Cape Cobra (Naja nivea)

Cape Cobra (Naja nivea)


Slender in build when under 1 meter but can get quite robust when it reaches 1,5m and over in length. The head is slightly distinct from the neck. Large adults have broader heads with well-developed muscles in the temporal region that bulge over the venom glands. Average size is 1,2m and can reach 1,8m and longer. The colour can be very variable, from dark mahogany and chocolate brown, to bronze, copper, yellow and bright light butter yellow, plain or often speckled or with dark blotches on the body. Juveniles have a dark throat band, which fades with age. The scales are smooth and shiny in 19 Р21 rows at midbody. 


Fixed front fangs. This cobra does not spit venom
A potent neurotoxin. The most venomous cobra in Africa. Venom yield 60 – 160mg, average 100mg. 15-20 mg considered a deadly dose. Neutralized by early injection of adequate quantities of polyvalent antivenom.


South Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces, North West, Free State, western part of Gauteng, , southern  Botswana and southern and Central Namibia.


A snake common in the more arid areas of the country, it seems to prefer dry scrub country. Attracted to human habitation by the presents of rats and mice, and also water. Habits
Active in the day, but may become active towards evenings when conditions are very hot and dry. Would normally try and escape, but if cornered it will face its aggressor, rear the front part of the body off the ground and spread a broad hood. From this position the snake will then lunge forward to deliver a bite to anybody too close to the snake. Will visit human habitation hunting rodents and other prey. A number of bites and deaths are reported every year from this very dangerous cobra. These snakes cause a general weakness syndrome and paralyses of muscles controlling breathing. Medical help must be sought urgently after a bite from this snake.

African Reptiles