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Reptiles found in the Kruger – The snouted cobra

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snouted cobra
Snouted cobra with hood extended. 

This cobra species, also known as Egyptian cobras, live on average 20 years and are found throughout parts of Southern Africa.


Snouted cobras come in a variety of colours, from light yellowish through to shades of brown or black and usually have black markings or dark coloured bands. They have smooth scales, round pupils and particularly large hoods.

Adults are on average anything between 1.2 and 1.8 metres (3.9 and 5.9 ft) but on occasion can reach a length up to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft).

Habitat

Snouted cobras are found in Southern African countries such as southern Mozambique, eastern Botswana, and northeast South Africa as well as throughout Zimbabwe and Malawi.

These snakes live in bushveld and low veld areas within savanna habitats and often take up permanent residency in abandoned termite mounds.

You can find them in the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the North West, northern parts of Gauteng and northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, situated within South Africa.

snouted cobra
Snouted cobra on the defence. 
Behaviour

Like a typical reptile, snouted cobras enjoy basking in the sun during the day in order to absorb heat.

Snouted cobras are usually not aggressive snakes but when feeling threatened or nervous will assume an intimidating pose, by lifting as much as half of a metre of their body off the ground while spreading their impressive hood, however if possible they will escape into the nearest hiding place. 
  
The secret to them being able to spread their hood is because of the ability to flare the ribs in their neck.

Venom

The snouted cobra is a highly venomous snake loaded with neurotoxic venom; with one bite breathing is affected and if left untreated may lead to respiratory failure and eventual death. 

Victims are typically bitten at night on the lower leg and initially suffer from pain and swelling that often results in blistering.

Diet

These snakes eat animals such as toads, rodents, lizards, birds and their eggs as well as other snakes, especially puff adders.

They are mostly nocturnal and so search for food from dusk onwards.

snouted cobra
Snouted cobra. 
Reproduction

Mating season is during the months of September and October for snouted cobras, often making these snakes more aggressive than usual. Females are an oviparous species of snake, laying between 8 and 20 eggs during summer. Their gestation period is about 42 days and eggs are incubated for between 65 to 70 days.

Young snouted cobras are anything between 22 and 34 cm in length and are independent from birth.

Did you know?

Snouted cobras can climb trees. 

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