In “The Jungle Book,” what is the name of the snake?

In “The Jungle Book,” the snake’s name is Kaa, pronounced Kar. He’s a python, after all. This name was inspired by the hissing sound snakes produce when they open their mouths.

The Mow in Mowgli rhymes with cow, thus Kaa’s name isn’t the only one with an unusual sound. While Kipling dreamed up Kaa and Mowgli, he used Hindustani names for other characters. Baloo (pronounced Bar-loo) means bear in Hindustani, and Bagheera (pronounced Bug-eer-a) means panther or leopard in Hindustani.

Both Kipling’s books and Disney’s animated film feature Kaa, Mowgli, Baloo, and Bagheera, however their personalities change.

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Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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