Black-Necked Spitting Cobra


Long, medium build. Adults 1 200 – 1 800 mm long. Head distinct from neck. Eye and pupil round; iris very dark. Colour in juveniles: head and neck black, body grey above with black skin between scales, and black below; adults uniformly jet-black above and below. Smooth, shiny dorsal scales in 21 rows at mid-body; anal entire.

Fixed front fangs, modified with L-shaped canal that exists on front of fang, enabling snake to defensively spray venom towards attacker’s eyes.

Potently cytotoxic. Rarely encountered, no bites have been recorded, but like other spitting cobras, likely to cause severe pain, swelling and tissue damage. Venom in eyes causes extreme pain and should be immediately washed out with copious amounts of water to prevent permanent damage and blindness. Medical attention must be sought as soon as possible. Polyvalent anti-venom not available.

Arid, sandy to rocky areas.

Shy, elusive, quick to escape. Juveniles are diurnal. Habits probably very similar to other spitting cobras: mainly nocturnal, preying on frogs, lizards and snakes.
Reproduces by egg-laying.