicide by holding an Asp against her body. It is likely that Cleopatra chose this snake for its quick-acting venom.
The cobra represented the "fiery eye of Re", in which two uraei can be seen on either side of a winged solar disk. Starting in Middle Kingdom the uraeus appears as a symbol worn on the crown or headdress of royalty. It is used as a protective symbol, the Egyptians believed that the cobra would spit fire at any approaching enemies.
The Egyptian cobra is extremely dangerous and responsible for many human deaths. The venom of the Egyptian cobra is neurotoxic, that is it destroys nerve tissue, and causes paralysis and death due to respiratory failure within about 15 minutes. It can grow to eight feet (2.4 meters) long. The head is small and flat with a rounded snout. The scales are smooth, large and distinct and colors vary from grayish, yellow, to brown to almost black. When threatened, the snake raises the front part of its body and spreads its neck into a hood.